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Stamkos contract, Drouin among Lightning's X-factors

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning came close last season to winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in their history, but ultimately fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the Final.

There were not a lot of changes made in the offseason, but here are three X-factors that could determine if the Lightning will hoist the Cup in 2016:

Elite level now the expectation for Lightning's Hedman

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TORONTO -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman finally ended his near six-year chase to catch up to his high expectations in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

All it did for him was create even higher expectations going into this season.

"The one thing with Victor is he's always been blessed with these physical tools. But with him I think it came down to opportunity and then it came down to in some part believing he can be in that upper echelon of defenseman," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Now Victor is so much more comfortable with himself and playing the game that I think what we're going to see is him playing at a consistently high level will be the norm now. Maybe that's the expectation of him now. Maybe it is."

Nash says time for Rangers to win Stanley Cup is now

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 7:31 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The time for the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup is right now, and forward Rick Nash knows it.

"I feel like an organization like the Rangers has pressure to win a championship every single year," Nash said Thursday during an appearance at the NHL Powered by Reebok Store to celebrate the release of the first-ever Playmobil NHL figures and playsets. "I think [coach Alain Vigneault] is right when he says failure is not an option. We've been close, and in this business close isn't good enough. We have to be able to get the job done.

"I think our window is right now."

NHL Great Canadian Goalies stamps unveiled

Worsley, Bower, Esposito, Parent, Dryden, and Brodeur immortalized

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 5:08 PM / Game Savers

NHL Public Relations

TORONTO -- Less than a week before the puck drops to start the 2015-16 NHL season, Canada Post lifted the veil today on a new stamp issue that celebrates six goaltending greats who transformed hockey.

The 2015 NHL® Great Canadian Goalies set highlights some of the finest goalies to play in the NHL between 1952 and 2015: Lorne "Gump" Worsley (Montreal Canadiens), Johnny Bower (Toronto Maple Leafs), Tony Esposito (Chicago Blackhawks), Bernie Parent (Philadelphia Flyers), Ken Dryden (Montreal Canadiens) and Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils).

All won the most coveted of prizes -- the Stanley Cup® Championship -- and the Vezina Trophy, recognizing the NHL's best goalkeeper. All changed the way the game was played or perceived, making them larger-than-life figures.

Oilers' Messier sees smooth transition for McDavid

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 4:34 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers legend Mark Messier worked with Connor McDavid on an advertising campaign this summer, but prior to Thursday had never seen the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft play in person.

Messier, who works as a hockey adviser for the Oilers, was here to watch McDavid and the Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks in a preseason game at Rexall Place.

"This is the first time I've seen him live -- obviously, I follow the games on TV -- so I'm looking forward to it," Messier said following the Oilers morning skate. "Meeting Connor this summer and shooting the [Rogers Communications] commercials together, I got to see what a great young man he is and I know he's excited to get the season started."

'Unfair to say' Bruins coach Julien on hot seat: Neely

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 4:04 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- As a player, Boston Bruins president Cam Neely was known for his fearlessness.

Neely proved Thursday during a press conference to kick off Bruins media day that life in the front office hasn't tempered his aggressiveness.

When the subject of coach Claude Julien's job security was broached, Julien offered his thoughts on the matter. Neely, the Bruins president, didn't miss a beat when he burst out unprovoked with a soliloquy meant to take some of the heat off the coach.

"I just wanted to jump in on that because I've read some things where people have mentioned that Claude can be on the hot seat. I think it's unfair to say that," Neely said. "[New general manager Don Sweeney] came to us with how he'd like to see the team play. He's had many conversations with Claude about that. But a lot of things happen throughout the course of the year that's not necessarily just on the coach. So I mean it's unfair. I know why certain things are said at times. But it's really unfair to start the season where it's out there where the coach could be on the hot seat. I think it's unfair to Claude."

Ducks defeat Canadiens for Cup in NHL 16 simulation

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 11:30 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Can the Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup this season? EA Sports believes they will.

The company behind NHL 16 simulated the 2015-16 season and the result was the Ducks defeating the Montreal Canadiens in seven games to win the Cup for the first time since 2007.

In the simulation, Ducks star forward Corey Perry had 23 points and was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Unmasked: Shooters finding benefits in goalie camps

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 11:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For a lot of goaltenders, right up to the NHL level, summer has long been a time to go back to school and learn new things.

Whether it's working to refine existing techniques with an old coach or seeking fresh ideas from a new one, many spend part of their offseason at a goalie school. Combined with the increased access to position-specific coaches in-season, it's a big reason goaltending continues to evolve and improve.

Increasingly, however, goalies aren't the only players at goalie schools.

At a number of high-end goaltending camps this summer, it was common to find NHL players working as shooters. Ottawa Senators center Curtis Lazar, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers and free agent forward David Booth took part in OR Sports goalie sessions in Kelowna, British Columbia.

How East's playoff outsiders get back in postseason

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which begins Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Summer may be the most enjoyable time of the season for many people, but NHL teams want to put off its start for as long as possible.

For the eight Eastern Conference teams that missed out on the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff party, their goal since the second week of April has been figuring out how to extend their seasons into May -- or even June, like the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

So how can the teams that missed the fun turn into postseason hits? With the regular season nearing its start, today examines why fans of the unlucky eight can hold onto their playoff hopes:

Coyotes' Ekman-Larsson reaching Lidstrom-like levels

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Tim Wharnsby - Correspondent

TORONTO -- They're everywhere in the NHL these days, young Swedish defensemen who have been influenced by Nicklas Lidstrom, the legendary Detroit Red Wings defenseman.

Back when Peter Forsberg was at his best, most young hockey players from Sweden wanted to be like him, a forward. But then Lidstrom started collecting Stanley Cup titles and Norris Trophy wins and Olympic gold, and that all changed.

"You look around the League and see all the young [Swedish] defensemen," Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "When you grew up in Sweden before Nicklas became the player he was, everybody wanted to be a forward. When he played his best, the most skilled guys back home wanted to be like him and play defense. Our best players are defensemen."

Now there is Victor Hedman in Tampa Bay, John Klingberg in Dallas, Jonas Brodin in Minnesota, Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim, Adam Larsson in New Jersey, Mattias Ekholm in Nashville.

There are also a couple dandies in Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes.

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Quote of the Day

Every D-man who comes from Sweden has watched him play. He was my idol growing up and he's the reason I started to play 'D.'

— Coyotes' Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
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