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(Page 4 of 161)

Consistency critical as Hurricanes try to end drought

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Davis Harper - 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.

Consistency in the NHL isn't always easy to pinpoint or maintain, but it can mean the difference between missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs and making it, between an early summer and one spent celebrating a championship.

For the past few seasons, the Carolina Hurricanes have been consistently inconsistent. Gaps in regular-season performance have translated into a five-season playoff drought and two consecutive 13th-place finishes in the Eastern Conference. Over one 12-game stretch from Dec. 20-Jan. 13 that can serve as a microcosm of Carolina's inconsistency, the Hurricanes lost five straight, then won five straight, then lost their next two games.

This offseason the Hurricanes, in search of that elusive consistency, overhauled their front office. Carolina replaced longtime general manager Jim Rutherford with Ron Francis. Shortly after, coach Kirk Muller was fired and Detroit Red Wings assistant Bill Peters was hired in his place.


Puck possession major starting point for Maple Leafs

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

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 September.

Changes at the top of the organization, on the coaching staff, to the roster, and in the team's overall philosophy have highlighted a busy summer for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, to change the results on the ice the Maple Leafs will have to do almost a complete 180 from last season. They need to specifically be better in the following three areas:


Maple Leafs ready to try new approach at success

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

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 September.

The changes the Toronto Maple Leafs made in their front office, on their bench, and to their roster during the offseason made for interesting storylines and allowed for some fascinating discussion about the new way the team will go about its business on the ice and off it.

However, with the conversation now focused on putting those changes, including Toronto's obvious emphasis on analytics, to the test, old news is still hard to ignore.

The Maple Leafs have a new leader in president Brendan Shanahan, who made changes underneath general manager Dave Nonis and coach Randy Carlyle by appointing each new assistants, all because of how poorly last season ended.


Wild goalie Kuemper agrees to two-year contract

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 11:01 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014


Restricted free agent goaltender Darcy Kuemper has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Minnesota Wild, the team said Thursday.

No other terms were disclosed, but TSN's Bob McKenzie reported it's a one-way contract with an average annual value of $1.25 million.

"I'm super excited to continue this journey with the Wild and can't wait to see and get back on the ice with my teammates," Kuemper told Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Kuemper said he will arrive at Wild training camp Friday, the newspaper reported.


Maple Leafs trying their best to move forward

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 8:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- A new era dawned on the Toronto Maple Leafs when they reported for training camp Thursday, but aspects of the recent past remain.

Despite a remade front office and a message of new hope, the majority of the day was spent answering for the sins of the past, particularly missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, and sidestepping fresh controversies created before the 2014-15 team even took the ice for the first time.

"There's a tremendous amount of scrutiny that takes place," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We understand that. That's the education that we're trying to bring to our players, that this isn't easy. But no one said it was easy to play in the NHL. It's difficult. And there are days that are more difficult than others."

Thursday was difficult at times when Maple Leafs new and old arrived at MasterCard Centre for physicals and other off-ice activities before taking the ice Friday.


Flyers' Timonen says return this season is 'slim'

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 4:32 PM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen will attempt to play during the 2014-15 NHL season but admitted Thursday the chances of that happening are slim due to blood clots that were found in his lower right leg and in both lungs in early August.

"My desire is always I want to play but chance of me playing is really slim," Timonen said during a press conference at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, N.J. "That's the fact. But I'm ready to wait for that chance and see how I feel."


NHL Network-US announces preseason schedule

Starting Sept. 21, NHL Network-U.S. Will Broadcast 22 Live Preseason Games, EJ Hradek, Steve Mears to Anchor Sept. 22 Season Debut of NHL Live

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 2:00 PM / NHL Network


NEW YORK / TORONTO -- NHL Network™-U.S. will begin its 2014-15 preseason broadcast schedule with the Buffalo Sabres-Washington Capitals game on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Highlighted by rivalries, doubleheaders, player debuts, the Sept. 24 2014 Kraft Hockeyville game featuring the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames in Sylvan Lake, Alta., and the Oct. 4 Colorado Avalanche-Los Angeles Kings matchup at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NHL Network-U.S. will carry 22 preseason game broadcasts live heading into the 2014-15 regular season.

NHL Live™, one of NHL Network's signature programs, makes its return on Monday, Sept. 22, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by EJ Hradek (@EJHradek_NHL) and Steve Mears (@MearsyNHL), the two-hour live show features commentary, analysis and social interaction with hockey insiders, NHL.com writers and editors, and special guests. Fans can join the conversation via Twitter (@NHLNetwork) with the hashtag #NHLPreseason.


Penguins getting first look at new coach Johnston

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 1:41 PM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Change is inevitable.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi echoed those words inside their Consol Energy Center locker room Thursday. And it was a prevalent theme one day before the Penguins take the ice for their first practice of training camp.

The Mike Johnston era has begun in Pittsburgh. Most players don't seem to know what to expect from their new coach yet.

But each player recognized that change was warranted after the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Penguins couldn't hold a 3-1 lead against the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference Second Round series. In the aftermath, general manager Ray Shero was fired and replaced by Jim Rutherford. Rutherford fired coach Dan Bylsma and hired Johnston on June 25.

"It's going to take a bit to learn a new system and to understand the expectations of our coaching staff," forward Chris Kunitz said. "But I think we're all eager and excited to get into that process. … The one thing I keep hearing is the puck possession, kind of the analytics of the game and being able to hold onto the puck instead of giving it away. If you keep the puck your shots go up, and I think we have a team that can skate up and down the ice.

"We're going to be able to hopefully play into that system."


Analysis of NHL.com's fantasy hockey mock draft

Fantasy insider Pete Jensen breaks down 12-team, 16-round simulation

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 9:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Over the course of the offseason, we've broken down the fantasy hockey implications of the biggest moves and identified players worth keeping an eye on for a variety of reasons.

Now it's time to put it all together in dissecting NHL.com's annual fantasy mock draft.

Having a strategy entering your draft is important, but improvising is just as essential to strong decision-making. You should always consider the best player available, fill positional and category needs when possible and be mindful of which players will be attainable in later rounds. Hitting home runs on the waiver wire can bring home fantasy championships, but the bottom line is that how you execute each round of your draft will shape your fortunes this season -- for better or worse.

NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff of Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Matt Sitkoff, Brian Metzer and Justin Goldman joined forces with fellow NHL.com colleagues Dan Rosen, Corey Masisak, Mike Morreale, Adam Kimelman, Brian Compton, Tal Pinchevsky and Darryl Haberman to participate in this 12-team mock draft. This league has standard Yahoo scoring with 16 players on each roster (192 total draftees).


Islanders' Okposo ready to build off career season

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Jon Lane - 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.

New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo created an identity during his breakout season of 2013-14.

For him to do that, the No. 7 pick of the 2006 NHL Draft first needed a shot of confidence after a disappointing 48-game 2012-13 season when he scored four goals and 24 points.

Halfway through that season, Okposo connected with Darryl Belfry, a skills coach who has worked with Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane and Islanders teammate John Tavares, and found something down the stretch. After scoring 14 points in the season's first three months, Okposo finished with a goal and nine assists in 13 games, including points in four straight. In a six-game loss to the Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Okposo was among team leaders with three goals and four points.

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