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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:22 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Islanders Camp: Okposo keeps up

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen form two-thirds of one of the fastest lines in the NHL. Kyle Okposo, the third member of the trio, knows he has to work hard to keep up.

"Today especially, with the skating tests and the laps we were doing at the end -- I was working on my skating all summer because I know how fast those guys are," Okposo said after Saturday's initial workout at Iceworks. "It was tough to keep up with them, but it's fun at the same time. We kind of push each other."

Nielsen said Okposo looks like he'll have no trouble keeping up.

"He looks good," the Danish center said. "You can see that he worked his butt off this summer. I can see that he's in great shape."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:21 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Jets Camp: Meech excited to be with hometown Jets

WINNIPEG -- Derek Meech grew up in Winnipeg and had just celebrated his 12th birthday when the original Jets departed for Phoenix in 1996.

Meech took in the original Jets' final game in Winnipeg on April 28, 1996 when the Detroit Red Wings eliminated the home club in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The loss sent the Jets on their way to Phoenix.

Fifteen years later, Meech's Jets connection was made whole again Saturday as a 27-year-old defenseman embarking on his eighth pro season.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:19 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Bruins Camp: Thornton enjoys day with 'skilled guys'

BOSTON -- One of the keys early in the Bruins' Game 7 win in the Stanley Cup Final at Vancouver was the relentless play of their fourth line.

The trio of Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton centered by Gregory Campbell was ferocious on the forecheck and barely allowed the Canucks to possess the puck, let alone move it out of their own end.

So what was the deal with Paille and Campbell skating with rookie Jamie Arniel and Thornton skating with draft pick Alexander Khokhlachev and rookie Calle Ridderwall during the Bruins' first on-ice training camp practice at TD Garden today?

"Yeah, there's a coup," explained the always-witty Thornton. "They went into Claude's office yesterday and he wouldn't tell me that, but I'm pretty sure put that onto him. No, they wanted to put me with more skilled guys, so I went with the young Russian kid because they felt that might game suited his better."

Thornton, who lives in Boston year round, started skating in informal practices with his teammates a couple weeks ago. So getting onto the Garden ice with his colleagues for something sanctioned by the team under the watchful eye of the coaches was a step up in importance and intensity.

"It felt good. It wasn't ridiculously tough," he said. "It was good to get our legs back underneath us and there's a little bit of rust for everybody, I'm sure. There's lots of time to get ready."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:46 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: Final season for Brodeur?

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur opened what could be the final training camp of his NHL career Saturday. The surefire Hall of Fame goaltender, who will turn 40 in May, is in the final year of his contract with the New Jersey Devils and is not currently negotiating a new one.

Brodeur isn't willing to say this season will be his swan song, instead opting to take a wait-and-see approach.

"This is going to be the same as every other season," Brodeur said. "I'm not going to change my approach because I feel it could be my last. I just go out there and try to have fun and enjoy the game. After that, I'll evaluate how I feel about continuing. I'm approaching this season like any other season."

If general manager Lou Lamoriello came to Brodeur with a contract for next season during this one, would Brodeur consider signing it before the summer?

"I don't know. Everything will be in front of me at one point and I'll have to make decisions," Brodeur said. "Right now, I'm not in the middle of making a decision. But who knows if something is brought up to you, you put it in your head and see how you feel and make your decision then."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:35 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Penguins Camp: Crosby going through drills

PITTSBURGH -- If Sidney Crosby didn't realize how much he was missed by Penguins' fans, he does now.

Crosby, whose popularity in Pittsburgh might be unrivaled by any other athlete, took the ice to a standing ovation during his first training camp practice Saturday. While players such as Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury also drew loud cheers when they first stepped onto the ice, the greeting given to Crosby was movie-star like. There were additional cheers when he merely skated up and down the ice and even more when he began passing the puck during routine drills.

Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 6 because of a concussion, stood out from the rest of his teammates for reasons other than his still-evident hockey skills. He is wearing a white helmet, rather than a black one like the rest of his teammates, to signify that he cannot be involved in contact. Crosby, whose recovery from the concussion remains ongoing, has been cleared to practice but still cannot take part in any scrimmaging or contact drills. He also wore the white helmet during an informal team workout Friday.

Crosby expects camp to be more intense and physically demanding than the practices were when he resumed working out with his teammates on March 31. He stopped practicing during the Penguins' first-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay when his concussion symptoms returned.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:30 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Canadiens Camp: Yemelin impresses early

BROSSARD, Que. -- Michael Cammalleri gave the throngs of Montreal Canadiens fans at the first day of training camp something to cheer about Saturday, scoring the tying goal with less than a minute to play and the winner in the shootout in the first scrimmage of the season.

Ben Winnett, a University of Michigan product in camp on a tryout, scored two goals in the game, while Dany Masse, Alexander Avtsin and Ian Schultz also scored in the game.

But the biggest impression was left by Russian defenseman Alexei Yemelin, who laid a number of thunderous hits, most notably a hip check that sent Max Pacioretty spinning into the air. Pacioretty gave Yemelin a dirty look as he got up.

In addition to that, Yemelin made some smart plays with the puck and looked more like a veteran than a player making his North American debut after seven seasons of pro hockey in Russia.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Rangers camp: Del Zotto's swagger leads to success

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers coach John Tortorella talked Friday about third-year defenseman Michael Del Zotto needing to "have a swagger about himself, but it also needs to be the proper swagger."

Del Zotto addressed that same topic Saturday in a brief chat with the media, saying he knows that he has to "bring my swagger back. It seems like a broken record here, but when I have my swagger I know what I can do and I definitely fit in."

That's interesting rhetoric, but Del Zotto knows he has to use training camp and the preseason schedule to prove to Tortorella and the Rangers brass that he fits into the team's blueline plans for the start of the season. He had a tremendous rookie season as an 18-year-old in 2009-10, but Del Zotto admittedly made mistakes both on and off the ice last season and it cost him a roster spot as he was sent down to the Connecticut Whale on two separate occasions.

He wound up breaking his finger in early March and then required sports hernia surgery in early May. Del Zotto, who was humbled by his experiences last season, said he worked harder than ever this past summer to bulk up and get in the proper shape in order to show the Rangers that he belongs.

"I learned from my experiences, my mistakes last year," Del Zotto said. "It's a whole different year and I'm a whole different person this year."


Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:22 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Islanders Camp: It's Capuano’s show

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Jack Capuano is no stranger to training camps as both a player and an assistant coach. But this year is different -- for the first time in the NHL, he's the boss.

Capuano took over as interim coach last November when the Islanders fired Scott Gordon. The team's strong second-half showing earned him a full crack at the job -- much to the delight of his players, who responded to his lower-key approach.

Kyle Okposo is among the Isles who's glad to have Capuano in charge on a full-time basis.

"Cappy's going to be great," Okposo said after Saturday's initial workout at Iceworks. "He really grew as a coach last year, and we're all looking forward to working with him again."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:08 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Islanders Camp: Rick's ready

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- It's been a tough few years for Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro, whose list of injuries could fill a couple of blog posts.

But he says he's healthy and ready to go.

"This is the first summer in quite a while where I didn't have to rehab from surgery," DiPietro said after Saturday's initial workout at Iceworks. "That's a positive, and I've done everything in my power physically to get healthy for camp and hopefully stay healthy.”

DiPietro played just 26 games last season, but that was still his highest total since 2007-08. He missed much of the Isles' second-half surge because of a broken jaw.

"I wasn't part of the team for a lot of it, but from the All-Star break on, we played fantastic," he said. "We had one of the best records in the League. As long as we can stay healthy -- that's the biggest thing for us."

DiPietro turns 30 on Monday, but he says he doesn't feel old -- even on one of the NHL's youngest teams.

"I wouldn't  consider myself old yet," he said. "I'm still in my late 20s; I've got a couple of more days."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:07 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: Keith feeling rested and ready

CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith just wasn't himself last season.

The Blackhawks' fastest skater even looked a little sluggish at times and had a striking number of mental mistakes that wound up being costly during the course of the season -- just one season removed from winning the Norris Trophy, Stanley Cup and helping Canada win the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

On the surface, his overall numbers weren't terrible. He scored 7 goals and added 38 assists, but the 28-year old Keith also finished with a minus-1 rating -- the first time since his rookie season that he finished in the negative.

Then during a grueling seven-game first round series against the Vancouver Canucks, Keith openly talked about what many had hypothesized all season long regarding his slump. He was simply burned out, mentally as much as physically.
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Quote of the Day

You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense