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Monahan's meteoric rise mirrors improving Flames

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Sean Monahan doesn't look at the size of the mountain before him; he looks for the quickest path to the top.

So it is no wonder the 20-year-old Calgary Flames center doesn't spend too much time talking about their meteoric rise to prominence last season, but instead concentrates on how he and the Flames can take things to the next level.

"Our expectations for sure will be higher," said Monahan, whose 62 points (31 goals) were third on the Flames. "Our goal is to stay focused as a team. We believe in each other and we believe we can not only make the playoffs again, but we can be better."

Maple Leafs' van Riemsdyk embracing enhanced role

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs made sweeping changes over the summer, but it was not entirely a case of out with the old and in with the new.

The new-look Maple Leafs will turn to a holdover, forward James van Riemsdyk, to provide some of the offense following the departure of Phil Kessel. Kessel, who led the Maple Leafs in scoring the past six seasons, was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and van Riemsdyk is one of a handful of players expected to help pick up the slack.

It is a situation the 26-year-old Middletown, N.J., native welcomes.

"That's what you want as a player, the pressure to perform and be one of the go-to guys," van Riemsdyk said. "When the team needs a big play you want to be the guy they look to. It's an exciting situation."

Coach stays behind as Canucks open camp

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 7:57 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For the newest members of the Vancouver Canucks, the first days of training camp should be their first chance to make a strong first impression on their new coach. The problem is that coach Willie Desjardins won't actually be at camp.

While the rest of the team packed for the 75-minute flight north to Prince George, British Columbia, after physical testing and meeting the media Thursday, the second-year coach was forced to stay behind in Vancouver after having hip replacement surgery on Sept. 8.

Desjardins felt good enough to talk to the media, using a cane with an arm support for his right side to make his way in and out of a makeshift media room at Rogers Arena. However, he wasn't able to convince the medical staff he was ready to fly to the three-day training camp.

"I wanted to go," the 58-year-old said. "The doctors wouldn't let me go."

New energy as Devils start first camp post-Lamoriello

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 5:26 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Travis Zajac showed up for the first day of his 10th training camp with the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and had a feeling he never had before.

"It's almost like getting traded," Zajac said. "There's a new [general manager], new coach, new faces. It's a fresh start for me to go out and prove that I'm still capable of being a top player."

Everything around the Devils on Thursday felt a bit off, odd and different to the players who have been in the organization prior to this season. It's obvious as to why. There is a significant presence missing at Prudential Center.

Lou Lamoriello, the architect of the Devils for 28 years as general manager and president, was going through the first day of his first training camp as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs while his former players were starting to experience life without Lou for the first time.

Team Europe roster projection for World Cup

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 5:25 PM / World Cup of Hockey 2016

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

Team Europe, coached by Ralph Krueger, will have plenty of NHL and international experience but figures to be at a disadvantage in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey because its players haven't played together before as a group.

The roster will be comprised of players from European nations, excluding Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia. It's likely to prominently feature players from Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany and Denmark, although players from other countries are eligible.

Former NHL forward Miroslav Satan, who played for Slovakia's national team, is general manager. It's his task to assemble a group of players from multiple countries who can quickly come together as a cohesive unit for the tournament, which will be held Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016, in Toronto.

Here's what Team Europe's roster could look like (alphabetically by position):

Babcock focused on restoring Maple Leafs' luster

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 3:46 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Don't bother Mike Babcock with questions about the past.

That was the message from the new Toronto Maple Leafs coach when he met with the media at MasterCard Centre on Thursday as his players took their physicals prior to the start of training camp, which begins Friday in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"We can spend all the time you want talking about the last this many years and that many years; none of that is on my radar at all," Babcock said. "It starts here today for me. My job starts today as far as the on-ice product and we're going to work hard to make that better. We're going to work hard to restore the Maple Leafs to the rightful place in the League."

Penguins expect young defensemen to take next step

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 1:56 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are confident their offensive prowess will return this season, but their defensive expectations remain tepid.

Pittsburgh responded to a disconcerting offensive effort throughout the final month of last season and the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by adding forwards Phil Kessel, Eric Fehr, Nick Bonino and Sergei Plotnikov. The offense is expected to return to form with arguably the most depth the Penguins have had since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009.

There was a tradeoff, however.

"We had a good offseason, especially with our forwards," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We clearly have more depth than we did a year ago. We'll have more balance. We'll be able to play the game different ways and we'll have a better chance to score. We all know it's hard to score in this League.

"Our defense, it's time now. … We'll watch our defense, because it is a little bit younger. We'll see how that goes in the first half of the season."

Huberdeau signs two-year contract with Panthers

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 1:48 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Restricted free agent left wing Jonathan Huberdeau signed a two-year contract with the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

Financial terms of the contract were not released, but TSN reported it's worth $6.5 million.

"Fantastic," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "I'm real happy for [Huberdeau] and I’m real happy for our team. It's good to have everything settled and be a whole unit. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but I was confident we'd get it done. It was just a matter of time. You get no extra points for doing it sooner than later."

Ten training camp tryouts who could stick with teams

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 12:48 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

David Satriano - Staff Writer

As training camps across the NHL open, many free agents still are looking for contracts. Several players, including former all-stars and Stanley Cup winners, have agreed to professional tryout offers in hopes of performing well during the preseason and signing a contract for the season.

Whether it's because of an injury or poor play, numerous players accepted PTOs in lieu of contracts hoping to make an impression. Last season, Scott Gomez signed a PTO with the New Jersey Devils and ended up being signed by the team in December. His 34 points in 58 games exceeded expectations and tied for third on the team while playing far fewer games than most of his teammates.

Here are the 10 players who signed PTOs who have the best chances of making their teams, according to

Sabres' Evander Kane sees '40 or 50' goals as doable

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 11:56 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The past year for Evander Kane has been one he'd like to put behind him. The new start he'll get with the Buffalo Sabres is just the opportunity he's been seeking.

Kane spoke with the media Thursday at the first day of training camp at First Niagara Center and showed that his trademark confidence and swagger is still intact when he talked about what could happen if he stays healthy for a full season.

"If I can ever play 82 games … obviously I can score 30 goals. Will I is more the question," said Kane, who had 30 in 2011-12 as a 20-year-old with the Winnipeg Jets. "I hope to score as many goals as possible. Thirty is just kind of a set number. I've already scored 30. So maybe I want to score 40 or 50."

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, it was a pretty special moment for me. Today was my Dad's [55th] birthday. I have a lot of family in town, so it was a special moment for me to score my first one today. A win definitely would have capped it off, but you can't have everything.

— Sabres rookie Jack Eichel after scoring a goal in his National Hockey League debut
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