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30 in 30

Devils set to begin life without Parise

Wednesday, 08.01.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New Jersey Devils have certainly had a busy offseason after giving their fans plenty to cheer about during the 2011-12 regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

First and foremost, captain Zach Parise departed for a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 4. While the departure of one of the most respected players in team history was a tough pill to swallow, Devils coach Peter DeBoer is confident his team will persevere.

"We have to," DeBoer said. "I think the thing we've shown last year and even in prior years here is this program is bigger than individual people, and we found a way over the years to fill holes."

Jets look to make the playoffs in return to Winnipeg

Tuesday, 08.30.2011 / 2:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

While the newly-minted Winnipeg Jets haven't made a lot of personnel changes, this has been an incredibly busy summer in Manitoba.

The Jets are back in the NHL after a 15-year hiatus, and there has been plenty of work to be done in order for the organization to be ready since True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd. agreed to a deal to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers on May 31 with the plan of moving the club to Winnipeg.

"We've hit the ground running here. Everything is happening is so fast," coach Claude Noel said. "Normally [this] is the offseason but for us it felt like being in season with trying to get things started. You just try to use everyday to try and continue to build and be ready for this. [Fans] are pretty passionate up here. They've been out of the National League for 15 years, and I think it is going to be quite the frenzy up here."

Loaded Capitals again search for elusive Cup

Monday, 08.29.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For the first time since Bruce Boudreau became the coach of the Washington Capitals, the team dispatched a lower seed in the postseason with relative ease in April.


Record: 48-23-11, 107 points, first in East

Bruce Boudreau (5th season)

Interesting fact: Captain Alex Ovechkin enters the season as the Capitals franchise leader in points per game (1.29) and goals per game (0.63).
The Capitals defeated the New York Rangers in five games -- the first series to not need the full seven in Boudreau's tenure -- and Washington was looking like the Stanley Cup contender it is supposed to be.

Then the season unraveled in less than a week. Washington was swept out of the playoffs by Tampa Bay in the second round, dropping a game in overtime because of a horrific line change and then contests on back-to-back days at St. Pete Times Forum for a swift and sudden demise.

General manager George McPhee had another fantastic offseason, and once again the Capitals are expected to challenge for the Stanley Cup. First, they need to have a smoother regular season than last year, which included a long losing streak and several critical injuries. Then they have to prove they can advance past the second round for the first time since surprisingly reaching the Cup final in 1998.

Game 7 loss in Final should motivate Canucks

Sunday, 08.28.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

How does a team get over the heartache of losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in its own building?


Record: 54-19-9, 117 points, first in West

Alain Vigneault (6th season)

Interesting fact: The Canucks trio of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler combined for 271 points last season -- the most for any three teammates in 2010-11. The next-highest scoring threesome? Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks combined for 246 points.
It plans and trains for the next season. There is no other way.

The hurt may not have totally worn off yet, but maybe that's the motivator the Canucks need heading into the 2011-12 season, which by all accounts should be another memorable one for this now 41-year-old franchise.

The big guns are all back in blue and white, and odds are they're hungrier than ever because they now know what it's like to play and lose with the Stanley Cup in the building. Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler and Co. have vivid memories of another team celebrating on their own ice, so they can probably imagine what it's like to play and win with the Cup in the building.

The Canucks know it won't be easy. Their path is already littered with obstacles.

Leafs hope signings, young talent equal playoffs

Saturday, 08.27.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a push for the prize of this summer's free-agent frenzy, Brad Richards, but came up short. Even with that setback, the Leafs had a very successful offseason.

They picked up a pair of skilled forwards in Tim Connolly and Matthew Lombardi and made a deal with the Colorado Avalanche to acquire defenseman John-Michael Liles in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. Those additions without too many key subtractions could put the Leafs in the postseason for the first time since 2004.

Lightning look to build off already great strides

Friday, 08.26.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Tampa Bay Lightning will certainly have their work cut out for them as they prepare to improve upon the second-best season in franchise history.

Not only did the team qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons, but it advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004 -- suffering an excruciating 1-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in a Game 7 thriller.

In his inaugural season as general manager in Tampa Bay, Steve Yzerman proved to be worth every penny for new owner Jeff Vinik. From his decision to hire coach Guy Boucher prior to the season, to the trade he negotiated with the New York Islanders for goalie Dwayne Roloson on New Year's Day, Yzerman seemed to push all the right buttons. While he was thrilled to be among the final four teams battling for the Stanley Cup in 2010-11, there's little doubt his club will have a larger bulls-eye on its back entering the 2011-12 campaign.

Blues have pieces in place to make playoff run

Thursday, 08.25.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

After Davis Payne took over as coach of the St. Louis Blues midway through the 2008-09 season, the team experienced an impressive late-season renaissance that pushed it into the postseason for the first time in four seasons. With an unlikely playoff berth to build on, the Blues appeared to be back on the right track, but in two seasons since then the high expectations haven't materialized. The Blues have missed the postseason each of the last two springs and the 2010-11 campaign, in which they went 38-33-11, left them a full 10 points back of Chicago for the Western Conference's final berth.


Record: 38-33-11, 87 points, 11th in West

Davis Payne (3rd season)

Interesting fact: The Blues sold out all 41 home games last season at the Scottrade Center.
That type of result had to be disappointing for a team that had loads of young potential and had acquired Jaroslav Halak from Montreal last summer to man the crease after his impressive postseason run with the Habs. A closer look, however, notes that St. Louis may very well have been victim to some bad luck in 2010-11. Three large parts of the Blues' offense, David Perron, Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie, all missed significant time due to injury, with Perron and McDonald suffering concussions and Oshie going down with a fractured ankle. The Blues certainly could have used Perron, who scored five goals in 10 games before missing the rest of the season, or McDonald who had 50 points in 58 games before going down.

Shaken-up Sharks look for that elusive Cup

Wednesday, 08.24.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Back-to-back trips to the conference finals would likely convince most general managers they only need a tweak or two to win the Stanley Cup. For San Jose's Doug Wilson, it was a sign that a major shakeup was necessary if the Sharks were to win the title that has eluded them in the franchise's first 20 years in the NHL.

Wilson shook up his team with a pair of significant deals, both with the Minnesota Wild. On draft night, he dealt young forward Devin Setoguchi -- a player he had signed to a three-year contract one day earlier -- along with 2010 first-round pick Charlie Coyle and his 2011 first-round choice for defenseman Brent Burns. Less than two weeks later, he sent two-time 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley to the Wild for forward Martin Havlat.

That’s a pretty major shakeup for a team that has owned the Pacific Division for the past four seasons and hasn't finished with less than 99 points since 2002-03, the last time San Jose missed the playoffs.

Wilson feels the deals should help provide better balance up front, where the big line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Heatley was often counted on to carry too much of the offensive load. Havlat also provides speed for a club that needed some. Burns, who signed a five-year contract, should join Dan Boyle to give the Sharks more offense from the blue line, where San Jose felt the effects of Rob Blake's retirement in the summer of 2010.

Pens ready to cash in on Crosby, Malkin returns

Tuesday, 08.23.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ray Shero knew he didn't have to open his checkbook to sign a big-money free agent this summer. Pittsburgh's general manager wasn't going to find anyone on the market better than the two players he already knew were working toward a return to the Penguins' lineup: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

The Penguins played without both of their $8.7 million centers for the final 29 games last season and all of the playoffs. Crosby missed the final 41 games with a concussion and Malkin tore up his right knee on Feb. 4, putting him on the shelf for the remainder of the season as well.

Pittsburgh became more of a defense-oriented team and managed to finish second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference with 49 wins and 106 points. Dan Bylsma rightfully won the Jack Adams Award for skillfully guiding his depleted team to the finish line and now he believes his team is better for not having Crosby and Malkin at the season.

Coyotes' success hinges on new goaltending duo

Monday, 08.22.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Despite the turmoil surrounding their arena and ownership, the Phoenix Coyotes managed another strong season under coach Dave Tippett.

The team did not appear in the top 10 in any major League categories and featured just a single player among the League's top 50 scorers -- Shane Doan ranked 49th with 60 points -- but the Coyotes still posted an impressive 99 points. That showing was enough to earn them the Western Conference's sixth seed for the postseason, which didn't do them any good when the Detroit Red Wings swept them out of the playoffs in the first round.

While the Coyotes sent Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto to Columbus for Rostislav Klesla and Dane Byers at the trade deadline, the running subtext surrounding Phoenix's roster mostly involved the man in their crease. Franchise goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov posted another strong season in net for the Coyotes, finishing in the League's top 10 in wins, shutouts, and time on ice. But as their offseason began, and it became increasingly evident that Bryzgalov would not be re-signing with the team, the Coyotes quickly sent the franchise goaltender's negotiating rights to Philadelphia for future considerations and a third-round pick in 2012. 
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