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Healthy Chara hoping Bruins can be more consistent

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 3:14 PM / NHL Insider

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he is ready to help them rebound after they failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Chara, 38, was limited to 63 games because of knee and ankle injuries last season. After an informal skate Monday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., he told CSN New England on Monday that he is healthy heading into the season, his 18th.

"I'm feeling better and that's the most important thing," Chara said. "I didn't do any extreme traveling stuff [during the summer]. I stayed with family and focused on recovering from the injuries I had toward the end of the season."

Stars' Nichushkin healthy, focused on playoffs

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 2:20 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Valeri Nichushkin had high expectations for himself and the Dallas Stars last season but missed most of the season because of an injury. Now healthy and ready for training camp, Nichushkin has one goal.

"I just want my team to play good," Nichushkin told the Stars website. "I don't think about my statistics. I just want to win the Stanley Cup. Of course, if I score goals and get points it will help my team. That's only what I want."

Nichushkin played two games in October and two games in November because of pain in his hip and groin. He had surgery Nov. 18 and was out for five months. He returned for four games in April, and finished the season with one assist in eight games.

Blues forward Brouwer focused on being himself

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 12:47 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- After getting traded to the St. Louis Blues on July 2, right wing Troy Brouwer wanted to quickly get acclimated with his new teammates and city.

Acquired from the Washington Capitals with goalie prospect Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft for right wing T.J. Oshie, Brouwer also felt it was best to get his family situated, especially because his wife, Carmen, is due to deliver the couple's second child.

"You don't want to waste any time," Brouwer said Sunday. "You're trying to know people's names, trying to find your way around the city. Aside from having a baby here in the next couple days, we wanted to come in a little early but also wanted to come in and make sure you have that familiarity so that when the season does start there's no problems. You're already in the full swing of things, know everybody's names, know your way around town, and are comfortable first and foremost."

Sabres' Ennis feeling confident after offseason moves

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The past two seasons were excruciatingly long for Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis. But he said when it comes to complete rebuilds, this one could be extremely short.

"It seemed like a really long two years, but in the grand scheme of things it could be pretty quick," Ennis said following a session at Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Perry Pearn's 3-on-3 Hockey Camp here. "It might not be as long as you think, but those 160 games felt like 10 years. But there is still lots to improve on. It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed."

After whirlwind, Wild goalie Dubnyk ready for encore

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:59 PM / NHL Insider

Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk knows that expectations will be high with fans wondering what he'll do for an encore.

"I've thought about it a ton," Dubnyk told the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week. "It would be nice not to have to go 27-9 again there at the end. We have to get going faster, have a more consistent start."

Lundqvist motivated to take 'final step' with Rangers

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:36 PM / NHL Insider

Henrik Lundqvist is determined to lead the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup championship that's eluded them despite three trips to the Eastern Conference Final and one to the Stanley Cup Final in the past four seasons.

"If I look back at the last four years, we've had a lot of great moments, especially in the playoffs," the goaltender told the New York Daily News at The Citi Henrik Lundqvist Hockey ProCamp at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers on Sunday. "You learn from it and you appreciate it, but obviously the main goal is to take that final step."

Panarin, Dano among Blackhawks' top five prospects

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Knowing a salary-cap crunch was coming in the offseason, the Chicago Blackhawks signed several free agent prospects in the spring to add some depth to their system.

They tapped into the international and collegiate markets to bring in young talent, and the end result is a prospect base that's expected to help Chicago move past the departures of Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, Brad Richards and others this summer.

Here is a look at the Blackhawks' top five prospects, according to

Blackhawks face questions about top line, salary cap

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It's been another offseason of change for the Chicago Blackhawks following a Stanley Cup championship.

As was the case in the summer of 2010, the NHL salary cap has forced the Blackhawks to overhaul their roster. Chicago's talent and leadership have been pared through trades and departures in free agency, and more losses could happen before the start of the season.

Here are three questions facing the Blackhawks:

Core veterans, new talent keep Blackhawks optimistic

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks once again will defend their Stanley Cup championship without several of the key players who helped them win it.

It will be the third time they go through this scenario, though the challenge looks even more daunting this season. They've lost a lot of talent and championship experience in their latest effort to negotiate the NHL salary cap. However, recent history alone suggests the Blackhawks have a solid chance to repeat as champions.

Here are four reasons for the Blackhawks to be optimistic:

Blackhawks counting on new players to defend Cup

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

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

CHICAGO -- The more things change with the Chicago Blackhawks, the harder their front office works to attain the same results.

The Blackhawks have proven during the past seven seasons that sustained success is possible in a salary-cap system, but only for teams that continually prepare for offseason roster turnover.

It helps to have a core group of elite players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith to build around, as Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman does in Chicago, but that alone won't win anything. Bowman has built the Blackhawks' past two championship teams after parting with established role players and replacing them with players who have thrived in those supporting roles.

"I think change is good, and I think we've embraced that in the past and been able to bring in some players that now are household names … but at one point they were new," Bowman said. "It's going to be the same thing for some of the new guys that are part of this group next year. They might be new to the fans and media, but as you'll see in time, I think we're really going to fall in love with some of these guys."

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Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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