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Alfredsson ready to learn ropes as Senators executive

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Daniel Alfredsson looked down from the stands at the Ottawa Senators players skating furiously during fitness testing at their practice rink early Friday morning.

It was one of the first things he did on his first day as the Senators' senior adviser to hockey operations as he embarked on his new career as an NHL executive under general manager Bryan Murray.

"I watched the skating test this morning and there's a lot less anxiety when you're upstairs than when you're on the ice," Alfredsson said Friday afternoon.

"We just came from a meeting downstairs, Bryan addressed all the players before camp really starts, and you're looking at the room and you see all the players here with big eyes, excited and nervous.

"I've got that feeling again in my body. I can really relate to that."

Sabres test linemates for Eichel in camp scrimmage

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 4:00 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The first day on the ice for Buffalo Sabres rookie forward Jack Eichel at training camp saw him find out who he may be skating with this season.

Eichel was put on a line with Matt Moulson and 2015 all-star Zemgus Girgensons for the first practice and scrimmage.

"It went really well. I think the coaching staff has been harping on speed and we're going to play fast," Eichel said. "If you saw that practice, I think that's pretty evident. We're getting up and down the ice a lot. I know it's tough on us for the first day, but in the long run I think it'll pay off. I know we'll be in good shape."

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma put Eichel with Moulson based on their instant chemistry. Moulson invited Eichel, the second pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, to live with him and his family this season as the 18-year-old adapts to life in the NHL.

Islanders motivated by lingering pain of Game 7 loss

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 3:24 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders were one goal away last season from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1993.

But they fell short in their bid, losing Game 7 against the Washington Capitals in their Eastern Conference First Round series. The pain is still evident, but the Islanders opened training camp on Friday with optimism and the hope this will be the season when they finally get over the hump.

"I don't think you'll ever get over it," captain John Tavares said. "It was really hard watching the rest of the playoffs and thinking about what could have been, and certainly an opportunity that we missed. Certainly it's a motivating factor and I think it helps you appreciate how hard it is. As good of a regular season we had, we were a point away from having that Game 7 on our home ice.

"It shows each and every day how important and crucial it is, and you really respect and understand what it takes just to even get where we got last year and how much harder it's going to be going forward."

Kreider can be 'elite player' for Rangers: Vigneault

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 2:57 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has one thought when he looks at forward Chris Kreider.

"I believe he can be an elite player in this league," Vigneault said. "He's got everything to become a dominant power forward in this league.

"It's his time to shine now."

Kreider isn't alone. There are at least three other forwards like him in New York, three other forwards that the Rangers need to be impact players in order to be a Stanley Cup contender again this season.

Trump offered chance to learn how to run AHL team

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 2:19 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - Staff Writer

If coaching isn't good enough for Donald Trump, maybe learning how to run a hockey team is.

The Syracuse Crunch, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, issued a challenge to Trump to coach their team in a video posted on their YouTube page Wednesday (watch here).

"You running for president is like me, a Brooklyn boy, being a professional hockey coach," Crunch chief financial officer Vance Lederman said in the video. "So Donald, here is what I'm going to do: I got an invite for you. You're a big man, you want to be for all the people. I invite you to come to Syracuse to learn how to be a professional hockey coach."

Trump, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2016, might be too busy. So when he didn't respond to the coaching offer, Lederman altered his offer and now would like to show Trump how running a hockey team is different than running most businesses.

Soderberg, Niskanen lead Cubeta's fantasy sleepers

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

Top-tier players at each position are needed to compete for a fantasy title, but late-round, under-the-radar options with upside, known as sleepers, can pay large dividends.

Fantasy sleepers are found late in drafts with a chance to outperform expectations, but this concept needs to be distinguished from breakout, draft bargain, and bounce-back candidates. Breakouts (i.e. Jakub Voracek, Vladimir Tarasenko in 2014-15) usually are obtained in the 90 range, or a little later in drafts, but can reach superstar production after showing signs of promise in the past. Draft bargains (Blake Wheeler, Radim Vrbata, Scott Hartnell in 2014-15) have pedigree but are overlooked. Bounce-backs, whether injury (Pekka Rinne, Kris Letang in 2014-15) or performance (Rick Nash, Braden Holtby in 2014-15), have a track record of fantasy relevance that comes with a factor that hindered their ceiling the previous season.

Monahan's meteoric rise mirrors improving Flames

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Sean Monahan doesn't look at the size of the mountain before him; he looks for the quickest path to the top.

So it is no wonder the 20-year-old Calgary Flames center doesn't spend too much time talking about their meteoric rise to prominence last season, but instead concentrates on how he and the Flames can take things to the next level.

"Our expectations for sure will be higher," said Monahan, whose 62 points (31 goals) were third on the Flames. "Our goal is to stay focused as a team. We believe in each other and we believe we can not only make the playoffs again, but we can be better."

Maple Leafs' van Riemsdyk embracing enhanced role

Friday, 09.18.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs made sweeping changes over the summer, but it was not entirely a case of out with the old and in with the new.

The new-look Maple Leafs will turn to a holdover, forward James van Riemsdyk, to provide some of the offense following the departure of Phil Kessel. Kessel, who led the Maple Leafs in scoring the past six seasons, was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and van Riemsdyk is one of a handful of players expected to help pick up the slack.

It is a situation the 26-year-old Middletown, N.J., native welcomes.

"That's what you want as a player, the pressure to perform and be one of the go-to guys," van Riemsdyk said. "When the team needs a big play you want to be the guy they look to. It's an exciting situation."

Coach stays behind as Canucks open camp

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 7:57 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For the newest members of the Vancouver Canucks, the first days of training camp should be their first chance to make a strong first impression on their new coach. The problem is that coach Willie Desjardins won't actually be at camp.

While the rest of the team packed for the 75-minute flight north to Prince George, British Columbia, after physical testing and meeting the media Thursday, the second-year coach was forced to stay behind in Vancouver after having hip replacement surgery on Sept. 8.

Desjardins felt good enough to talk to the media, using a cane with an arm support for his right side to make his way in and out of a makeshift media room at Rogers Arena. However, he wasn't able to convince the medical staff he was ready to fly to the three-day training camp.

"I wanted to go," the 58-year-old said. "The doctors wouldn't let me go."

New energy as Devils start first camp post-Lamoriello

Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 5:26 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Travis Zajac showed up for the first day of his 10th training camp with the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and had a feeling he never had before.

"It's almost like getting traded," Zajac said. "There's a new [general manager], new coach, new faces. It's a fresh start for me to go out and prove that I'm still capable of being a top player."

Everything around the Devils on Thursday felt a bit off, odd and different to the players who have been in the organization prior to this season. It's obvious as to why. There is a significant presence missing at Prudential Center.

Lou Lamoriello, the architect of the Devils for 28 years as general manager and president, was going through the first day of his first training camp as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs while his former players were starting to experience life without Lou for the first time.

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