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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:30 PM

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

Islanders Camp: Tavares says its time to grow up

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- John Tavares has cast his lot with the Islanders, committing himself through the 2017-18 season after signing a six-year contract this week.

He's glad to have all the hubbub about his future out of the way.

"I'm excited about it," he said after the first day of training camp at Iceworks, "but it's kind of nice to put it all behind me and move on, get ready for the season. It was an emotional week; there was a lot going on. It's nice to kind of catch up on some rest and get ready for the season."

After four years of missing the playoffs, he also feels it's time for one of the NHL's youngest teams to start turning talent and promise into results.

"We have to approach it that way," he said when asked about the importance of moving ahead after back-to-back 13th-place finishes in the East. "There's only so long when you can gain experience and go things and feel like you can make mistakes and learn from them.

"Obviously it's still going to happen -- we're still growing in a lot of ways. But it's time to move on and really use training camp to get us ready for the season. We need to be more consistent and put it together for 82 games."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:28 PM

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

Rangers Camp: Anisimov relieved knee is OK

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers center Artem Anisimov didn't need the doctors to tell him Friday he needed an MRI. Anisimov wanted to go get one just to be sure there was nothing structurally or otherwise wrong with his left knee, which didn't bother him when he was skating but did hurt a bit when he walked.

Anisimov on Saturday expressed his relief when he found out that the MRI was negative, that his knee was clean and that he could resume his normal routine, which included getting on the ice with his group for the day’s round of fitness testing.

"I don't understand what the doctor was saying, but he just said, 'You're alright, you can skate and go,' " Anisimov said with a smile. "I had some concern, but I feel fine."

Asked what he wants to show coach John Tortorella in this training camp and preseason, Anisimov talked about confidence. He was only semi-happy with how he played last season (44 points in 82 games) and he wants to improve on everything in what should be his third full season.

"I want more points, more ice time," he said. "I need to show it on the ice. I can talk forever, but I need to show it on the ice."
 

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:26 PM

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

Penguins Camp: Can Neal reach 30 goals?

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins forward James Neal doesn't have to convince coach Dan Bylsma he can be a 30-goal scorer in the NHL. Persuading the Penguins' fans might take a little while longer.

Neal, acquired from Dallas late last season to add a reliable scorer to the Sidney Crosby line, never got to play alongside Crosby because of the concussion that sidelined the Penguins' captain during the second half of the 2010-11 season. Neal, pressing to prove to Pittsburgh that he could be the scorer he was in Dallas, wound up with only one goal in 20 regular season games and another in the playoffs after producing 21 goals in 59 games with the Stars.

Regardless, teammate Jordan Staal said, "I think personally Neal is going to do some great things this year."

Some of those once-skeptical fans must feel the same way, as they gave Neal a warm ovation during the first day of training camp on Saturday.

Staal believes that going through an entire training camp and season with the Penguins will prove far less stressful to Neal than making a hasty switch in teams and conferences late in a season. Bylsma concurs.

"He scored more goals than Tyler Kennedy last year, and Tyler Kennedy had a breakout year," Bylsma said, referring to Kennedy's 21-goal season. "To our fans, the feeling isn't the same because we didn't see him score those goals in our jersey.  James Neal is a plus 20-goals scorer and we think he can get to 30."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:15 PM

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

Blackhawks Camp: Sharp takes aim for season-opener

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp wasn't made available to speak with the media during Friday's media day prior to Chicago's training camp, but the injured Blackhawks forward was feeling good enough to speak with fans during Saturday's sold out Training Camp Festival.

He was interviewed over the public-address system by Hawks TV analyst Ed Olczyk, who emceed the annual event --  which features practice sessions and two scrimmages fans bought $5 tickets to attend.

"I'm feeling good," said Sharp, who underwent an emergency appendectomy this past Monday after feeling ill at a Hawks charity golf outing. "I wish I could be out there with the guys."

Sharp was told by doctors that he'd likely be out three-to-four weeks recovering from the procedure, which places his eventual return near the start of the regular season. When does he plan to return?

"Hopefully as soon as possible," Sharp told the crowd. "The timeline was three-to-four weeks, so right around the start of the season. I don't want to miss any games, so I'm pushing to play the first game of the season."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:14 PM

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

Rangers camp: Gaborik skating with last group

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Marian Gaborik was scheduled to skate with the first group on the ice here Saturday, but he was instead doing some off-ice testing to catch up from missing all of Friday's activities. The Rangers star right wing, who said he feels good and is ready to go, is instead skating with the last group that will do the on-ice fitness testing Saturday.

Gaborik returned to New York on Friday after spending six days in Slovakia to attend the funeral for his good friend and former teammate, Pavol Demitra, who was killed in the Central Russia plane crash that wiped out the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team on Sept. 7.

"To get back with the guys, with the group and to get this skating and testing done and jump right back into the preseason games -- hopefully I'll recover from the jet lag as quick as I can and be ready," Gaborik said.


Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:13 PM

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

Islanders Camp: Whole new world for Rolston

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- At age 38, Brian Rolston is starting over -- and he's doing it with one of the NHL's youngest teams.

Rolston is one of the new faces on Long Island this fall after being acquired from New Jersey in an offseason deal. After one day of camp, he likes what he sees.

"There's so much talent here," he said. "It's a matter of guys taking that talent and taking a leadership role and moving forward. (Matt) Moulson, (John) Tavares -- you can go around the whole room. There are skilled young players. It's time to take that next step; really take control and be leaders on the ice.”

General manager Garth Snow brought Rolston to the Island partly to provide some veteran leadership -- Rolston's career includes a Stanley Cup with New Jersey and success internationally with Team USA.

"Guys have really embraces having me here," Roslton said.

But Rolston doesn't feel he's the only leader.

"We can all be leaders and move this franchise forward," he said. "We want to compete for the Stanley Cup, and we have to take that one game at a time. That should be our goal."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:10 PM

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

Bruins Camp: No problems for Horton

BOSTON -- It's one thing to work out on your own or skate in games of shinny with your teammates to test whether you're fully recovered.

It's a whole other thing to go through NHL-caliber fitness testing and then an actual two-hour practice.

Nathan Horton, who has claimed for weeks that he's fully recovered from last season's year-ending concussion, said he's come through the early part of training camp with no problems.

"I wasn't worried at all. I just feel like it's in the past," he said after the Bruins' morning session on their first day of training camp at TD Garden. "I hadn't even thought about it. And when I do [stuff] on the ice or do fitness training, it doesn't even cross my mind. I just try to do as well as I can and there's no headaches or anything like that."

At one point Horton took a spill and took out teammate Matt Bartkowski. While it wasn't on purpose, it can only help Horton get a little contact out of the way.

"I fell myself so it was nice. It just feels good to be back," he said.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:09 PM

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

Islanders Camp: Capuano in no hurry to name goalies

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- With six goaltenders in camp, five of whom have NHL experience, Islanders coach Jack Capuano will have some decisions to make. For now, though, he's in no rush.

Capuano told the media after Saturday's initial practice at Iceworks that he hasn't even thought about how he'll divvy up playing time during the exhibition games.

"I get a lot of questions about the goaltending, but for me, it's the competition," he said. "You can't have anything better than that. That's the way it should be -- not just in goaltending, but on defense and at the forward positions as well."

The Isles have veteran Rick DiPietro, rookies Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen and Anders Nilsson, as well as Al Montoya, who was impressive after being acquired late last season, and former San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who was claimed on waivers last season but opted not to report.

Capuano is making no promises to anyone about playing time.

"The guys that perform and play to the level they need to will be in the lineup."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:08 PM

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

Penguins Camp: Crosby happy with first day

PITTSBURGH -- If it wasn't for the white helmet he wore that signified no contact, Sidney Crosby offered no sign that he is recovering from a concussion.

Crosby skated at full speed, pushing himself longer and faster than he has at any time during his injury layoff, while staying on the ice for nearly 70 minutes during the Pittsburgh Penguins' first training camp practice on Saturday. He drew loud cheers from a large crowd at Consol Energy Center when he snapped off a wrist shot that hit the net with authority and when he did anything that was reminiscent of a healthy Crosby.

Considering this was only the first day of camp, there was a lot of that. Or exactly how Crosby planned it.

Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 5, exerted himself at a 100 percent pace for the first time since he began working out in advance of this season -- and with no apparent ill effects. When Crosby recently pushed himself at a 90 percent pace, he had a relapse of the concussion-related symptoms that have prevented him from being cleared for full contact.

"That was a really good pace -- it was tough but fun to feel it again," Crosby said. "I worked as hard as I possibly could out there. For that period of time, that's the longest I've went at that pace. It felt good."

Unless the symptoms return -- and Crosby said they have largely vanished the last few weeks -- he plans to practice every day at this same pace until he is cleared for contact. The Penguins have no offered no hint when that might be.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:34 PM

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

Rangers Camp: Anisimov on the ice, Gaborik is not

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Marian Gaborik is in the building after returning from Slovkia, where earlier this week he attended the funeral for good friend and former teammate Pavol Demitra. However, the Rangers star right wing is not on the ice with his group.

There is no word yet on why Gaborik is not skating.

After sitting out the first day of fitness testing as a precaution, Rangers center Artem Anisimov was on the ice with his group Saturday afternoon, doing the sprint drills that everybody else was doing.

Anisimov was kept off the ice Friday after the doctors felt he needed to go for an MRI on his knee (it was not specified which knee). The MRI came back clean, so Anisimov was cleared to participate.

Rangers coach John Tortorella said that at some point Anisimov will have to make up the fitness testing he missed Friday.


Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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