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Features

Burrows backs moves, sees Canucks in playoffs again

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 5:44 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- Alexandre Burrows watched from his suburban Montreal home as his Vancouver Canucks underwent a bit of a makeover this offseason, and he never questioned it.

Now, with training camp about a month away, Burrows said he sees no reason Vancouver can't remain competitive in a tough Western Conference while in the midst of what Canucks president Trevor Linden has called a transition period.

"I put my confidence in our management group of [general manager] Jim Benning and Trevor Linden," Burrows said Tuesday at a charity golf tournament hosted by Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "They're obviously intelligent people with a plan, and last season was the first year of their plan."

Therrien, like GM, defends Canadiens' style, system

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 4:50 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- On July 2, one day after NHL free agency opened, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin met with the media to discuss their moves.

Bergevin was asked about the defensive style of play employed by Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. In response, Bergevin got, well, defensive.

Bergevin fired back at the reporter to identify one aspect of the Canadiens system that makes it so defensive, and claimed the style they play is not much different from the one used by the majority of teams in the NHL.

"What do we do differently than other teams that makes us a defensive team?" Bergevin asked, annoyed with the line of questioning.

During the press conference, Bergevin said he did not feel the Canadiens would be any better off if they allowed 20 more goals in order to score 20 more; he said he feels the lack of offense could be addressed if the power play were to improve on its 16.5 percent success rate of last season.

But at the core -- and Bergevin has repeated this on numerous occasions -- the Canadiens' strength lies in goal with Carey Price and, to a slightly lesser extent, on defense with P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry.

If the Canadiens finish 20th in scoring but first in goals allowed, as they did last season, they should be on the winning side more often than not.

The concern is whether Price will be able to repeat the historic season he just completed. If not, will the Canadiens' lack of offense come back to bite them?

This is why the perception the Canadiens use a stifling defensive style persists in Montreal, and six weeks after his general manager faced questions on it, it was Therrien's turn to do the same this week.

Ducks sign forward Hagelin to four-year contract

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:13 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

NHL.com

The Anaheim Ducks signed left wing Carl Hagelin, a restricted free agent, to a four-year contract Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Orange County Register reported it is worth $16 million, an average annual value of $4 million.

The Ducks acquired Hagelin from the New York Rangers along with picks in the second and sixth rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft on June 27 in a trade for left wing Emerson Etem and a second-round pick.

"It was just a matter of finding the right term and the right number," Hagelin said. "They made a commitment to me with a four-year deal. For me, it's the perfect fit. You have some security going into the season feeling wanted and feeling like you can be a big part of the team. It's one of those deals where they're committed to me and I'm committed to them."

Gallagher pleased with Canadiens' additions

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 10:51 AM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Brendan Gallagher has high hopes for new Montreal Canadiens forwards Alexander Semin and Zack Kassian.

The Canadiens signed Semin to a one-year contract reportedly worth $1.1 million July 24, a little more than three weeks after the Carolina Hurricanes bought out the final three years of the 31-year-old's five-year, $35 million contract.

"Semin is a guy that other teams have to be aware of," Gallagher said Wednesday at his charity softball game at Vancouver's Nat Bailey Stadium. "He's dangerous every time he's on the ice. He doesn't need much time and space to put the puck in the back of the net."

Nugent-Hopkins says Oilers power play will be better

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 9:31 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins expects the Edmonton Oilers to improve on the power play this season.

The addition of forward Connor McDavid, who was the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, and a successful final 35 games of last season are the 22-year-old center's biggest reasons for optimism.

"I think as the year went on and near the end of the season, we really picked up our power play," Nugent-Hopkins told the Oilers website Thursday. "We started scoring and just had the confidence to go out there and get the job done. For whatever reason, that was something we were lacking at the start of the year.

"With a guy like [McDavid] coming in too, that will ignite us a little more hopefully. We should be a team with a really strong power play and we've got to get back to that."

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