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Posted On Monday, 09.14.2015 / 3:04 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Avs' MacKinnon learned from sophomore struggles

As difficult as last season was for Nathan MacKinnon, what he experienced at the end, in Prague, more than a month after he and the Colorado Avalanche were finally put down for the count, helped make up for at least some of what went wrong in Denver.

MacKinnon was part of Canada's gold-medal winning team at the 2015 IIHF World Championship. He played on a line with Avalanche teammate Matt Duchene and Jason Spezza of the Dallas Stars. He scored a goal in Canada's 6-1 gold-medal clinching win against Russia. He scored nine points, including four goals, in 10 tournament games.

The whole experience was like a breath of fresh air for the 20-year-old forward who was good enough to win the Calder Trophy and help his team finish with 112 points as a rookie, but couldn't crack 40 points or lift his team even close to the Stanley Cup Playoff race in his second season.

Posted On Monday, 09.14.2015 / 9:56 AM

By Staff -  / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Kapanen surprised by trade to Maple Leafs: report

Toronto Maple Leafs forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen admits he was surprised to be traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the Phil Kessel trade.

"I think it was a shock for everybody," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday. "I didn't expect it."

Posted On Sunday, 09.13.2015 / 2:43 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Kaleta signs in AHL, gets tryout from Sabres

Patrick Kaleta signed a one-year contract with Rochester of the American Hockey League on Saturday and will attend Buffalo Sabres training camp next week on a professional tryout contract.

Kaleta, 29, who was an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-15 season, was selected by Buffalo in the fourth round of the 2004 NHL Draft (No. 176) and has spent his entire nine-season career with the Sabres.
Posted On Saturday, 09.12.2015 / 6:14 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015 Summer with Stanley blog

Blackhawks execs bring Cup to Northwestern game

The Stanley Cup came to Ryan Field at Northwestern University on Saturday when the Chicago Blackhawks were honored prior to the Wildcats' game against Eastern Illinois.

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz (a 1975 graduate of Northwestern), president and CEO John McDonough and executive vice president Jay Blunk served as honorary captains and joined the teams at midfield for the coin toss. Jim Cornelison, who sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" before every Blackhawks home game, performed the national anthem.

Posted On Saturday, 09.12.2015 / 2:50 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Red Wings forward Franzen cleared to play: report

Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has been cleared to participate in training camp and is expected to be ready for the season opener Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, general manager Ken Holland said Saturday.

"He trained hard, he pushed himself hard. He's been cleared," Holland told

Franzen, 35, was limited to 33 games last season because of post-concussion syndrome and other injuries but has been working out with teammates during informal skates at Joe Louis Arena.

Posted On Saturday, 09.12.2015 / 11:18 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Ex-McDavid linemates aim to impress in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Dallas Stars prospect Remi Elie believes riding shotgun with Connor McDavid for half the year with the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League last season provided him with plenty of motivation on the road to success.

"Everything [McDavid] did was unbelievable; his ability to slow down the game was remarkable," Elie said. "I had to be ready all the time because he hit you with passes when you didn't even know they were coming."

McDavid, of course, was selected No. 1 by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Posted On Friday, 09.11.2015 / 8:23 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Bruins D-man Miller feels 'really good' after surgery

Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller said Friday he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery that ended his 2014-15 season in February.

"I got about six months -- a little bit more than six months -- of recovery now, so I think it's ahead of schedule, if you want to say that," Miller told the Bruins website.

Posted On Friday, 09.11.2015 / 4:54 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Desjardins should be back quick, Canucks GM says

Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins should be able to coach the season opener after he is expected to miss training camp following hip surgery this week.

The Canucks play at the Calgary Flames on Oct. 7.

"I don't expect him to miss more than one or two exhibition games," general manager Jim Benning told the Vancouver Sun on Friday. "He for sure is going to be ready [for the start of the regular season]. He is chomping at the bit now. He is bugging me to get back at it right now. He had the operation (Tuesday) and later that day was hobbling around on crutches. There is no way that he is going to sit around idly. He is ready to get going."

Posted On Friday, 09.11.2015 / 4:18 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Gudlevskis hopes to stake claim as Lightning backup

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlevskis has appeared in one regular-season NHL game during his career. But after spending last season with the Syracuse Crunch, the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate, Gudlevskis could be the backup goalie with Tampa Bay to start the season.

"I think I always have a chance no matter who is here and who is not here," Gudlevskis told the Tampa Tribune on Friday. "The main thing is to just work hard. This organization is really fair, and if you prove yourself you are going to get the chance anyway."

Posted On Friday, 09.11.2015 / 12:55 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015-16 Preseason Blog

Red Wings' Jurco hopes to be offensive contributor

Tomas Jurco knows he has more to give offensively, and the young Detroit Red Wings forward hopes to show that this season under first-year NHL coach Jeff Blashill.

Jurco, who was a point-per-game player in 32 games in the American Hockey League in 2013-14 (13 goals, 19 assists) with Grand Rapids and had eight goals in 36 games for the Red Wings, was limited to three goals and 18 points in 63 games in his first full NHL season. He had a goal and an assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games as the Red Wings lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round.

"Providing more offense is the main thing for me," Jurco told the Red Wings website. "I've been working hard all summer, to get stronger, faster, so I think it's going to help me. I'm excited and hopefully I'm going to have a good season."

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