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30 in 30

New-look Penguins ready to start in new home

Wednesday, 08.25.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

Just when you thought they were out, they pulled themselves back in.

For the past few seasons, that sentiment has represented the story of the Pittsburgh Penguins

After watching the Detroit Red Wings celebrate with the Stanley Cup at Mellon Arena in 2008 (the "they were out" part), the Penguins responded the following season in the grandest of fashions, by engaging in a similar celebration after defeating that very team at Joe Louis Arena (the "they pulled themselves back in" part).

But last season, the defending champs -- picked by many to repeat in the chase for the Cup, especially when the Eastern Conference seemingly was there for the taking after Washington's first-round elimination -- were ousted in what turned out to be the final game at Mellon Arena when the No. 8-seeded Montreal Canadiens defeated Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the conference semifinals.

A brief history: Philadelphia Flyers

Monday, 08.23.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Michael Stainkamp - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Philadelphia Flyers joined the NHL in 1967 as part of the first wave of expansion beyond the Original Six. The Flyers won their home debut in front of 7,812 fans, shutting out their in-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 19, 1967. In their first season, the Flyers won their division but were upset by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs.

The Flyers saw some success over the next few years, but it wasn't until the mid-1970s that they made their mark on the NHL. The team got the nickname the "Broad Street Bullies" after a win over the Atlanta Flames in which brawls broke out numerous times throughout the game. Two writers are credited with coining the nickname: Jack Chevalier and Pete Cafone of the Philadelphia Bulletin.

Flyers aim to show playoff run was for real

Monday, 08.23.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

A Hollywood filmmaker couldn't have scripted the Philadelphia Flyers' 2009-10 season. From dealing with a boatload of injuries and rumors of a divided locker room to a coaching change, sitting in 29th place in the League standings in December, making the playoffs in a shootout on the last day of the season, coming back from a 3-0 series deficit and going to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, it was one long, wild ride.

So how do the Flyers top all that drama? How about a nice, quiet, successful season?

It certainly wasn't a quiet summer, as GM Paul Holmgren passed on expensive options in goal to stick with Michael Leighton, who was outstanding in the regular season but faltered badly in the Stanley Cup Final. Instead, he spent his available cap dollars on an already-solid defense that he hopes will lighten the load on Leighton.

A brief history: New York Rangers

Saturday, 08.21.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Michael Stainkamp - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New York Rangers joined the National Hockey League in 1926, under the ownership of then Madison Square Garden president Tex Rickard. Rickard intended to name the team the New York Giants, but after the press nicknamed the team "Tex's Rangers," the name stuck and the New York Rangers were born.

The Rangers won the American Division in their first year and went on to win the Stanley Cup in only their second season in 1927-28, beating the Montreal Maroons, three games to two. The players became celebrities during New York's "Roaring 20s" and with the Garden located on 48th Street, only a few blocks away from Times Square, the Rangers soon became known as "The Broadway Blueshirts."

Rangers hope fixes will return them to postseason

Saturday, 08.21.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

After missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, the New York Rangers didn't exactly wheel and deal during the offseason, instead opting to plug a few key holes.

It's hard to blame GM Glen Sather for the lack of any major moves. After all, if the Rangers had beaten the Philadelphia Flyers in that shootout during the final game of the regular season, it would have been they and not the Flyers who clinched a playoff spot. The Flyers used the momentum from that victory to push their way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Rangers finished ninth in the Eastern Conference at 38-33-11, and the biggest reason was the lack of offense. Their 222 goals were good for 20th in the League, and it would've been much worse if not for the one-man show of Marian Gaborik. He scored 42 goals and accounted for 18.9 percent of the team's scoring. Only Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay scored a higher percentage (23.5) of his team's goals.

A brief history: New York Islanders

Friday, 08.20.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Michael Stainkamp - NHL.com Staff Writer

Throughout the 38 years of New York Islanders hockey, there have been many high points including the team’s dominance during the early part of the 1980s. From 1980 to 1983, the Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups. Only the Montreal Canadiens have a longer consecutive streak at five straight from 1956-1960. During their dynasty, the Isles won 19 consecutive playoff series, the most in the history of the NHL, as well as any other North American sports franchise.

