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NBC's Emrick, Olczyk, McGuire ready for new season

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 6:57 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

David Satriano - Staff Writer

The 2015-16 NHL season begins on Wednesday and one of the most commonly used words when talking about it is "change," whether it be rookies, coaching or rules.

Seven of the 30 NHL teams have a new coach, which Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports Network said creates intrigue throughout the season.

"How's Jeff Blashill going to do in Detroit replacing Mike Babcock?" McGuire said of Blashill, the coach of the Detroit Red Wings after Babcock left for the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I think he's going to do fantastically well. How's Mike Babcock going to do replacing Randy Carlyle in Toronto? Nobody knows. How's Dan Bylsma going to do up in Buffalo in a rebuild, which I think will go amazingly well because of what they are doing there."

Eddie Olczyk, an analyst for NBC and NBCSN with McGuire and Doc Emrick, said in addition to the new coaches, some teams made improvements that could improve their chances of winning the Stanley Cup.

Sharks' Torres suspended 41 games for preseason hit

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 4:28 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres has been suspended for 41 games, without pay, for interference and an illegal check to the head against Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg during a preseason game in Anaheim on Saturday, Oct. 3, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 12:45 of the first period. Torres was assessed a match penalty for illegal check to the head.

Blues sign Upshall to one-year, two-way contract

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 3:36 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

ST. LOUISSt. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has signed forward Scottie Upshall to a one-year, two-way contract.

Upshall, 31, dressed in 63 regular season games with the Florida Panthers last season, posting 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) and 28 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot, 200-pound forward is a veteran of 12 National Hockey League (NHL) seasons including stints with Florida, Columbus, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Nashville.

Preseason standouts worth targeting in fantasy

Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider

Last season was a prime example of why monitoring preseason roster activity can pay huge dividends in fantasy hockey.

I identified five under-the-radar preseason standouts last October based on factors including line combinations, elevated roles and production. Three of them proved to be top-100 fantasy players.

Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning latched on with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat and went on to post 65 points, a plus-38 (T-1st in NHL) and 191 shots on goal. He finished 21st among all fantasy assets. Not far behind was Filip Forsberg, 35th in Yahoo leagues, with only the third rookie season of 60-plus points, a plus-15 or better and 230-plus shots on goal (SOG) in the expansion era. Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings finished 93rd, catapulted by a hot start alongside Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson.

Mario Lemieux turns 50, NHL players share memories

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 10:41 AM / NHL Insider

Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner and chairman Mario Lemieux, one of the greatest NHL players of all time, turned 50 on Monday.

To commemorate Lemieux's special day, asked players across the League for their memories of the man known as "The Magnificent One."

Lemieux, who battled health issues throughout his 17-season NHL career, had 1,723 points in 915 games, all with the Penguins. He won the Stanley Cup twice as a player (1991, 1992) and as Penguins owner in 2009.

Internationally, Lemieux won an Olympic gold medal, a Canada Cup championship, and a World Cup title. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 1997 but returned to the NHL in 2000 and played parts of five additional seasons before retiring in the middle of the 2005-06 season at the age of 40.

The memories shared by current NHL players were almost as varied as the types of highlight-reel goals Lemieux scored during his unrivaled career.

Here they are:

Lemieux 'shocked' by surprise 50th party: Bergevin

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 10:41 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin turned 50 this year with little fanfare, but he understands why that won't be the case for one of his lifelong friends.

Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux turned 50 on Monday, nearly two months after his former minor hockey teammate Bergevin hit the milestone on Aug. 11.

The two technically are competitors in the NHL's Eastern Conference, but the friendship they forged playing for the same team in pee-wee, bantam and midget in southwest Montreal nearly 40 years ago remains as strong as ever.

Opening week has Babcock, Kessel, McDavid debut

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 10:00 AM / Weekly Primer

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

The 2015-16 NHL season gets underway Wednesday with four games, including two Original Six matchups.

This week, seven coaches will debut with a new team, a potential generational type player will play his first NHL game, and a second team arrives within New York City limits.

Here are games that should garner plenty of attention:

2015-16 picks: Capitals will be big winners

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which begins Wednesday.

How will the 2015-16 season unfold? That's the question we asked several staffers and the answers were surprising, to say the least.

If our collection of prognosticators are right, fans of the Washington Capitals will be very happy. The Capitals appeared as Stanley Cup champions on three of nine ballots, while Tampa Bay and Anaheim also received multiple votes. Washington star Alex Ovechkin was a near-unanimous choice to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for the fourth straight season, while Braden Holtby received some serious consideration to claim his first Vezina Trophy.

In the heavily discussed battle for the Calder Memorial Trophy, it was Edmonton forward Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, who earned the early nod, named as the winner on seven ballots. Buffalo forward Jack Eichel, The No. 2 pick in the 2015 Draft, was selected on the other two ballots.

For a snapshot on how the prognosticators see the season playing out, check out the predictions below:

Lightning's Drouin gains confidence on Stamkos line

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- When Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin entered training camp last month, he wanted to put a rocky rookie season behind him.

Drouin, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, missed all of camp last season with a fractured thumb and started 2014-15 with a weekend's worth of rehab games for Syracuse of the American Hockey League before joining the Lightning in mid-October.

Despite playing 70 regular-season games and six in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Drouin didn't seem to fit in to the plans of coach Jon Cooper. Drouin had four goals and 28 assists but couldn't find a consistent line and was on the bench more times than not during the postseason.

Eight potential breakout players in 2015-16

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which begins Wednesday.

One year ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning were hoping forward Nikita Kucherov could have a breakout season, prove his skill could translate in the NHL, that he was worth the tough love he was shown during his rookie season of 2013-14.

At the same time, the Calgary Flames were hoping center Sean Monahan could build on his strong rookie season to bust out in a big way, and the Detroit Red Wings were banking on Tomas Tatar to become a go-to scorer in his second full season.

All three answered.

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Quote of the Day

[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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