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(Page 12 of 15)
NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

30 in 30: Stability makes Blackhawks favorite again

Thursday, 08.08.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville predictably doesn't want to discuss or even utter the word "dynasty," not when it comes to his team, which is the closest thing the NHL has to a present-day dynasty with two Stanley Cup championships in the past four seasons.

"In today's game it's tough to even think like that with the significant changes to your roster," Quenneville told NHL.com.

Except the changes the Blackhawks have made since they won the Cup in Boston on June 24 aren't that significant, at least when compared to what they went through in the months after winning the Cup in Philadelphia on June 9, 2010.

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30 in 30: Leddy, Hossa on list of Hawks' questions

Thursday, 08.08.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

It's been 15 years since the Detroit Red Wings became the last team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The Chicago Blackhawks are built to do it again, but so were the Los Angeles Kings last season and that didn't quite work out as advertised.

Chicago's roster changeover isn't that significant, certainly not in comparison to when the Blackhawks won the Cup in 2010 and had to overhaul nearly half the roster because of salary-cap constraints. Chicago has to replace three players who played in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final: Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik were traded, and Viktor Stalberg was not re-signed.

The Blackhawks have it all in place to win the Cup again, but that doesn't mean they're free of questions heading into training camp next month. Here are six:

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30 in 30: Pirri's potential an X-factor for Blackhawks

Thursday, 08.08.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

When Brandon Pirri says he should be the Chicago Blackhawks' No. 2 center this season his intent isn't to sound cocky or to step out of line.

Pirri's feeling that he should be the one to play between Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp is instead born out of experience, confidence in his ability, and the understanding that he is one of the reasons Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman never sought to fill the job through a trade or free agency this summer.

"It's something I think I've earned the opportunity to do and I have to take advantage of it," Pirri told NHL.com. "I want to make that jump and I think I'm ready."

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30 in 30: Blackhawks have spots open for prospects

Thursday, 08.08.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said change is necessary, even for a team with a proven group of players good enough to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

"If you bring the exact same team back year to year, it's awful tough to push through the grind of a schedule and a season," Bowman told NHL.com during the Stanley Cup Final. "If you have a few guys who didn't win it and they want to get there, I think it brings some energy to the group. I don't mind the fact that you have to make some changes."

Some of the changes the Blackhawks are contemplating for this season involve prospects they've been marinating in the American Hockey League. Training camp could be a graduation of sorts for at least five of the top prospects in the Blackhawks' system.

Here's a look at Chicago's top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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30 in 30: Blackhawks lineup remains mostly intact

Thursday, 08.08.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

It was quite a season for the Chicago Blackhawks, and the summer hasn't been too bad either.

After winning the Presidents' Trophy and the Stanley Cup, the NHL's version of "winning the double" as a soccer fan might say, the Blackhawks have had a considerably less stressful offseason in the wake of a championship than the previous time in 2010.

General manager Stan Bowman traded role-playing forwards Dave Bolland and Michal Frolik to make enough room below the salary cap to retain playoff revelation Bryan Bickell. Free agent Viktor Stalberg, who expressed unhappiness with his role during the postseason, was unlikely to return and signed with the Nashville Predators.

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30 in 30: Whole new world in Vancouver

Wednesday, 08.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Mike Battaglino - NHL.com Staff Writer

There is only one Vancouver Canucks player who knows firsthand what a season with coach John Tortorella is like.

Chris Higgins, take it away:

"He wants your compete level to be 100 percent at all times when you're on the ice. He wants to play his best players. He wants his best players to be his best players night after night, and a lot of pressure falls on them. But the main thing he wants out of all his players is their compete level to be the highest it can be."

Initiation begins at training camp.

"He runs a pretty high-intensity camp, so I think make sure you're in shape is step No. 1. Then it's all about the process. Throughout training camp he's going to build you up every day, he's going to make you work a little bit harder, and implement his style a little bit more every day, and I think you just have to be open every day to incorporating those little lessons he puts in to your workout."

It's a brand new world for the Canucks, who in 2013-14 head into a different division being schooled by Mr. Tortorella instead of player-friendly Alain Vigneault, fired in May after seven seasons.

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30 in 30: Canucks want more from X-factor Kassian

Wednesday, 08.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Mike Battaglino - NHL.com Staff Writer

If the Vancouver Canucks didn't already have Zack Kassian on their roster, they'd have to go out and get him.

With new coach John Tortorella saying he wants the team to have more bite, Kassian is the player who can give them teeth.

"Zack is a unique package," general manager Mike Gillis said. "He is big, strong, he fights and he's got talent. And they are hard players to get and hard players to find and hard players to develop."

Kassian, a 6-foot-3, 214-pound right wing, is the Canucks' second-tallest and second-heaviest forward, behind 6-foot-5, 228-pound part-timer Tom Sestito.

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30 in 30: Luongo among questions facing Canucks

Wednesday, 08.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Mike Battaglino - NHL.com Staff Writer

There was one question that lingered over the Vancouver Canucks since the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs: What are they going to do with Roberto Luongo?

Turns out, it was answered in a way no one -- especially Luongo -- expected.

The 34-year-old is the Canucks' No. 1 goalie again after the team traded Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft.

That resolution brings a new question, one of six the Canucks face heading into the 2013-14 season:

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30 in 30: Defensemen strength of Canucks lineup

Wednesday, 08.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Another division title wasn't nearly enough to consider 2012-13 a successful season for the Vancouver Canucks.

Not only did they lose in the first round to a lower-seeded team for the second straight year, they've lost 10 of their past 11 playoff games after being swept by the San Jose Sharks. Not much has gone right in Vancouver since the Canucks had a chance to win the 2011 Stanley Cup on home ice in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins.

Last season was particularly wacky because of the ongoing goaltender saga. General manager Mike Gillis finally traded one of them, but it was Cory Schneider, not Roberto Luongo, who had long ago made peace with leaving Vancouver and finding a new home.

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30 in 30: Jensen, Horvat top Canucks' prospects

Wednesday, 08.07.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Mike Battaglino - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Vancouver Canucks had 25 players appear in at least 12 games last season. Only one of them -- forward Jordan Schroeder -- was a draft pick by the team since 2005.

A long run of success (10 Stanley Cup Playoff berths in 12 seasons) meant a talented roster was tough to crack. The resulting late first-round picks made it more difficult to find a top-level prospect able to break through.

That is about to change.

"Well, we have to; we don't have a choice," general manager Mike Gillis said.

Vancouver enters this training camp proclaiming there are vacancies on its roster for prospects, though maybe not as many as the brass makes it seem.

"We have some kids that are knocking on the door," new coach John Tortorella said. "We want to give them every opportunity to try to crack this lineup.

"We have to be careful in how we develop them; they need to go through the process of understanding what it is to be a pro. If we feel it's hurting them, then they'll go to the minors and play. But we're going to give them every opportunity because I think that's how you create the enthusiasm, that's how you build your team to be competitive for a long time with the [salary-cap] world. ... You need some youth in your lineup."

Here's a look at Vancouver's top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp