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Features

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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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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Quote of the Day

The fans love it, and it looked like they were having fun. It was great to see this city [Columbus]. They had been waiting a couple years for this game. They did it right.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday