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(Page 15 of 148)
Features

Lightning out to prove they can play with NHL elite

Saturday, 09.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

In a challenging season that saw captain Martin St. Louis traded, star center Steven Stamkos shelved with a broken leg and coach Jon Cooper entering his first full year behind the bench, plenty went right for the Tampa Bay Lightning. A number of young players, particularly goaltender Ben Bishop, emerged as legitimate contributors, and the team made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in three years.

Much of that progress was overshadowed by a first-round sweep at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. But with veteran help added over the summer and more top prospects on the way, the Lightning have some lofty expectations for 2014-15.

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Lightning's patience with Hedman paying dividends

Saturday, 09.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman can still pinpoint the moment his season, and perhaps his career, turned.

Eight games into the 2013-14 season, his fifth in the NHL, the second pick in the 2009 NHL Draft struggled through one of the worst performances of his career in a 5-0 loss to the Boston Bruins.

"That Boston game was a tough game, but after that I felt like I took off," Hedman said. "That was a big turning point."

After posting a career-worst minus-5 rating against Boston, Hedman responded with two points in a 6-5 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks, including his first goal in 41 games. It was the turning point in a career year that established him as a top NHL defenseman. But he still feels he has something to prove.

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Predators sign defenseman Ellis to five-year contract

Friday, 09.26.2014 / 12:10 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NashvillePredators.com

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed restricted free-agent defenseman Ryan Ellis to a five-year, $12.5 million contract.

Ellis, 23 (1/3/91), ranked second on the Predators in games played (80) and plus/minus rating (+9), while ranking third among club blueliners in points (6g-21a-27pts) during the 2013-14 season. In 144 career NHL contests since 2011-12, the 5-10, 179-pound native of Freelton, Ontario, has recorded 44 points (11g-33a).

To read more from the Nashville Predators website, CLICK HERE.

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Top teammate point pairs to target in fantasy drafts

Eric Goodman - NHL.com Staff Writer

Certain things are best enjoyed together. Like fine red wine and steak, or ice-cold milk and fresh-baked cookies, pairing up linemates and defensive counterparts for your fantasy hockey team can lead to great results.

Anaheim Ducks forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf (55 team goals where each recorded a point) formed the NHL's most productive tandem in 2013-14, proof of how valuable the draft strategy of selecting successful pairings can be in fantasy. But because Perry and Getzlaf are being taken on average in the first round of Yahoo drafts this season, it's unlikely for fantasy owners to snag that duo.

The following list provides a guideline of which player combinations to target, but does not include teammates whose Yahoo average draft rounds (ADR) were in the same respective early rounds or in consecutive early rounds in snake drafts (e.g. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn or Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane).

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Canadiens' Pacioretty letting game come naturally

Friday, 09.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

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

NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty has stopped thinking.

Contrary to what he has been told for much of his life, he believes lack of forethought, in this particular case, will be for the better.

“I tend to overthink things," Pacioretty said. "I've had a couple of coaches tell me to just turn off my brain out there; don't think. Whenever I think that I have to score a goal to change a game, I have to get this many points or whatever, I never have success.

"When I just worry about the process and doing the right things, the results end up taking care of themselves. It sounds so cliché, but for me it really is on point with how I have had success."

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Kings' Conn Smythe winner Williams stays humble

Friday, 09.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Frank Mentesana - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

It was Justin Williams' turn to speak during the Los Angeles Kings' Stanley Cup rally at Staples Center, three days removed from a second NHL championship in three seasons. Bob Miller, the Kings' play-by-play man, summoned Williams to the podium with a rousing introduction that featured several nicknames for the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

Justin Williams
Right Wing - LAK
GOALS: 19 | ASST: 24 | PTS: 43
SOG: 239 | +/-: 14
However, one of them didn't sit well with Williams.

"I hate that 'Mr. Game 7' nickname. I can't stand it," he said to the crowd with a sheepish smile.

Three months later, does he still hate it?

"Yeah, absolutely," Williams said during the NHL Player Media Tour. "I hate it because they kind of postered me up as a Game 7 guy, but our team's success has let me be successful in those games."

With Williams' work in Game 7s -- a 7-0 record, seven goals, a League-record 14 points -- the moniker is more than fitting. But that's generally how it goes with the 32-year-old forward. Try to single him out with praise and he'll find a way to deflect it to those around him, whether it's his teammates, coach, general manager, family, or those who won the Conn Smythe before him.


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Quick, Gaborik keys to Kings' quest for Cup repeat

Friday, 09.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

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

Time passes quickly around the Los Angeles Kings' practice facility. Not three months expired before they were back on the ice, ready to defend the Stanley Cup; that has become the norm for a team that has made three straight trips to the final four.

"I talked to Mike [Richards] and he was just saying, 'We just finished practice [from last season],'" coach Darryl Sutter said.

The Kings' underlying theme at the start of camp was getting off to a better start and not cutting it so close: Los Angeles has finished eighth, fifth and sixth in the Western Conference the past three seasons.

"Everybody's saying today our goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Sutter said. "Thirty teams are saying that. Their real, more important goal, is to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."
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Canadiens putting last season's success behind them

Friday, 09.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

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

From the perspective of general manager Marc Bergevin, the Montreal Canadiens are starting with a clean slate despite an extremely successful 2013-14 season that culminated with a run to the Eastern Conference Final.

A six-game loss to the New York Rangers left Montreal achingly close to the team's first appearance in a Stanley Cup Final in 21 years. While Bergevin is proud of his team's accomplishments, his thoughts are focused on the upcoming season.

"We're back to square one now," Bergevin said. "Even though we reached the conference final, it means nothing. It doesn't mean that we start ahead of everybody else other than the Rangers. [The] Washington [Capitals] will be better. I'm going to go all those teams. They're all going to be better. They're all going to try to beat us, so our first goal … is to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. That's reality."

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Price, special teams are keys to Canadiens success

Friday, 09.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

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

Coming off their most successful season in years, the Montreal Canadiens enter 2014-15 trending upwards. Carey Price, P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty are entering their peak seasons; veterans Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec demonstrated their value during Montreal's run to the Eastern Conference Final in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; and young, homegrown talent abounds in the likes of Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Michael Bournival, Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi.

A Stanley Cup used to be the measure of success for a Canadiens season, but the most recent championship banner was raised to commemorate the 1993 Cup. A generation of fans that has grown up without a championship of its own was supercharged by the excitement generated by a first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning and an always-satisfying win against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

So however success now is measured in Montreal, it begins with a return trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here are three keys to making that happen:

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Kings remain hungry for another Stanley Cup

Friday, 09.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

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

There's a reason no Stanley Cup champion has repeated since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

"It's damn hard," forward Justin Williams said.

It got harder because the rest of the Western Conference upgraded in the offseason. But if there's a team that's poised to pull it off, it's a Kings team that returns everybody except defenseman Willie Mitchell.

"I think some people talk about being satisfied after winning one," defenseman Alec Martinez said. "But personally … it really makes you hungrier. You want to do it again. The amount of fun that you have, just with your teammates, with your family, it's a really special thing and you want to keep doing and do it as many times as you can. It's going to be a tough test, both physically and mentally, but I think we've got a good group in this room that know what to expect and have gone through it once or twice before."

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It was pretty unbelievable...I think (my family in France) is pretty much in front of the TV right now. I don't think I have to wake them up.

— 29-year-old Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare after scoring his first NHL goal
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