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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:35 AM

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

Rangers Camp: Torts expects to take 30-32 to Europe

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Rangers will only be conducting half of their preseason here in North America before they head to Europe for a two-week stretch that includes four exhibition games in five nights in four different countries. They open the regular season in Stockholm with games against Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 7 and 8.

So, with so much travel and a plethora of games coming up in foreign countries, they have to take more than the final roster plus an extra goalie to Europe. Coach John Tortorella said Friday that he expects to have between 30 and 32 players on the plane to Prague after the Rangers play their final North America preseason game Sept. 26 in Philadelphia.

That, of course, gives more players a chance to get an up-close look at earning roster spots that may or may not be available.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:28 AM

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

Penguins Camp: Thousands at CEC for first practice

PITTSBURGH -- Saturday wasn't a day to sleep in for Pittsburgh Penguins fans.

The Penguins are offering free admission to their first two days of training camp, and thousands of fans filled much of Consol Energy Center's lower bowl for a 9 a.m. EDT session Saturday. Concession stands were open and parking was free at lots adjacent to the uptown arena, and a majority of the fans wore team jerseys or apparel.

The 52 players available for Saturday's practice were divided into three groups, with forwards Jordan Staal, Chris Kunitz and James Neal and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury among the first on the ice. Sidney Crosby, cleared to practice but not for contact as he recovers from a concussion, was in the third and final group that was scheduled to practice around noon.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:27 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Flyers Camp: Voracek gets chance to replace Leino?

VOORHEES, N.J. -- So we're here at the Flyers SkateZone in Voorhees, N.J., for the opening day of Flyers training camp.

The place is absolutely packed as the organization has plenty of activities for the fans. While it's still early, reporters present here in the press area are saying coach Peter Laviolette is already deviating a bit from what the veteran coach had on his board yesterday.

Right off the bat, Laviolette has Danny Briere centering Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell. So it's possible Flyers' fans will see offseason acquisition Voracek replacing Ville Leino on that line. There's Claude Giroux in the middle between James van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr. Blair Betts is the pivot between Jody Shelley and Andreas Nodl and Michael Nylander was with Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot.

Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky are the two goalies on hand in the first session.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:18 AM

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

Rangers Camp: Dubinsky feels no leg pain

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Brandon Dubinsky reports no problems with his left leg, which bothered him last season after he had to miss five games in January because of a stress fracture. Dubinsky also said he changed his skate boots and adjusted his offseason training program in order to make sure the problem doesn't arise again.

In order to keep the amount of pounding on his legs down, Dubinsky moved into a softer boot and stopped jogging. He did not run in the Rangers two-mile timed run Friday and won't do it Saturday either. He's doing conditioning bike rides instead.

The bike, in fact, is something Dubinsky has become quite familiar with. He rode a stationary bike this summer and worked on a machine that simulates running but keeps the stress on his legs and knees to a minimum.

"We're not exactly sure what happened or what caused it, but there is no pain now where last year there was certainly some pain and a lot of complaining before we did the testing and found out what it was," Dubinsky said.

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Posted On Friday, 09.16.2011 / 6:13 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Super Saturday

It's time for hockey

It has been a long summer, but hockey is back for the NHL this weekend. Players were at training facilities taking physicals and getting reacquainted Friday, and nearly every team will conduct its first official practice Saturday.

Such an occasion is worthy of a name like "Super Saturday," so we're going to try and provide coverage worthy of a day that is highly anticipated by everyone in the hockey community. NHL.com has correspondents in many NHL cities, and they will be filing dispatches to this blog throughout the day.

Want to know how a star player looks on the ice after joining a new team or returning from an injury, or maybe which goalie has the best-looking new mask? Check back here throughout the day Saturday for many, many updates from around the NHL.

Also be sure to watch for updates from our correspondents on Twitter, who will be using the hashtag #NHLSuperSaturday to help fans follow along with ease.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 10:48 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Players of note from Penticton

After eight games in five days, the Young Stars Tournament has come to a conclusion in Penticton, B.C. The Canucks, Flames, Jets, Oilers and Sharks prospects have returned home to resume their training camps, but the scouts and coaches will continue to buzz over the performances of the prospects for quite some time. Here are some of the names that were catalysts of conversation in Penticton. Not a list of the best players, but rather a list of those who impressed as compared to their expectations.

FLAMES

Maxwell Reinhart, C -- Offensively involved and responsible at both ends of the rink, Reinhart showed he's got a bright future as a pro.

Patrick Holland, RW -- A 2010 seventh-round pick, Holland has been productive and responsible.

Sven Baertschi, LW -- Electric is the word Flames coaches have been using to describe the slick Swiss forward who starred last season with Portland of the Western Hockey League. He was especially dangerous with time and space, and on the power play.

OILERS

Tyler Bunz, G -- The netminder is determined to get off to a great start this season and earn a spot on Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship. He had an impressive shutout of the Jets during the tournament.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C -- The first pick of the 2011 Entry Draft has produced points, but also has gotten involved physically -- an encouraging sign for Oilers fans hoping he can make the jump to the NHL this season.

Anton Lander, C -- The Swedish-born center led the Oilers with 3 goals in the tournament. He's yet another skilled forward in the Oilers' cupboard.

SHARKS

Thomas Heemskerk, G -- Heemskerk stood on his head in the Sharks' first game of the tournament, and didn't cool much after that. It was an impressive week of puck stopping.

Brodie Reid, RW -- Reid has scored everywhere he has played and didn't let San Jose down in Penticton, where he had played a season of hockey with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. It was a sweet homecoming for the 22-year-old forward.

Benjamin Thomson, LW -- Hits? Check. Fight? Check. Goal? Check. He's been a physical player for the Sharks this week.

CANUCKS

Karel St. Laurent, G -- A 20-year-old QMJHL cast-off this time last season, St. Laurent was solid in net in all three appearances he made.

Nathan Longpre, C -- He posted sparkling numbers with Robert Morris University last season (42 points in 33 games), and nearly single-handedly sparked a comeback with 2 goals and an assist against Calgary.

Nicklas Jensen, LW -- Another 2011 first-round pick who didn't disappoint; Jensen showed skill, strength and offensive prowess.

JETS

Jason Gregoire, LW -- North Dakota alum and Winnipeg native has designs of making the big team this fall. He's not huge (6-foot-1, 196 pounds) but seemed comfortable in traffic. Created lots of opportunities in each game played. Nice hands.

Mark Scheifele, C --
The seventh pick of the 2011 Entry Draft looks legit. He's big (6-2, 184), skilled and has some eye-popping moves around the net. He scored with regularity during the tournament.

Edward Pasquale, G -- In 90 minutes of ice time, he didn't allow a goal. Not too shabby for a player who turns 21 in November and already has a season of professional hockey experience.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 6:57 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Jets shut out Canucks

Edward Pasquale and Christopher Carrozzi split time in the Winnipeg Jets' net today, combining to backstop a 2-0 shutout of Vancouver Canucks prospects, the Jets' second shutout in three games here in Penticton, B.C., for the Young Stars Tournament.

The Jets' tandem was especially good this week, as Winnipeg allowed only two goals in three games, by far the fewest goals allowed among the five teams at the event. Pasquale finished the tournament without allowing a goal in 90 minutes of ice time.

Mark Scheifele and Jason Gregoire continued to supply the Jets with offense as they did in their tournament-opening win against San Jose. Scheifele, the Jets' 2011 first-round selection, scored in the third period on a shot that beat Karel St. Laurent under the arm, and he showed a lethal touch around the net. Gregoire, born and raised in Winnipeg, set up the game's other goal, by Shayne Wiebe, to add to his assist total.

Wiebe, Gregoire and Scheifele operated as the Jets' top line today, and were the only line for either side that could muster much in the way of offensive chances. The tournament finale also happened to be the only fight-free match of the eight-game event.

The Jets and Oilers each finished the tournament with 2-1 records, as did the host Canucks, while the Flames and Sharks each went 1-2.

Canucks forward Bill Sweatt sustained a minor injury in Monday's game against Calgary and didn't play today. He will be ready, however, when the Canucks open training camp.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 4:23 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Positive review for Young Stars event

Canucks VP of hockey operations and assistant GM Laurence Gilman had nothing but positive things to say about the 2011 Young Stars tournament.

"This is a first-class facility in an unbelievable hockey setting." Gilman said Thursday. "From a production standpoint you couldn't have asked for a better event. From our perspective any time you can get your top prospects into game situations against their peers you have far better ability to evaluate their skill set in a real time setting. It's also an excellent vehicle for us to analyze our prospect pool against some teams that we compete with on a regular basis."

When asked about the prospects of a third annual Young Stars in 2012, Gilman noted that there are quite a few parties involved in making the event happen, but that all feedback has been positive.

"We partner in this event with the other teams that are here; we've talked to a couple of them about the event, and they seem very willing to come back and do this again.

"Once our camps finish, and our season gets started we'll convene the teams and talk about doing it again, and sit down with the people from Penticton and see if they're interested in doing it again. From our perspective it's a great event and I don't see any reason why we wouldn't want to continue come back here."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 10:15 AM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Predators' prospects among best at Florida tourney

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla -- The 2011 Florida Rookie Tournament gave prospects for three teams -- Nashville, Florida and Tampa Bay -- a chance to impress their organizations before NHL training camps commence this weekend.

Here's a look at six players who stood out the most during the tournament:

1. Craig Smith, F, Nashville Predators -- Appearing in two games with the Predators, Smith dominated the offensive zone in each contest. Smith collected four goals and an assist against the Tampa Bay Lightning rookies on Monday night. To prove that performance was not a fluke, he followed up the next game on Tuesday against the Panthers by adding an additional two goals. No one else in the tournament came close to his offensive production.

2. Eric Gudbranson, D, Florida Panthers
-- The Panthers played in three tournament games, but Gudbranson only played in two, sitting out the finale against the Lightning. No matter, his two appearances were enough to demonstrate how dominating Gudbranson can be. He's 6-foot-4 and hits big, too. He was never out of position and his passes were precise, resulting in two assists.

3. Ryan Ellis, D, Nashville Predators -- A smooth skating offensive defenseman, Ellis controlled the puck seemingly at will, made several end-to-end rushes, and ran the power play with confidence. Although he finished the tournament with only one assist in the two games Nashville played, he always made his presence known.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 5:42 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Canucks and Jets to close out Young Stars Tourney

Three teams are gone, two are set hop chartered flights from the Okanagan tomorrow after the final game of the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, which begins Thursday at 11:00 a.m. PST.

The final game should be an intriguing one as the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks do battle at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Canucks have reeled off two straight wins since getting blown out in the opener, while the Jets have had a 'feast or famine' week – shutting out the Sharks before being blanked by the Oilers.

The game is the eighth of the event and fourth featuring the Canucks, while the Jets, who arrived a day later than the other four teams have played just twice in Penticton. The Oilers, Flames and Sharks all concluded play on Wednesday.
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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres