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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Boyes ready for new beginning with Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran forward Brad Boyes arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday, on the eve of the Florida Panthers' first training camp practice.

He's hoping his stay is an extended one and the Panthers turn his professional tryout into a contract.

"I am looking forward to it," Boyes said. "The opportunity should be there, so that will be exciting. I know a few guys on the team, guys I've played with before, so I'm looking forward to that too. It's something that for me it's an opportunity and I want to make the most of it."

Boyes, who turned 31 in April, played last season with the New York Islanders, but remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent. He said the Islanders offered him the opportunity to attend their training camp as a tryout player, but he didn't want to go that route. Boyes also said he had a couple of other tryout offers.

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:33 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Lightning coach Cooper has big head start

TAMPA, Fla. -- He had 16 games behind the bench to finish last season, but Jon Cooper opened his first training camp as the coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

Cooper, who joined the Lightning from the club's American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, went 5-8-3 with a team hurt by injuries and which finished 14th in the Eastern Conference, but there is no discounting how much that brief spell leading the team has proved invaluable for him.

"Just getting to know the landscape helped," Cooper said. "The travel, the day-to-day operation, everything that goes on in the League, meeting the media on a daily basis, just things that you don't plan for to take up your time and all of a sudden your day is gone and you don't know what happened with it. That was big for me in the month I was here.

"The second big thing was getting the relationship with the players, being able to find out, in anticipation of this year, who could play where. Moving in, I just have a better grasp on the team."

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:24 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Noel: Improved depth improves Jets' playoff hopes

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets reported to MTS Centre on Wednesday for physicals, but the real work of answering a long list of questions will begin when they take the ice Thursday to prepare for their first season in the Western Conference.

While the Jets gave coach Claude Noel a one-year contract extension this summer, there will be considerable pressure on him, in his third season, to take the organization into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, when the franchise was located in Atlanta. Another postseason miss could leave Noel’s future behind the Winnipeg bench in jeopardy.

"I'm certainly ready to go," Noel told reporters in his season-opening address. "I'm anticipating some very good things this year."

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 2:46 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Sans Lecavalier, Lightning ready for youth movement

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday opened their first training camp without Vincent Lecavalier since 1998, and the emphasis definitely is on youth and the future.

Lecavalier, now with the Philadelphia Flyers, had his absence noted, but for many his departure is viewed as a mixed blessing.

"Not having Vinny here is a little weird," veteran forward Ryan Malone said, "but we recognize it as a business decision."

It is a new day in Tampa Bay, and the door is open for an enthusiastic collection of members of the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, to make their mark.

"We've had to absorb some big losses on our roster, but that's the door opening for some of the young talent, and a lot of this talent has won before," Lightning coach Jon Cooper, starting his first full season with the team, said. "They have it in them. They know what it takes. This is just another little step they have to take. There will be some battles and I'm pretty excited to see which ones grab the torch."

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Penguins have faith in goaltender Fleury

PITTSBURGH -- Marc-Andre Fleury is coming off another disappointing postseason performance, but his teammates' confidence in their starting goaltender has not been shaken.

After an impressive regular season, Fleury struggled in the postseason, a theme that has become too familiar for the 28-year-old since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. Fleury posted a 2.39 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 33 regular-season games in 2012-13, but then had a 3.52 GAA and .883 save percentage in five Stanley Cup Playoff games, leading to Tomas Vokoun moving into the starting role during Pittsburgh's run to the Eastern Conference Final.

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 2:16 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Open competition for Penguins' bottom-six forwards

PITTSBURGH -- With a few noteworthy names lost during the offseason, at least three of the Pittsburgh Penguins' six forward spots on the team's bottom two lines are up for grabs, which should create heated competition during training camp.

Forwards Jarome Iginla (Boston Bruins), Brenden Morrow (unrestricted free agent), Matt Cooke (Minnesota Wild) and Tyler Kennedy (San Jose Sharks) are gone, leaving holes on the third and fourth lines. Brandon Sutter and Craig Adams can be expected to be the third- and fourth-line centers, respectively. And either Beau Bennett or Jussi Jokinen, whoever loses out on playing next to Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, will take a spot on the bottom two lines.

Sutter is in his second season with the Penguins and said he is anxious to see who he will be playing with.

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 1:42 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Bergeron, Campbell not 100 percent for Bruins

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins’ depth up the middle might be tested at the start of training camp as veteran centers Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell continue to recover from injuries incurred during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bergeron famously played through a broken rib, injured rib cartilage, punctured lung and separated shoulder in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Just as famously, Campbell broke his leg in the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins and had to have surgery.

Both players took their physical exams and went through off-ice testing with their teammates at TD Garden on Wednesday. Also, both might be limited when on-ice sessions start Thursday.

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 1:37 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Panthers expect Huberdeau to skate Thursday

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau is expected to be on the ice when the Florida Panthers hold their first training camp practice Thursday.

He should be joined by all of his teammates, except for captain Ed Jovanovski.

That was the rundown provided Wednesday by general manager Dale Tallon, whose team struggled through an injury-ravaged 2012-13 season. Huberdeau had hip surgery following the season, while Jovanovski (hip) was one of 10 players who underwent procedures during the season.

Along with Huberdeau, others expected to make their return Thursday include forward Kris Versteeg, who played only 10 games last season and underwent knee surgery in March, and forward Sean Bergenheim, who missed all of last season after undergoing sports hernia surgery.

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Back with Penguins, Scuderi wants a third Cup

PITTSBURGH -- Rob Scuderi is making his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins after four seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. The Pens hope the veteran defenseman still can live up to his nickname, "The Piece."

Scuderi was known as a calming presence within Pittsburgh's defensive unit throughout its march toward the 2009 Stanley Cup. He served that role again in 2012 with Los Angeles, helping the Kings win their first Cup. Now he is expected to bring that quality back to the Penguins while paired with Kris Letang.

"I think guys look to you and hopefully you can be a good example, but I've always been the same person even before I won the Stanley Cups," Scuderi said. "I know it gives you credibility in the locker room and that's great, but there's a lot of guys that haven't won it that have it inside them and hopefully we're trying to find that."

Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Penguins' Bennett could see time on top lines

PITTSBURGH -- Beau Bennett, entering his second NHL season, is facing the possibility of playing alongside Evgeni Malkin, a Hart Trophy winner, and James Neal, a 40-goal scorer. But the young forward is content filling any role asked of him, as long as it means he makes the team.

"Sunshine," as he is referred to in the Pittsburgh Penguins' locker room, showed flashes of offensive brilliance during his rookie season, and had three goals and 11 assists in 26 games.

Entering training camp this season, Bennett could serve a prominent role on the Penguins' top two lines. He will compete with Jussi Jokinen for the open spot next to Malkin and Neal, but after multiple stints in the American Hockey League last season, he said he is focused on making the opening-day roster.

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Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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