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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 2015-16 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.

Lightning's Hedman preseason pick for Norris Trophy

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

Injuries sidelined Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman for 23 games last season, ultimately ruining any chance he had to win the 2015 Norris Trophy.

But Hedman showed while leading the Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final that he is unquestionably one of the best defensemen in the world. Hedman averaged 23:57 of ice time per game and had a plus-11 rating in 26 playoff games.

Perhaps Hedman hasn't garnered enough, but his talent and poise were on full display during the playoffs. He's big, he's intelligent and is remarkably skilled.

Teravainen's progress among Blackhawks' X-factors

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

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been down this path twice before, having attempted to defend their 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup championships with a reworked roster the following season.

Neither effort was successful, but they're hopeful the third time is the charm in another effort to hoist the Cup in back-to-back seasons. No team has accomplished the feat since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998, but the Blackhawks go into this season with a fair shot.

Here are three X-factors that will help determine the outcome of that effort:

Backup goalie Markstrom an X-factor for Canucks

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

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER – After an offseason of change the Vancouver Canucks are counting on contributions from young players and new second-line center Brandon Sutter, but their return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs could hinge on how well three returning players fare in new roles.

Here are three X-factors that will impact whether the Canucks remain a playoff team:

Blackhawks confident new faces will yield another run

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

Brian Hedger - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.

CHICAGO -- Space has been created in the rafters at United Center to hang another Stanley Cup championship banner, but the Chicago Blackhawks are already planning their next title run.

They will have new faces filling some key roles after yet another offseason of significant roster reshuffling, but most of the core group that has won the Cup three times in the past six seasons returns.

The coaching staff, again led by Joel Quenneville, also returns intact to lead a group that's expecting an early-season energy boost from some new players.

"The feelings that you get after you win is something that you want to do again and you want to keep repeating," said Corey Crawford, who's been the No. 1 goalie for Chicago's past two championships. "It definitely feels great be a champion, but now it doesn't mean anything anymore. We've got to build towards another one."

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Quote of the Day

[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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