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Features

Panthers prospect Ekblad will be recovered for camp

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 1:09 PM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Slightly more than two weeks after sustaining a concussion that briefly halted an eventful summer, Florida Panthers prospect Aaron Ekblad said he is close to being fully recovered and ready for training camp.

"The concussion is almost perfectly, completely gone. I feel great," Ekblad said Saturday at the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase. "I've been skating all this week and I feel good."

The No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, the defenseman was injured playing for the Canada World Junior team in an exhibition game against the Czech Republic. The 18-year-old said he has been symptom free for five days.

"The work I'm doing is just getting back to normal paces. Getting game ready on the ice and just doing little things off the ice to get back up to what I was doing before," Ekblad said. "[Florida's] team docs wanted to talk to me and see how I was feeling. I kept in touch with them."

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Family ties help prospects acclimate to NHL level

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 11:30 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO – Family is an integral part of hockey success for most NHL hopefuls. For top prospects boasting NHL bloodlines, however, family can provide a few additional benefits, including a slightly greater appreciation for exactly what goes into making the NHL and, ultimately, staying there.

Among the 33 prospects at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase, few could attest to the finer details of life in the NHL quite like Sam Reinhart.

The No. 2 pick, by the Buffalo Sabres, at the 2014 NHL Draft is the son of longtime NHL player Paul Reinhart. Sam's brother, Max, was the Calgary Flames' third-round pick (No. 64) in the 2010 draft and another brother, Griffin, was selected No. 4 by the New York Islanders in 2012.

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Gaudreau, Bennett excited about futures with Flames

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 10:26 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO – Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau followed alternate paths to the NHL. But when the two Calgary Flames prospects report for training camp in September, they'll be the focal point of an organization looking for a return to glory after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past five seasons.

The excitement which can accompany a rebuilding process often serves as motivation for those tasked with making the transformation happen.

"I definitely feel that all the time. There are younger guys in the organization that I think are going to help the organization become better," Gaudreau said at the NHLPA's annual Rookie Showcase. "It's exciting to be a part of that since you're a young guy and around a whole bunch of other younger guys."

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Replacing Iginla tops Bruins' five questions

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

They don't give players a summer day with the Presidents' Trophy.

There are no parades associated with the award given to the team with the best regular-season record in the NHL.

No, those privileges only come with the Stanley Cup, a fact the Boston Bruins know all too well after they followed a 117-point regular season with a seven-game loss in the Eastern Conference Second Round to the Montreal Canadiens.

Boston is going to have to find a way to improve in 2014-15. However, even after losing top goal-scorer Jarome Iginla to the Colorado Avalanche as an unrestricted free agent, the Bruins didn't have enough salary-cap space to make changes to their roster.

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Bruins sorely need bounce-back year from Eriksson

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson, who was traded from the Dallas Stars on July 4, 2013, had a lot to adjust to last season.

After seven seasons in Dallas, he had to move to a new city and learn a new system.

Then the left-shooting wing had to live up to expectations. He was the centerpiece of Boston's package that was acquired in exchange for rising star center Tyler Seguin, who wound up fourth in the NHL scoring race with 84 points.

Eriksson, two seasons removed from a 71-point season with the Stars, came up well short in his bid to make people forget about Seguin.

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Bruins not panicking after early ouster from playoffs

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

The Boston Bruins failed to defend their Eastern Conference title last season, when they lost a seven-game series in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Their early ouster was doubly painful because they had won the Presidents' Trophy to earn home-ice advantage for the entire postseason, and because the team that prevailed in that seventh game was the archrival Montreal Canadiens.

In some outposts of the NHL, a loss like the one that ended the Bruins' season well short of their ultimate goal would be cause for reconstructing a roster. However, that's not how Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli operates.

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Bruins lineup still highlighted by Bergeron, Chara

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

By the end of the 2013-14 regular season, the Boston Bruins had emerged as the clear favorite in the Eastern Conference, and a path to making their third Stanley Cup Final in four years seemed clear.

It did not turn out that way because a long-time nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens, upset the Bruins in dramatic fashion in the second round. Boston did not have a lot of salary-cap flexibility this summer, and it showed.

Jarome Iginla left for the Colorado Avalanche, and his offense will be missed. Shawn Thornton left for the Florida Panthers, but breaking up the popular "Merlot Line" will be a positive for the Bruins moving forward.

Otherwise, it is more of the same for the Bruins. Time is catching up to a few guys, and Boston needs young players to emerge in larger roles this season. The Bruins are probably still the best team in the East, but the gap is not likely to be as wide.

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

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Spooner, goalies among Bruins' top 10 prospects

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

If there's one area on the ice where the Boston Bruins seemingly have cornered the market, it's goaltending.

It wasn't done by accident, either, as the organization had to move quickly when Tim Thomas decided to leave Boston after the 2011-12 season. By that time, though, the Bruins had Tuukka Rask in the fold and another prospect on the horizon in 2012 free-agent signee Niklas Svedberg.

Rask won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender in 2013-14 and Svedberg is projected to become his full-time backup in 2014-15 following the departure in free agency of Chad Johnson.

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Top prospects revel in opportunities at showcase

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 8:11 PM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO – Many of the NHL's top young prospects earned a fun break from a summer spent focusing primarily on preparation for NHL training camps when they attended the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase. The two-day event, staged during one of the final weekends before training camps begin, hosted 33 NHL hopefuls and featured a healthy combination of work and play.

In its sixth iteration, the event allowed attendees the opportunity to participate in a series of functions, most of them organized by Upper Deck, the official trading card company of the NHL. On Friday, the majority of the time was spent signing merchandise and posing for photographs, as well as enjoying a preview of EA Sports NHL 15 video game.

"It's a pretty exciting experience this weekend," Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi said. "It's going to be cool to spend some time with the guys."

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Tribute for Demitra makes emotional stop in Trencin

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 7:01 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The traveling tribute to Pavol Demitra made an emotional Friday night in Trencin, Slovakia, which is the birthplace of Demitra.

A group of St. Louis Blues alumni and a group of Slovakian hockey stars have been staging a series of games to honor Demitra, who died nearly three years ago after he and 43 other passengers died in a plane crash in Yaroslavl, Russia.

Demitra played for the Blues from 1996 to 2004. He also played for the Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks during his NHL career.

Friday, the series settled in Trencin, the birthplace of Demitra and several other high-profile NHL stars. Demitra’s father, also named Pavol, was on hand for the game and visited the players before the game and also dropped the ceremonial first puck.

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Quote of the Day

I was surprised. I knew I got it. It's tough. You never know how hard it is until it registers on the gun. I got pretty much all I could into and you just hope for the best.

— Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber after winning the AMP NHL Hardest Shot event at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition