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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 5:01 PM

NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Devils sign forward Bobby Butler

The New Jersey Devils on Thursday signed forward Bobby Butler to a two-way contract. No other terms of the deal were disclosed.

Butler spent the past two seasons with the Ottawa Senators, producing six goals and 16 points in 56 regular-season games last season. He was scoreless in three Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"He signed a two-way (contract), so we’ll just see what develops, but he has the potential of being a top-six forward," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told The Record.

Butler, who was undrafted, signed with Ottawa as a free agent on March 29, 2010.

The Senators bought out Butler's contract on July 27, making him a free agent.

"It’s going to be really up to him," Lamoriello said. “He’ll be given every opportunity. He visited and spent some time here and had some other opportunities."

The 6-foot, 185-pound native of Marlborough, Mass., split the 2010-11 season between Ottawa and the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton. He played in all 23 games for Binghamton en route to the team's 2011 Calder Cup Championship.

Butler spent four seasons at the University of New Hampshire, scoring 61 goals and piling up 121 points in 153 games for the Wildcats. As a senior, he was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star and the conference's player of the year after scoring a career-high 29 goals and 53 points in 39 games. With Butler in the lineup, New Hampshire went 87-49-17.

"He also played in Binghamton for (former Devils assistant and AHL head coach) Kurt Klienendorst when they won the Calder Cup, so we know a lot about him there, and also his college coach (Dick Umile) I had at Providence," Lamoriello told the newspaper. "So, we know enough about him."

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 4:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

U.S. holds 2-1 lead over Sweden after first period

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Special teams were the difference in the first period of Thursday's game between the U.S. and Sweden here at Herb Brooks Arena, as the U.S. took a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

All three goals in the period were scored with the man advantage, capped by John Gaudreau's power-play goal with 55.9 seconds left. Defenseman Mike Reilly led a rush up the ice and sent the puck to Gaudreau, who beat Sweden goalie Niklas Lundstrom.

Shayne Gostisbehere put the U.S. up 9:23 into the game late in a Team USA power play when he took a pass from defense partner Jacob Trouba, skated into the right part of the slot and beat Lundstrom.

Gostisbehere wasn't a hero for long, as he took a delay of game penalty 28 seconds after Reid Boucher had been sent off for slashing. Sweden's Mika Zibanejad took advantage of the five-on-three power play, getting low to bang in the rebound of an Emil Lundberg shot.

More after the second period.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 4:28 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Top 2013 prospect Wennberg scratched

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Wennberg, a center originally listed as a defenseman, is not in the lineup for Sweden for Thursday's game against the U.S.

Sweden originally listed two players wearing No. 7, Wennberg and Tom Nilsson, a defenseman. With the U.S. opting to dress eight defenders Thursday, Sweden answered in kind and made Wennberg a scratch.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 3:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

USA-Sweden lineups

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Here are the lineups the U.S. and Sweden will use for Thursday's game here at Herb Brooks Arena.

Some new faces for the U.S., but the top line of Sean Kuraly with Mario Lucia and Stefan Noesen remains intact.

Alex Galchenyuk and J.T. Miller will have a new linemate -- Reid Boucher, Galchenyuk's teammate with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. Boucher played at times on a line in Sarnia with Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov, so that familiarity should bode well for Galchenyuk, who still is looking to rediscover his game after sitting out for most of last season recovering from a knee injury.

Sitting out for the U.S. are forwards Stefan Matteau, Ryan Hartman, Thomas Di Pauli, Cole Bardreau, Steven Fogarty and Jimmy Vesey; defensemen Jake McCabe, Andy Welinski and Connor Murphy; and goaltenders Anthony Stolarz and Jon Gillies.

The big change to the Sweden lineup comes in goal, where Niklas Lundstrom will start in place of Oscar Dansk, who sustained a minor knee injury in Tuesday's game against Finland.

With the U.S. opting for eight defensemen today, top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Wennberg, a center, is listed on the roster as a blueliner, so it should be interesting to see how that works out. Earlier this week I asked Wennberg if he had always played center. He said he did try playing defense as a youngster, but it didn't work for him.

"I've always been a center," he told NHL.com. "I didn't like to play [defense]. I like to play offense."

U.S.

