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Features

Healthy Krejci eager to lead Bruins back to playoffs

Saturday, 10.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins center David Krejci endured an injury-riddled season after signing a six-year, $43.5 million contract extension last September. The Bruins went 16-13-6 while Krejci missed 20 games with an undisclosed injury and 15 more with a knee injury.

Krejci embarked on a workout regimen this summer to make sure his injury troubles don't come back.

"I've been working out for a long time," Krejci said before the Bruins opened their regular season Thursday, a 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. "I changed my workouts a little bit this year. I've been skating a little bit longer before training camp. So I came into training camp in good shape, feeling good with my body. And so far here the games and practices have been pretty good. It's a big training camp for me and for the team. So far I'm pretty happy how things are going."

Krejci and the Bruins play the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports, NESN).

Capitals D-man Orlov back in NHL after 18 months

Saturday, 10.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- After the Washington Capitals' first preseason game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sept. 21, coach Barry Trotz stopped defenseman Dmitry Orlov as he was leaving the ice.

"He had a big ol' smile when he was coming off the ice against Carolina," Trotz said. "He had a grin from ear to ear. I said, 'Hey, finally back.'"

It was the first NHL game in almost 18 months for Orlov, who missed last season following wrist surgery. He'll play his first regular-season game Saturday when the Capitals host the new Jersey Devils in their season-opener.

Islanders' traditions right at home in Brooklyn

Saturday, 10.10.2015 / 12:06 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The venue might be different and state of the art, but the New York Islanders aren't kidding when they say tradition has a new home.

Everything that once brightened up Nassau Coliseum -- the energetic fans, the lively chants, and, yes, even the goal horn -- made the move to Brooklyn with the Islanders.

That much was obvious Friday when the Islanders played their first regular-season game at Barclays Center, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The people who grew up Islanders fans, in one arena, partying in the parking lot and loving their 43-year-old building like it was an old friend, streamed off the subways and Long Island Rail Road and began treating their new home with the same reverence and respect.

"The atmosphere was great," said Islanders captain John Tavares, who scored the first goal for the home team in its new building 5:22 into the second period. "Our fans were into it, behind us like they always are. Certainly they brought that tradition over from the Coliseum.

"Everything was really similar, as much as it could be."

New-look AHL opens season with West Coast element

Friday, 10.09.2015 / 2:53 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - For NHL.com

For the first time, the American Hockey League's opening night will include California-based franchises when the league's 80th season starts Friday.

First announced in January, the formation of the Pacific Division was a project with many moving parts, and an initiative with multiple outcomes that will benefit the long-term future of hockey in North America. It speaks volumes to the crucial role the AHL plays in professional player development, as well as to the growth and support that the game of hockey has been experiencing on the West Coast.

"The importance of the AHL's new Pacific Division to western-based clubs cannot be overstated," San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "The moves eliminate cross-country travel for players being recalled and re-assigned, and allows our entire hockey staff to monitor and take part in each player's growth and development."

Babcock: Red Wings made right choice with Blashill

Friday, 10.09.2015 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- When Mike Babcock left as coach of the Detroit Red Wings to become coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he felt Jeff Blashill was the right person to replace him.

Now, as Blashill prepares to make his NHL coaching debut with the Red Wings against Babcock's Maple Leafs on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN1), his opinion hasn't changed.

"He's the Detroit Red Wings coach and he should be the Detroit Red Wings coach," Babcock said. "He's done a lot of things to get to where he is. … He's a smart guy, presents well and he has been taught well."

Fantasy Friday: Rookies making noise early on

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Two days are in the books for the NHL and fantasy hockey owners. Despite the small sample size, we've seen plenty of exciting action so far.

Here are the most notable takeaways from a fantasy standpoint.

TOP STARS

Joe Pavelski, Zach Parise and Daniel Sedin are the top fantasy skaters to this point. Pavelski and Sedin each had one goal, two assists, a plus-3 rating and seven shots on goal in their first games on Wednesday. Parise had the seasons first hat trick, scoring three goals on six shots in the Minnesota Wild's opener against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. There's no doubting Pavelski's abilities after what he did last season (37 goals, 70 points), but it's good to see Sedin get off to a good start. As for Parise, he was the 22nd best fantasy player in Yahoo leagues last season and could be primed for another big season.

McDavid impressive if not spectacular in NHL debut

Friday, 10.09.2015 / 12:47 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Good but not great, with flashes of the brilliance that's to come, warning signs of areas that need improvement, and a slow and steady rise in his level of impact.

That description of Connor McDavid's performance in his NHL debut Thursday at Scottrade Center against the St. Louis Blues might not be what people envisioned hearing or reading considering the hype that accompanied the Edmonton Oilers rookie center into the League, but honest evaluation is the first and necessary step for McDavid toward living up to the incredibly high expectations already placed on him.

He may only be cracking the surface of his potential in the NHL, but he at least deserves time to lay his foundation, especially when he's attempting to do it with a target on his back as the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft and arguably the most hyped player to enter the League since Sidney Crosby a decade ago.

"I thought he held his own," Oilers left wing Taylor Hall said following St. Louis' 3-1 win in the season opener for each team. "When you're 18 years old, you're playing against guys sometimes twice your age and not every play, not every game, is going to be easy. Tonight was no different, but I think you saw a lot of pushback from him and that's great to see."

Behind the Numbers: SAT Close solid predictor

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 1:01 PM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - NHL.com Correspondent

Rob Vollman is a pioneer in the field of hockey analytics and the co-author of Hockey Abstract. His innovations include Player Usage Charts on Home Plate Save Percentage. He will contribute a regular column to NHL.com throughout this season.

Seven teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2014 fought their way into them last season, the greatest turnover since 2005.

Typically, an average of five teams work their way into the field of 16 that weren't there the year prior. In 2011, three teams went from out to in.

So, which teams are most likely to get in this season after missing last season?

Unmasked: Third-goalie option a must in NHL today

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 11:39 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

It's popular to rank the 30 goaltending tandems heading into a new NHL season. But the increasing reality is almost all teams need more than two capable goaltenders to make it through a season.

Last season 92 goalies appeared in at least one NHL game, down slightly from 97 in 2013-14, which was the highest total in six seasons. Five teams made it through last season without needing their third-stringer to play at least one game: the Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets. Among the 25 teams that needed to go beyond their opening-day tandem, the goalies further down the depth chart averaged almost nine games played.

Three talented rookies forced way on to Blues roster

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- There was a sense during the summer that the St. Louis Blues would give forward Robby Fabbri a chance to make the opening-night roster out of training camp.

Fabbri, the Blues' first-round pick (No. 21) in the 2014 NHL Draft, left a lasting impression at camp last year before a shoulder injury cut his time short.

However, the rise of defensemen Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, two 22-year-olds, was something the Blues didn't necessarily anticipate but are happy to address.

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