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(Page 11 of 22)
30 in 30

Rangers' lineup changes go beyond Nash

Friday, 08.10.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New York Rangers were two wins from returning to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 18 years. They enter the 2012-13 season a three-game losing streak while dealing with thoughts of what might have been.

The New Jersey Devils, their rivals from across the Hudson River, ended the Rangers' hopes of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Manhattan. A big reason was the amount of energy the Rangers had to expend to expunge the eighth- and seventh-seeded teams in the Eastern Conference in the first two rounds.

Addition of Nash new dimension for Rangers

Friday, 08.10.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Rick Nash is the most important addition to the New York Rangers and arguably the best player to change teams this offseason, with no disrespect to Zach Parise or Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild.

The Rangers petered out during the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the New Jersey Devils in six games. One reason for them clearly running out of gas was the fact their first- and second-round series went seven games, when an offense that was slightly above average during the regular season (11th, 2.71 goals per game) became a hindrance in the postseason (2.15 GPG).

Rangers' questions involve new lines, more pressure

Friday, 08.10.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

For a team coming off a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, the New York Rangers have some big questions hanging over them after a very fluid offseason.

The Rangers lost some of their depth but added 40-goal scorer Rick Nash. Of their 12 regular forwards from last season, five are gone. The blue line will remain almost completely intact, something that is key for a club built on defense.

Can the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final this season for the first time since 1994? These six questions will go a long way toward answering that one.

Kreider could add offensive element to Rangers

Friday, 08.10.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Chris Kreider
Left Wing - NYR
Goals: 5 | Assists: 2 | Pts: 7
Shots: 29 | +/-: -4

During Chris Kreider's postseason run that made him a household name in the five boroughs, the 21-year-old was asked if he had given any thought about where he would live in New York next season.

Some New York Rangers players choose to live in Manhattan, but some enjoy the quiet solitude of Westchester County, which is where the team's practice facility is located.

Kreider, without missing a beat, answered the question honestly and properly.

Miller, Thomas top list of Rangers prospects

Friday, 08.10.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

J.T. Miller had 25 goals and 62 points in 61 games of his first season with the OHL's Plymouth Whalers. (Photo: Getty Images)

When the New York Rangers were sitting atop the NHL standings in February, it was clear they were a team that could contend for a Stanley Cup. Sure, the Rangers could've used some more offense, but they wouldn't acquire it at the expense of their elite prospects.

Instead of including Chris Kreider in a deal for Rick Nash, general manager Glen Sather refused to part with him. The Rangers fell short of the Cup when they lost in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kreider's five goals in 18 postseason games showed why the Rangers were so high on the 19th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.

Do the Rangers have another player in their system that can make an impact this season the way Kreider and Carl Hagelin did last season? With Marian Gaborik missing the start of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery, there could be an opening.

Sutter, Vokoun additions give Pens' lineup new look

Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Evgeni Malkin became the League's MVP, and linemate James Neal also earned First Team All-Star honors. Sidney Crosby came back from injury (twice), and piled up points.

Once Crosby returned, the Pittsburgh Penguins were whole again. They also racked up goals like a juggernaut, and became a near-consensus favorite to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons. As the regular season ended, their work at the defensive end of the rink eroded and the Philadelphia Flyers exposed Pittsburgh in a wild first-round series.

General manager Ray Shero broke up Pittsburgh's "Big Three" this offseason, trading Jordan Staal to Carolina, but netting a solid No. 3 center in Brandon Sutter and two nice defense prospects in return. Zbynek Michalek was also traded to clear salary cap space. Shero also took a home run cut at free agency, trying to lure Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to Western Pennsylvania before they ended up in Minnesota.

Penguins have restocked prospect talent pipeline

Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

After winning the Stanley Cup with a core of homegrown players, the Pittsburgh Penguins' prospect pipeline was left a little thin by trades, picking lower in the draft and some selections not reaching their potential.

While the 2004 of 2005 drafts brought Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski and Tyler Kennedy, the only NHL regular Pittsburgh has drafted since 2006 is Jordan Staal, who was traded this summer to Carolina. General manager Ray Shero and his staff have been replenishing the system, particularly with blue-chip blue line prospects, and after early positive reviews on the 2011 and 2012 draft classes and the Staal trade, the Penguins' pipeline is flush again.

Shero's group has clearly focused on defense, and Pittsburgh might have the deepest collection of potential impact defensemen in the League. The depth up front and in goal isn't nearly as strong, and a couple of the organization's top forward prospects have dealt with injury problems. Those aren't exactly pressing areas of need though with guys like Crosby, Malkin, James Neal and Marc-Andre Fleury still on the front nine of their careers.

Here's a look at Pittsburgh's top 10 prospects:

Pens count on Sutter to fill Jordan Staal's role

Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of the NHL's elite teams for the last few years in large part because of talent and depth few, in any, other teams could match.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal were the backbone of back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final and a championship in 2009. That depth allowed the Penguins to remain among the League's top clubs even when one of the "Big Three" went missing with an injury.

After his best season in 2011-12, Staal felt he was ready to handle more responsibility -- but wasn't optimistic that he'd find it in the long term in Pittsburgh. He will get that chance after being traded to Carolina on the first day of the 2012 NHL Draft.

For the Penguins to give up such a valuable player and remain among the top contenders for the Stanley Cup, general manager Ray Shero wanted some immediate help as part of the return. Not only did the Hurricanes have Staal's brother, Eric, they also had the perfect asset to begin a trade package -- center Brandon Sutter.

Full-strength Penguins out to erase playoff failure

Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

From superlative to stunned in about 156 minutes -- that was the story of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After nearly two full seasons of playing without at least one of their stars because of injury, the Penguins were at full strength and considered one of the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup Final. In what would become a theme throughout their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Penguins charged to a lead in Game 1, up 3-0 at the first intermission.

Then it all fell apart.

Pittsburgh's goal prevention had been suspect in the final weeks of the season, but the swiftness of the Penguins' collapse was incredible. The Flyers rallied for a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1, then crushed the Penguins, 8-5 and 8-4, in the next two contests before eventually finishing off a defense-optional series in six games.

Questions about Fleury, defense surround Penguins

Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For much of the 2011-12 season, there was one question that dominated the discussion about the Pittsburgh Penguins: When will Sidney Crosby return?

Evgeni Malkin won League MVP honors, and James Neal was a revelation as his sidekick, but Crosby's health was an ongoing saga. His first return from an injury presumed to be a concussion was mythical, but soon after he was back on the sidelines.

The diagnosis of his injury came into question, and it seemed every accurate story about his rehabilitation process was flanked by nearly as many that weren't. The Penguins pressed on, and when Crosby returned a second time, everything seemed to fall into place for another run at the Stanley Cup.

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