Mario Lucia - Sean Kuraly - Stefan Noesen

John Gaudreau - Vincent Trocheck - Nicolas Kerdiles

Reid Boucher - Alex Galchenyuk - J.T. Miller

Blake Pietila - Travis Boyd - Colin Blackwell

Tyler Biggs

Mike Reilly - Seth Jones

Matthew Grzelcyk - Jacob Trouba

Garrett Haar - Shayne Gostisbehere

Patrick Sieloff - Brady Skjei

John Gibson

Garret Sparks

SWEDEN

Pontus Aberg - William Karlsson - Filip Forsberg

Jeremy Boyce Rotevall - Joachim Nermark - Mika Zibanejad

Emil Lundberg - Victor Rask - Viktor Arvidsson

Linus Froberg - Oskar Sundqvist - Max Gortz

Jakob Lilja

Hampus Lindholm - Oscar Klefbom

Rasmus Bengtsson - Jonatan Nielsen

Mikael Wikstrand - Alexander Wennberg

Linus Arnesson

Niklas Lundstrom

Oscar Dansk

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 2:28 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Cup win part of special journey for Lombardis

Kings' general manager Dean Lombardi poses for a photo on his day with the Stanley Cup in Ludlow, Mass. (Photo: Tal Pinchevsky/NHL.com)

There have been plenty of locals in Ludlow, Mass., conspicuously wearing Boston Bruins jerseys for Dean Lombardi's day with the Stanley Cup. But with streams of Bruins fans filing into town hall more than two hours after the Cup's arrival, one longtime fan of the Los Angeles Kings general manager made sure to wear her Kings T-shirt.

"I had no idea how much he's loved here," said Wandamae Lombardi, Dean's wife of almost 20 years. "It's amazing. He's had a great year."

Mrs. Lombardi is no stranger to hockey. Her father is Hall of Fame player/coach/GM Bob Pulford, and she met her husband when she was working the San Jose Sharks marketing department. Since that chance meeting, it's been a remarkable journey for the Lombardis, culminating in the Kings' Cup win, which occurred just months before the couple's 20th wedding anniversary, to be celebrated Sept. 5.

"I knew this team had it in them," Wandamae told NHL.com. "They really believed in themselves after they beat Vancouver."

And in a life surrounded by hockey, Mrs. Lombardi can't help but get excited about her husband's Stanley Cup summer.

"It's all come full circle. My father was a player and coach in L.A. Dean hired (former Sharks coach and current Kings coach) Darryl (Sutter)," Wandamae said. "It's very poignant."

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 12:48 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Childhood friends celebrate Cup win with Lombardi

When it came time to receive the Stanley Cup in Ludlow, Mass., Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi knew who he wanted to be with.

Throughout the day, from a visit to local children's hospitals to a public event at the town hall to a private party scheduled for later in the day, Lombardi was flanked by longtime friends and former teammates, some of whom have known him since he was 6 years old.

While Lombardi has enjoyed a nomadic hockey career, a number of his old friends have stayed in the area and were thrilled to welcome their old friend back -- this time with a special guest.

While Lombardi and his friends reminisced at the Polish American Citizens Club, local minor hockey teams posed with the Cup in the background. All in all, it's so far been a memorable day in Ludlow.

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 12:04 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Some new looks for U.S. lineup

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The U.S. morning skate Thursday included players who didn't skate in Wednesday's game plus the group wasn't playing Thursday, so there was no way to discern forward lines or defense pairings.

The U.S. will dress 13 forwards, eight defenseman and two goalies against Sweden.

Four defensemen who played Wednesday against Finland will remain in the lineup, with Shayne Gostisbehere, Matthew Grzelcyk, Garrett Haar and Brady Skjei being joined by Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Patrick Sieloff and Mike Reilly.

Up front, the team's top line of Sean Kuraly centering Mario Lucia and Stefan Noesen will play again Thursday and is expected to stay together. Other forwards who will stay in the lineup are Alex Galchenyuk John Gaudreau, J.T. Miller and Nicolas Kerdiles. They'll be joined by Colin Blackwell, Reid Boucher, Travis Boyd, Blake Pietila, Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey.

Sitting out will be forwards Thomas Di Pauli, Cole Bardreau, Ryan Hartman, Stefan Matteau, Steven Fogarty and Tyler Biggs; defensemen Jake McCabe, Connor Murphy and Andy Welinski; and goalies Jon Gillies and Anthony Stolarz.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 11:58 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

U.S. ready for tougher foe in Sweden

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The U.S. team will see a higher level of competition Thursday when they face Sweden here at Herb Brooks Arena.

The 2012 World Junior Championship gold medalists have six players in Lake Placid from last year's team, and are coming into Thursday's game after a full day away from the rink.

"Sweden has had some really quality practice time," U.S. coach Phil Housley told NHL.com. "You can see it in their breakouts, their transition game. Certainly this is a really good test for us. Just watching them the last couple days, they seem to be in sync. All their passing, they move the puck extremely well. So you can see they've spent time together."

There will be a few changes to the lineup, especially on defense, as Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba and Patrick Sieloff will be on the ice. That trio all stands at least 6-feet tall and around 200 pounds. That's Housley's plan for countering Sweden's size and skill up front.

"They transition so well," Housley said. "It goes back to making the right decisions in the neutral zone. They also shoot the puck a lot. They attack the net well. Our [defensemen] are going to have to pick up guys behind them. We're going to have to contain them, keep them to the outside. They have some big forwards that can control the puck. We're going to have to shore up our [defensive] zone and try to eliminate their chances."

One of the things that won't change for the U.S. is the starting goalie. John Gibson, who allowed one goal on 13 shots in 35 minutes of play Wednesday against Finland, will start Thursday against Sweden. Garret Sparks, who stopped nine of 10 shots in relief of Gibson on Wednesday, will dress as the backup.

"We want to give him work," Housley said of Gibson, one of three players in camp who was on the U.S. World Junior team last year. "He's been there before; it's a big game, so to speak. Sweden is a very good team. We want to give him some work. Gibson and Sparks have played extremely well. Yesterday was a great test for them at key times of the game and they came through it for us. We want to see more of Gibby [Gibson] playing against really stiff competition."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 11:44 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Lombardi brings Cup home to Ludlow

Ludlow, Massachusetts welcomes home Kings GM and resident Dean Lombardi on his day with the Stanley Cup. (Photo: Tal Pinchevsky/NHL.com)

Ludlow, Mass., is a short drive from the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield. But the discussion today is all hockey, as Los Angeles Kings general manager and Ludlow resident Dean Lombardi enjoys his day with the Stanley Cup.

The Cup last came to this area in 1995, when it was hosted by nearby Wilbraham. On Thursday, residents lined up at least two hours in advance at the Polish American Citizens Club, where Lombardi is expected to bring the Cup by at noon. A local fundraiser is being held with a charity auction, in which locals will have the chance to win autographed Kings jerseys.

Prior to his arrival at the hall, Lombardi took the Cup to nearby hospitals before spending time with his first hockey coach, Tony Costa, who is known locally as the godfather of Ludlow hockey.

Lombardi is scheduled to spend five hours with the Cup at the Citizens Club, so stay tuned for more information at NHL.com.

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 10:42 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Back to work, as Sweden prepares for U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The Sweden players and staff spent Wednesday enjoying the picturesque scenery here in Lake Placid.

But Thursday morning it was time to get back to work, as the team had a game against the U.S. Thursday afternoon to get ready for.

Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg said the biggest thing he's looking for is a better start to the game. His team routed Finland 8-2 on Tuesday, but Ronnberg said he wasn't happy with his team's effort in the opening 20 minutes.

"I think we were playing sloppy," Ronnberg told NHL.com. "We weren't focused, we weren't ready to work hard enough. We allowed the Finns to outplay us, and that's not the way we would have liked it."

Of the 22 players Sweden brought here, Ronnberg said 10-15 will make the team that goes to Russia for the 2013 World Junior Championship. Among the group here is Mika Zibanejad, who scored the overtime goal that won the gold medal.

Ronnberg, though, isn't sure he'll have Zibanejad for a repeat attempt at the gold. Taken with the sixth pick of the 2011 draft by the Ottawa Senators, Zibanejad started last season in the NHL before being returned to Djurgardens in the Swedish Elite League after nine games with the Senators.

"We are not counting on Mika for the World Juniors," Ronnberg said, "but if he's available I'm more than pleased [to have him]."

Ronnberg also said St. Louis Blues prospect Niklas Lundstrom will start in goal while Oscar Dansk rests a minor knee injury. Dansk was hurt in Tuesday's 8-2 win against Finland.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season