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Sabres hope to begin putting rebuild behind them

Sunday, 09.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent's preview of the 2015-16 season will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres head into the 2015-16 season with a much different look and feel about them compared to the recent past.

Since February, Buffalo has added high-end players in trades, through free agency and at the 2015 NHL Draft, and the fruits of a rebuild that began in earnest in 2013, the Sabres hope, will start to show this season.

After having the worst record in the NHL each of the past two seasons, hopes are high in Buffalo that wins will outnumber losses and the days of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs will come to an end in the near future.

Reinhart, Kane among X-factors for Sabres

Sunday, 09.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres' fortunes this season hinge upon getting a host of new players to work together and help them out of a hole that saw them finish last in the NHL each of the past two seasons.

Here are three X-factors that will impact whether the Sabres can climb out of the basement:

Their other No. 2 pick -- Competition is going to be a big part of Sabres training camp at forward and on defense, but forward Sam Reinhart, who they selected in the first round (No. 2) at the 2014 NHL Draft, has gotten lost in the mix.

The additions of Jack Eichel, the No. 2 pick in 2015, and Ryan O'Reilly, who signed as an unrestricted free agent, have pushed Reinhart out of the spotlight at center. With Zemgus Girgensons returning from an ankle injury that ended his 2014-2015 season, the addition of veteran David Legwand, and the solid play of Johan Larsson last season, Reinhart is in for a big test in training camp.

Ex-NHL stars visit hospital, share hockey memories

Saturday, 09.19.2015 / 9:42 PM / Kraft Hockeyville

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VICTORIA, British Columbia -- The NHL has come to North Saanich, British Columbia, for Kraft Hockeyville this weekend. But not everyone from this small community is able to make it out to see the Stanley Cup on Sunday or the Vancouver Canucks play the San Jose Sharks in a preseason game on Monday.

So the NHL brought the game to some of them instead.

Former players Doug Bodger and Jyrki Lumme spent Saturday afternoon visiting with residents in the extended care units at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. As Bodger and Lumme weaved their way through the packed room autographing hockey cards, the stories began to flow in both directions, with hockey the common theme tying generations and communities together.

Forward Panarin impressing at Blackhawks camp

Saturday, 09.19.2015 / 2:44 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It hasn't taken long for Artemi Panarin to catch the attention of fans and coaches alike in the Chicago Blackhawks' first two days of training camp at the University of Notre Dame.

Playing left wing on a line with highly-touted Finnish center Teuvo Teravainen and fellow Russian forward Viktor Tikhanov, Panarin has shown high-end skill in three scrimmages held at Compton Family Ice Arena.

He scored a goal Saturday during 5-on-5 play that tied the game for his team, set up two goals in 3-on-3 play and has shown great vision thus far. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has noticed.

Penguins' Malkin excited to have Kessel on board

Saturday, 09.19.2015 / 1:55 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin struggled through the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs because of a sprained ankle, a time he didn't deposit in his memory bank.

"I don't remember," Malkin said Saturday. "That was last year. I'm looking to a new season."

Malkin is focused on the upcoming season, when he and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, headline an offense expected to reemerge as one of the NHL's most potent after a disappointing output through last season's final month. Pittsburgh attempted to rectify its offensive issues by adding five-time 30-goal scorer Phil Kessel to its top-six forwards. They also added forwards Eric Fehr and Nick Bonino for depth.

"[Kessel is] a power for us. I think everyone is excited here," Malkin said. "He's a good player. I'm excited to play with him. It doesn't matter which line he plays on. We're still one team. It's great for the team and I hope he's a help to us."

Canadiens' Eller happy with move to wing

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 10:52 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Coaches often say not to read too much into their line combinations, particularly on the first day of training camp. That was not the case at Montreal Canadiens camp Friday.

Ever since the Canadiens announced last week that Alex Galchenyuk would be used at center this season, there's been speculation as to which incumbent center would be moved to the wing to make room.

That question appeared to be answered Friday when Galchenyuk lined up between free agent acquisition Alexander Semin on the right side and former third-line center Lars Eller on the left. Eller has played wing in the past on numerous occasions and was never thrilled about it. But his tune changed Friday.

"I'm excited to play with two very, very skilled players," he said. "I think we can form a really dangerous line. I think we're going to have a lot of fun playing together."

Zidlicky agrees to one-year contract with Islanders

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 8:39 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Defenseman Marek Zidlicky agreed to a one-year contract with the New York Islanders on Friday. No financial terms were disclosed, but Newsday reported the deal is worth $1.5 million.

Zidlicky, 38, had seven goals and 34 points last season with the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings. He had no points in six Stanley Cup Playoff games for Detroit.

Canadian Hockeyville winner nurtured Benn brothers

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 7:24 PM / Kraft Hockeyville

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn led the NHL in scoring last season, but he didn't grow up dreaming about winning the Art Ross Trophy.

As kids, Jamie and his older brother, Stars defenseman Jordie Benn, didn't even dream of playing in the NHL.

For the Benn brothers, the early goal was always to play for the Peninsula Panthers, a tier-3 Junior B team that played in the 400-seat Panorama Recreation Centre Hockey Arena in their hometown of North Saanich, British Columbia, on the southeast tip of Vancouver Island.

Ovechkin eager to help Capitals take next step

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 6:42 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Katie Brown - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored 53 goals last season and he averaged 47.5 goals during his 10 years in the NHL.

Though he turned 30 on Thursday and is entering his 11th season with the Capitals, Ovechkin hasn't lost a step, on or off the ice. He's still as happy about playing NHL hockey as he was 10 years ago.

"He's the same," his regular center, Nicklas Backstrom, said Friday at training camp." He's still got lots of energy; fun guy to be around; scores his goals. It's the same Alex. I wouldn't say anything's different."

McDavid fits right in as Oilers begin camp

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 6:27 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid took the next step in his NHL education Friday during the first day of on-ice sessions at Edmonton Oilers' training camp.

McDavid, the first player taken in the 2015 NHL Draft, centered a line with left wing Taylor Hall and right wing Teddy Purcell in an up-tempo and information-filled session conducted by new coach Todd McLellan. He participated in the Oilers' rookie camp prior to attending the main camp. He played two games, scoring a goal and contributing four assists, but this was his first time skating with potential linemates.

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