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30 in 30

Lidstrom's return makes Wings a Cup contender

Wednesday, 08.10.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Just as they always do in Detroit, the Red Wings rolled with the punches this summer.

They bid a fond farewell to three prominent figures, but were lucky enough that the most important defenseman in franchise history decided to stick around for at least one more year. General manager Ken Holland then made a couple of shrewd signings -- and, not surprisingly, the Wings are ready to take a run at another Stanley Cup.

That's just how it works in Hockeytown: The Red Wings are always built to contend.

They'll have to do so this season without Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper and Chris Osgood. The veteran trio has a combined 10 Stanley Cup rings, but each player decided to move on to the next stage of their lives. Draper and Osgood accepted positions within the organization.

Stars lose Richards, but enter season deeper

Tuesday, 08.09.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Emily Kaplan - NHL.com Staff Writer

For the first time since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, the Dallas Stars will take the ice without their stud No. 1 center. That would be Brad Richards, who tallied 168 points over the last two seasons, leading all Dallas forwards in ice time per game during that span.

Among active players, Richards ranks seventh in points per game over the last two years (1.11), 20th over his career (0.93) and 13th over his career in the playoffs (0.98).

Yet Richards walked away from Dallas this summer as an unrestricted free agent, becoming the most sought-after prize in a relatively-thin market.  After dozens of suitors pled their cases, Richards inked a lucrative nine-year, $60-million contract with the Rangers.

And with that, a new era began in Dallas.

Re-tooled Blue Jackets eager for more

Monday, 08.08.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

You kind of get the feeling Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson has had enough.

Enough of waiting on first-round draft picks to develop and deliver at a time when fans would prefer a win-now approach. While developing players within the system never is a bad option, the fact the Blue Jackets have qualified for the playoffs once in 10 seasons might indicate that patience is wearing thin.

On the eve of the 2011 Entry Draft, Howson put his stamp of approval on a trade to acquire perennial 30-goal scorer Jeff Carter from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for 2007 first-round pick Jakub Voracek and a pair of 2011 draft picks, including the eighth choice. It was the start of pretty industrious offseason for Howson.

"I think the time has come for us to do something like this to try and bring an immediate impact on our team," Howson told the media following the trade. "Our fans have been very patient. It's been 10 years now and we just had to do something that's going to make us better right now."

Avs hope new additions spark turnaround

Sunday, 08.07.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

After one of the worst stretches in club history overshadowed a sparkling first-half performance, the Colorado Avalanche have exercised all means of change this offseason to help kick-start a new era for the franchise.

From taking highly-touted prospects Gabriel Landeskog and Duncan Siemens with the No. 2 and No. 11 selections in the Entry Draft to acquiring Semyon Varlamov and former Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the 2011 offseason has been the latest step on the Avs' road to restoration that began at the turn of the calendar year.

In January, Colorado was in the thick of a playoff race after a 4-3 overtime win against eventual Presidents' Trophy-winning Vancouver. A few days later, word spread that legendary forward Peter Forsberg would attempt another comeback with the team he led to Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001.

Hawks seek championship contender status again

Saturday, 08.06.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

There were so many familiar faces gone from the Chicago Blackhawks' run to capture the Stanley Cup in 2010 that there was plenty of mystery about the 2010-11 edition.

As the regular season progressed, it was clear the Blackhawks weren't the same consistently excellent team that had won the Cup the previous spring. The hope was just to get into the playoffs and see if some of that Cup-winning experience would have a residual effect. Chicago almost didn't make it -- the Blackhawks needed Dallas to lose on the final day of the season just to back into the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

After dropping the first three games to rival Vancouver in the opening round, the Blackhawks rallied to force a Game 7 and pushed the eventual conference champs to the limit before losing in overtime.

Hurricanes hope roster tweaks help return to playoffs

Friday, 08.05.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Needing one win to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, the Carolina Hurricanes were unable to get it done on home ice in their regular-season finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While that was certainly a disappointment for owner Peter Karmanos Jr., he enters the 2011-12 campaign feeling confident the club can take it one step further following a busy off-season of maneuvering and managerial tinkering.

"I really don't think we're that far away from being a Stanley Cup winner again," Karmanos told Chip Alexander of The News & Observer. "It's not like we don't have any star players or a good supporting cast. We have a great goalie. We have good forwards. We've strengthened our defense."

Flames believe veteran roster ready for playoff push

Thursday, 08.04.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Emily Kaplan - NHL.com Staff Writer

In his first summer as Calgary Flames General Manager, Jay Feaster faced a conundrum.

The Flames have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in back-to-back seasons and Feaster could do one of two things to change his team's outlook for 2011-12 -- unload some of the team's aging but talented assets and rebuild from scratch, or do a little bit of tinkering and hope the veteran core clicks for a push to the postseason.

Feaster chose the latter, and Flames fans are hoping that commitment to the core will pay dividends.

Influx of talent has Sabres hoping to go farther

Wednesday, 08.03.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Greg Picker - NHL.com Staff Writer

One goal was all that stood between the Buffalo Sabres and a berth in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference in 2010-11 earned the Sabres a first-round date with the second-seeded Philadelphia Flyers. In Game 6, with Buffalo holding a 3-2 series lead, the Sabres found themselves in overtime, on the verge of advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2007. Instead, Ville Leino scored for the Flyers to force a Game 7, where they handed Buffalo an early exit from the postseason.

This year's Sabres will be a far different unit than the one that bowed out of the playoffs so cruelly this past spring.

With little turnover, B's remain a Cup favorite

Tuesday, 08.02.2011 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

After 39 years filled with near-misses, the Stanley Cup again belongs to the Boston Bruins.

Younger generations of hockey fans in Boston no longer have to live on stories of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito -- they can tell their own tales about Tim Thomas robbing Steve Downie, Brad Marchand's one-legged leap and the night Tyler Seguin looked like a future superstar.

The Bruins became the first team to win three seven-game series en route to the Cup, with Nathan Horton scoring the series-winning goal against Montreal and Tampa Bay, and then becoming an emotional rallying cry for the team in the Final after Aaron Rome knocked him out of the series with an illegal hit.

NHL.com's 30 in 30 coverage launches Aug. 1

Monday, 08.01.2011 / 12:00 PM / 30 in 30


It may be the dog days of summer, but there is no shortage of hockey coverage on NHL.com during August.

This month, our annual 30 in 30 project -- a look at each team's offseason moves and a first look-ahead to the 2011-12 season -- makes a return engagement.

The coverage starts Monday, Aug. 1, with the Anaheim Ducks and, running alphabetically, finishes Aug. 30 with the Winnipeg Jets. And, yes, NHL.com is aware there are 31 days in the month. We'll have special 30 in 30 content on Aug. 31 to further whet your whistle for the upcoming season.
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