More recently, the Islanders selected forward John Tavares with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 Entry Draft and have been looking to rebuild a franchise that was once of the best in the League. Since last making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2006, they have been unable to crack the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

Playoffs are a realistic goal for Islanders

Friday, 08.20.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

From Year 1 to Year 2 of Garth Snow's rebuilding program, the New York Islanders saw an 18-point improvement in the standings. Twelve months after selecting John Tavares with the first selection in the 2009 Entry Draft, the Isles added another potential star up front when they grabbed Swiss forward Nino Niederreiter with the No. 5 pick.

A sluggish finish allowed the Islanders another lottery pick, as they finished 34-37-11 for a total of 79 points. Their ability to protect leads was the biggest reason for their last-place finish in the Atlantic Division, as the Islanders lost eight games where they held at least a two-goal edge.

Snow hopes he's addressed his team's defensive deficiencies this offseason by signing blueliners Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina during the first week of free agency. Eaton, 33, won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and averaged close to 20 minutes of ice time per game last season. Jurcina, 27, stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 237 pounds. He also played for Isles coach Scott Gordon when the two were together at AHL Providence.

Devils still waiting to see what happens with Kovy

Thursday, 08.19.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

What happens when a team expected to make some noise in the Stanley Cup Playoffs instead goes quietly in a third consecutive opening-round upset?

Well, for starters, it's time to buck the trend.

That's precisely what Devils owners Jeff Vanderbeek and Mike Gilfillan and General Manager Lou Lamoriello thought they had done when they signed the biggest free agent prize available, Ilya Kovalchuk, to the largest contract in franchise history--17 years and $102 million. But less than eight hours after the Devils celebrated the agreement to keep Kovalchuk in New Jersey, the NHL rejected the agreement. Arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld that decision 20 days later, ruling the deal was a circumvention of the salary cap and collective bargaining agreement.

The sticking point was the fact Kovalchuk's deal was front-loaded to the point the skilled Russian would receive all but $4 million of the total value of the deal over the first 11 seasons. As it stands now, Kovalchuk is again an unrestricted free agent, but Lamoriello is hoping to rework a new deal that will comply with the CBA.

A brief history: New Jersey Devils

Thursday, 08.19.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Michael Stainkamp - NHL.com Staff Writer

The franchise now known as the New Jersey Devils began its NHL life in 1974 as the Kansas City Scouts. Two years later, the team was sold and moved to Denver, where it was renamed the Colorado Rockies. After six sub-.500 seasons and one trip to the playoffs, the franchise was sold again and moved to the New Jersey Meadowlands for the 1982-83 season.

The Devils were no better in New Jersey at the start than they had been in Denver -- they didn't make the playoffs until 1987-88, when now-coach John MacLean's OT winner on the season's final night put them into the postseason for the first time since the move. They stunned the New York Islanders and Washington and got within one win of making the Stanley Cup Final before losing Game 7 of the Wales Conference Final at Boston.

Healthy again, Budish making most of opportunity

Wednesday, 08.18.2010 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When Zach Budish arrived for USA Hockey's junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid in the summer of 2009, he was nowhere near reaching his full ability and, not surprisingly, he wasn't a part of the team that won World Junior Championship gold in Saskatoon.

But that camp represented his first major ice time since suffering a serious knee injury that ended his 2008-09 season before it even started.

This time around, Budish is healthy and in top shape, and is aiming for a spot on the 2011 U.S. WJC squad that will defend its title in Buffalo this year.

Budish, a two-sport star heading into his senior year at Edina (Minn.) High School, was injured playing football in October 2008. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and surgery ended his hockey season after just 15 games. He didn't get back on the ice until March 2009, and didn't play a game until he arrived in Lake Placid.
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