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Features

McDavid ready to 'get this crazy year started'

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 6:09 PM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Erie Otters center Connor McDavid got a taste of what it will be like to be a big star.

McDavid joined Otters general manager Sherry Bassin and coach Kris Knoblauch here Thursday for the announcement of an Ontario Hockey League game between Erie and the Niagara Ice Dogs at First Niagara Center on Oct. 22.

That's just one game in a NHL arena, but it's all part of what's to come for the 17-year-old.

"It's going to obviously be pretty different," McDavid said. "It's starting to be pretty crazy. I'm just really excited to be there and get going and get this crazy year started."

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Rangers agree to terms with forward Kristo

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 1:01 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Forward Danny Kristo agreed to terms with the New York Rangers on a contract Thursday, the team announced. Length and financial terms were not disclosed.

Kristo, 24, comes off his first full American Hockey League season, when he led the Hartford Wolf Pack with 25 goals and had 43 points.

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Canadiens return successful lineup mostly intact

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Montreal Canadiens lost for the fourth time in five games March 12, then watched the Toronto Maple Leafs win the following night (against the Los Angeles Kings, no less) to push three points in front of their rivals from Quebec for second place in the Atlantic Division.

What came next was remarkable: Montreal gained 16 points on Toronto in 16 days, leaving the Maple Leafs in its wake. The Canadiens won eight of nine in that stretch to effectively secure a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the Maple Leafs lost eight in a row in one of the craziest and swiftest collapses in recent NHL history.

The Canadiens finished the season on a strong note, upsetting the archrival Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Second Round before a Carey Price injury left Montreal short against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. Montreal lost high-profile NHL Trade Deadline addition Thomas Vanek to free agency, but added Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau in a deft trade and friend of the analytics community Tom Gilbert to possibly help shore up that department on the blue line.

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Canadiens' five questions revolve around new captain

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

In each of the two seasons since Marc Bergevin took over as general manager and Michel Therrien as coach of the Montreal Canadiens, they have made a significant leap forward.

Two years ago, the Canadiens went from last place in the Eastern Conference to winning their division before bowing out in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last season, the Canadiens finished third in the Atlantic Division, but reached the Eastern Conference Final before being knocked out in six games by the New York Rangers.

The next step will be a difficult one for the Canadiens, but the answers to these five questions may determine whether they are ready for it.

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Near miss leads to greater expectations for Canadiens

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Montreal Canadiens entered the 2013-14 season coming off an impressive turnaround, jumping from last place in the Eastern Conference to the second seed in the East in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Canadiens were eliminated in five games in the first round of the 2013 playoffs by the Ottawa Senators, so general manager Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien both attempted to temper expectations for their team in Montreal, a city hungry for a Stanley Cup contender.

Bergevin and Therrien each constantly repeated last season that the goal for the Canadiens was simply to qualify for the playoffs and see where that led them.

It led them farther than the Canadiens have been since their last Stanley Cup in 1993, coming two wins shy of reaching the Final in losing in six games to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.

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Canadiens' Galchenyuk poised for breakout season

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Montreal Canadiens went through one of the worst seasons in franchise history in 2011-12, but the reward was the chance to select Alex Galchenyuk with the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, who was hired seven weeks prior to that draft, never had any doubts about Galchenyuk's potential to become an impact player in the League despite a torn anterior cruciate ligament that cost him all but eight games with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League in his draft year.

"It was the look in his eyes," Bergevin said the night of the 2012 draft. "Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player."

This might be the season Galchenyuk becomes not only a hockey player, but a star hockey player.

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2013 draft class leads Canadiens' top 10 prospects

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

There may come a time when the Montreal Canadiens will look back on the 2013 NHL Draft with great pride, knowing the organization hit the jackpot.

Five of the eight players picked that weekend are considered high-end prospects expected to have an impact with the big club in very short order. Canadiens director of player development Martin Lapointe singled out two players from that 2013 draft class that made quite an impression during the team's recent development camp, forwards Jacob De La Rose and Michael McCarron.

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Over the Boards: Bruins believe in Ferguson's ability

Wednesday, 08.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

John Ferguson Jr.'s major miscalculation eight years ago as the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs has served to stabilize the Boston Bruins goaltending for what should be years to come. Now that Ferguson has joined the Bruins as executive director of player personnel, he finally can cash in on the ability of the best player he drafted in his nearly five years in Toronto.

Yes, we're talking about the trade of Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft from June 24, 2006. Maple Leafs fans can proceed with caution through the next several paragraphs.

Ferguson thought he was doing the right thing when he traded Rask to the Bruins for Raycroft. He thought Justin Pogge was the future No. 1 goalie in Toronto, meaning Rask, the No. 21 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, was expendable, especially if the return was Raycroft, a goalie who was supposed to be entering his prime.

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Red Wings counting on 'kids' to maintain playoff run

Wednesday, 08.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Detroit Red Wings used to rely solely on their veteran stars to guide them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and to sometimes take them on a deep run. They also used to play in the Western Conference. Those are memories now.

Change came to Hockeytown last season, when the Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference and made the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive season on the backs of young players coach Mike Babcock still calls "kids."

They struggled in the playoffs and Detroit was knocked out quickly, losing in five games to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference First Round, but for the development of the team, how the Red Wings got there was as important as getting there.

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Healthy Zetterberg, Datsyuk keys to Red Wings lineup

Wednesday, 08.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Detroit Red Wings' move to the Eastern Conference was expected to be met with domination by a franchise that has been a stalwart among the elite in the Western Conference for years.

Detroit pushed the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks to the limit in 2013, and the reloaded Red Wings, complete with the additions of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss and a few younger players who played so well in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, were expected to challenge for the top spot in the conference.

It didn't go that way, in part because of an avalanche of injuries to key players. The Red Wings kept their incredible postseason streak (23 seasons) alive, but lost in the first round to the Boston Bruins.

General manager Ken Holland has been trying to upgrade the defense corps through free agency for three years but hasn't been able to. The forward group looks deep and talented, as several prospects have proven they can play at this level in the past two seasons.

Whether Detroit can be more than a fringe playoff team could depend on better health and possibly an addition on defense at some point during the season.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Red Wings:

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Quote of the Day

When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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