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Features

Former NHL player Wilson coping with ALS

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It was late Oct. 2013 when former NHL player Mitch Wilson began experiencing something unusual in his right arm during a long journey home from Hawaii along the Pacific.

Since retiring from hockey in 1995, Wilson had been enjoying life on the high seas the past 20 years as a tugboat captain.

"For some reason, the ocean was always a calming influence for me; it was therapeutic," he said.

But during that trip, Wilson's arm began to twitch, and his right hand starting cramping and losing strength. He had blood drawn and went through a series of tests but not until he saw a neurologist some five months later did he receive the unsettling news.

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Rangers' Lundqvist ready to roll after Cup Final run

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 11:54 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The long lightning bolt that cracked behind him as he tossed the tennis ball up in the air Thursday night was symbolic of Henrik Lundqvist's return to New York City after a summer in Sweden.

It was electric. It was energetic. So was Lundqvist.

"Going back to Sweden, that's where I recharge," Lundqvist said. "You see family, friends. I had a great summer. It went by pretty fast, but coming back to New York is always a good feeling. You get a break for two months and you start missing the city, your friends here, the team and teammates. It's always a good feeling to come back."

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Lightning lineup anchored by Stamkos, young talent

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The first full season for Jon Cooper as an NHL coach was a huge success.

Despite losing one superstar, Steven Stamkos, for an extended period because of a broken leg, and another, Martin St. Louis, for good after a trade request, the Lightning returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in seven seasons.

An injury to breakout star goaltender Ben Bishop cut Tampa Bay's postseason time short, but general manager Steve Yzerman made a couple of moves to strengthen the defense and the organization's bundle of young talent is beginning to blossom. If Bishop can prove last season was no fluke, Tampa Bay could be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

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

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Lightning's time could be now after eventful offseason

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Despite losing their best player for four months with a broken tibia, trading their captain at the NHL Trade Deadline and dressing nine different rookies, the Tampa Bay Lightning emerged as one of the great surprises of the 2013-14 season.

But the Cinderella story ended abruptly. Goaltender Ben Bishop sustained an arm injury with three games remaining in the regular season and was forced out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Without their No. 1 goalie and with little veteran help, the Lightning were swept in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Montreal Canadiens.

After a busy summer, Tampa Bay is looking to make a deeper push this season.

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Bishop, young core among Lightning's five questions

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Tampa Bay Lightning faced several questions entering the 2013-14 season. And that was before their star, center Steven Stamkos, missed four months with a broken tibia and captain Martin St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers at the NHL Trade Deadline. Despite those challenges, the Lightning kept winning thanks to breakout seasons from players including goaltender Ben Bishop, defenseman Victor Hedman, and rookie forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.

With a number of veterans added this summer through trades and free agency, here are five questions the Lightning must answer in 2014-15:

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Lightning's Killorn focused on continuing to develop

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

In 2013-14, forward Alex Killorn was one of several Tampa Bay Lightning players who found their game and helped the team overcome a tumultuous season to post the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. Entering his third season, Killorn is now tasked with building on that success.

If Killorn, who turns 25 on Sept. 14, improves his possession play and continues to develop, the Lightning could be an even more challenging matchup.

Killorn emerged last season with 17 goals and 41 points in 82 games, and ranked second on the Lightning behind Tyler Johnson with 173 shots.

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Lightning's top 10 prospects led by improving Drouin

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman got his first taste of life in an NHL front office working for the Detroit Red Wings, and saw how their deliberate, patient approach with their prospects resulted in creating strong NHL players.

He's implemented that same philosophy during his tenure with the Lightning, stressing incremental growth until the players are fully developed and ready to step into an NHL lineup.

"It's mostly up to the individual," Yzerman told NHL.com. "Do they have the drive and determination to get better? Whether they're playing junior or college, you still have to get better every year. How do you do that? It's through your work ethic, improving your conditioning, improving your skills, maturing as a person. They all have to do that. The guys who figure it out tend to play."

Here's a look at the Lightning's top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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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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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure