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(Page 13 of 169)
Features

Goaltender Demko not worried about recent struggles

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 7:51 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Thatcher Demko said one of the most enduring lessons he learned at the USA Hockey national junior evaluation camp last year was that roster spots aren't won or lost in August.

The goaltender would do well to remember those lessons this year, as the first few days of camp aren't anything he's likely to brag about.

"It's been alright," Demko told NHL.com. "I don't think I've played my best yet."

Demko allowed two goals on seven shots playing the first 30 minutes Monday in USA White's 4-3 loss to Finland. In parts of three games, he's allowed eight goals on 27 shots.

"It's hard for goaltenders to come in the middle of summer," United States coach Mark Osiecki said. "You don't know how much they've been on the ice, what kind of game action they've seen, bodies in front of them and the speed factor of it. It's hard to adjust and it's going to take some time. He's been average; he knows that."

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McDavid eager to get draft-eligible season underway

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 5:46 PM / Prospects

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Connor McDavid sat and watched in June as many of his friends, the players he grew up playing with and against, saw their lifelong dreams realized.

The 2014 NHL Draft was a highlight moment for one of McDavid's closest friends, defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who was the first pick by the Florida Panthers. Sam Bennett, McDavid's teammate and linemate for seven years in minor hockey, was selected fourth by the Calgary Flames.

As the draft continued with names being called at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, McDavid saw more and more of the people he grew up with, people who ultimately helped him become the most highly-anticipated hockey prospect since Sidney Crosby.

He was happy for them. But he also started to get antsy.

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Trotz confident he can fix what ailed Capitals

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

As part of his exercise in discovering information about his new team, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz has been asking friends and colleagues around the NHL to disclose what they told their players before playing the Capitals in recent seasons.

Trotz's discoveries have given him an indication as to why the Capitals failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

"It was pretty consistent," Trotz told NHL.com. "They would say, 'Don't let them score on the rush. Don't let their forwards freewheel. Take away time and space. They don't do much around the net. They're not very physical. They don't block shots.' It was good information, and now I've got to get it changed. I know I can."

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Trotz-Ovechkin bond among Capitals' five questions

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

A new general manager (Brian MacLellan), new coach (Barry Trotz) and two high-priced veteran additions to the blue line (Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik) indicate the Capitals will have a new look this season after their streak of six consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs came to an end last season.

However, the final answers to the following five questions ultimately will determine if Washington's new path will lead to the postseason:

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Versatile Laich eager to help Capitals again

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich couldn't wait for Monday to come. It's the day he's finally scheduled to hit the ice and incorporate skating into his offseason training regimen.

It's been two years since Laich has been as energized and excited to lace 'em up as he is now; two very hard, painful, injury-riddled years to be exact.

"Now when I step on the ice I feel completely free as opposed to very limited, like the last two years," Laich told NHL.com.

This can only be viewed as fantastic news for the Capitals.

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New regime aims to get more out of Capitals lineup

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For the first time in seven seasons the Washington Capitals did not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2013-14. That led to some substantial changes.

Brian MacLellan became the third general manager in the past 32 years, replacing long-tenured George McPhee. Barry Trotz became the fourth coach in the past 30 months, a fact that had a lot to do with MacLellan's promotion from assistant GM.

When Adam Oates was hired to coach in Washington, the mission statement seemed to be "Fix Alex Ovechkin, fix the Capitals." Ovechkin scored lots of goals for Oates and the power play often was incredible. But pretty much everything else, from possession to goal prevention to penalty killing and secondary scoring, was far from incredible. The Capitals slipped in 2012-13 and sunk in 2013-14, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

There's a new regime, a new system and some new players. There is better depth on defense but not necessarily up front. Will the changes result in a return to the postseason?

Here is a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Capitals:

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Dynamic Burakovsky leads Capitals' top 10 prospects

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With a new general manager in Brian MacLellan and a new coach in Barry Trotz, training camp will be a clean slate for the Washington Capitals.

That includes a talented group of prospects that will be looking to impress the new staff and potentially earn NHL jobs.

"With all these younger guys, they have to prove to the coaches that they deserve to stay," assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said.

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

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Kessel confident in Maple Leafs' chances this season

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 5:02 PM / NHL Insider

Phil Kessel
Right Wing - TOR
GOALS: 37 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 80
SOG: 305 | +/-: -5
The Toronto Maple Leafs ended last season with 12 losses in their final 14 games to settle for a disappointing 12th place finish in the Eastern Conference. But given the plethora of changes on the ice and in the front office, forward Phil Kessel believes the Maple Leafs are now in a better position to make a run at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think we had a good team," Kessel told the Canadian Press following Sportsnet's Ball Hockey Challenge at Rexall Centre in Toronto, where he and other NHL players played ball hockey with tennis star Roger Federer. "We were there last year. We had a bad stretch. We don't have that stretch, we're right in it."

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Lightning coach tries to downplay expectations

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 10:21 AM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Despite losing star player Steven Stamkos for four months with a broken leg and trading captain Martin St. Louis, the Tampa Bay Lightning surprised the NHL and posted the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. Now, after acquiring a group of veterans during the offseason, the Lightning enter 2014-15 among the favorites to make a prolonged run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Just don't expect their coach to say so.

"Make us seem like just a nice, humble, go-lucky Tampa Bay Lightning," Jon Cooper told NHL.com. "Not like we're going to come out and kick everybody's [behind]."

Last season, Cooper discovered a franchise goaltender, Ben Bishop, and led Tampa Bay, which played nine rookies, to the playoffs for the first time in three years. In his first full season, Cooper was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach.

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Devils' lineup boasts depth up front, youth on defense

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Since the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the Kings have played 44 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won a second championship in three seasons.

That is 44 more games than the Devils, who missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1985-86 and 1986-87. Ten of the 24 players who appeared in at least one playoff game during New Jersey's 2012 run remain with the team.

The two stars of that 2012 group, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, left in successive summers, and it appears the franchise's most iconic player, goaltender Martin Brodeur, has played his last game with the Devils. If losing Parise and Kovalchuk didn't signal the start of a new era, moving on without Brodeur certainly does.

New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello made one of the best signings of the 2013 offseason when Jaromir Jagr joined the Devils. He became their best player and fortified his status as one of the all-time great forwards. Lamoriello tried to add some options up front this offseason and turned the net over to Cory Schneider on a full-time basis.

The Metropolitan Division looks wide open behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, so a return to the postseason is certainly plausible and maybe even likely if the veterans up front can remain productive and healthy and Schneider confirms a place among the elite goaltenders in the League by finally having the chance to assume a large workload.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Devils:

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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential