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NHL Insider

Matthias excited to play for Babcock, Maple Leafs

Saturday, 08.22.2015 / 9:17 AM / NHL Insider

Center Shawn Matthias is excited to play for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs this season.

"Any new team you come to, you want to do your best," Matthias told the Toronto Sun on Friday. "But for me to come here and play in front of friends and family ... I don't want to play awful because there will be lots of people critiquing my game. In the other markets, you wouldn't have had all these cameras here today, (reporters) asking me questions. But it's special to be home. I don't take it for granted. I have to be responsible and accountable."

Crosby plays goalie in Penguins' dek hockey game

Wednesday, 08.19.2015 / 3:06 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby played goalie for the Penguins' front office dek hockey team Tuesday and helped Team Iceland to a 4-3 shootout victory at Cranberry Dek Hockey in Cranberry, Pa.

About 50 friends and family attended the game. Crosby shared coaching tips and got the win, although it's not known how many saves he made.

Briere was grateful for chance to play with Canadiens

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 3:22 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Among his list of accomplishments gained through the course of 17 years in the NHL, one that Daniel Briere cherishes greatly is the one that hits closest to home for the native of Gatineau, Quebec.

"I leave the game now and for the rest of my life now I can say I was a Montreal Canadien," Briere said Tuesday during his retirement press conference at Virtua Flyers Skate Zone, the practice facility of the Philadelphia Flyers. "When I go back home, I can say that I've played for the Montreal Canadiens, which is pretty cool, for me personally."

Briere played for the Canadiens for one season (2013-14), and it wasn't even a good season by his standards; he scored 13 goals and had 25 points in 68 games after signing a two-year, $8 million contract with Montreal after getting bought out by the Flyers in the summer of 2013. The Canadiens traded him to the Colorado Avalanche last summer.

Briere feels time is right to retire, commit to family

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 2:01 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Daniel Briere made his decision to retire from the NHL for two reasons: realism and selflessness.

After 17 seasons in the NHL, Briere couldn't convince himself to train this summer and get his mind and body ready for another season, just so he might be able to sign with a team willing to give him a minor role such as the one he had last season as a minimally used forward with the Colorado Avalanche.

"That's about all I was going to get, and I'm realistic with that," Briere said Tuesday during his retirement press conference at the Virtua Flyers Skate Zone, the practice facility for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Burrows backs moves, sees Canucks in playoffs again

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 5:44 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- Alexandre Burrows watched from his suburban Montreal home as his Vancouver Canucks underwent a bit of a makeover this offseason, and he never questioned it.

Now, with training camp about a month away, Burrows said he sees no reason Vancouver can't remain competitive in a tough Western Conference while in the midst of what Canucks president Trevor Linden has called a transition period.

"I put my confidence in our management group of [general manager] Jim Benning and Trevor Linden," Burrows said Tuesday at a charity golf tournament hosted by Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "They're obviously intelligent people with a plan, and last season was the first year of their plan."

Therrien, like GM, defends Canadiens' style, system

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 4:50 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- On July 2, one day after NHL free agency opened, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin met with the media to discuss their moves.

Bergevin was asked about the defensive style of play employed by Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. In response, Bergevin got, well, defensive.

Bergevin fired back at the reporter to identify one aspect of the Canadiens system that makes it so defensive, and claimed the style they play is not much different from the one used by the majority of teams in the NHL.

"What do we do differently than other teams that makes us a defensive team?" Bergevin asked, annoyed with the line of questioning.

During the press conference, Bergevin said he did not feel the Canadiens would be any better off if they allowed 20 more goals in order to score 20 more; he said he feels the lack of offense could be addressed if the power play were to improve on its 16.5 percent success rate of last season.

But at the core -- and Bergevin has repeated this on numerous occasions -- the Canadiens' strength lies in goal with Carey Price and, to a slightly lesser extent, on defense with P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry.

If the Canadiens finish 20th in scoring but first in goals allowed, as they did last season, they should be on the winning side more often than not.

The concern is whether Price will be able to repeat the historic season he just completed. If not, will the Canadiens' lack of offense come back to bite them?

This is why the perception the Canadiens use a stifling defensive style persists in Montreal, and six weeks after his general manager faced questions on it, it was Therrien's turn to do the same this week.

Gallagher pleased with Canadiens' additions

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 10:51 AM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

Brendan Gallagher has high hopes for new Montreal Canadiens forwards Alexander Semin and Zack Kassian.

The Canadiens signed Semin to a one-year contract reportedly worth $1.1 million July 24, a little more than three weeks after the Carolina Hurricanes bought out the final three years of the 31-year-old's five-year, $35 million contract.

"Semin is a guy that other teams have to be aware of," Gallagher said Wednesday at his charity softball game at Vancouver's Nat Bailey Stadium. "He's dangerous every time he's on the ice. He doesn't need much time and space to put the puck in the back of the net."

Nugent-Hopkins says Oilers power play will be better

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 9:31 AM / NHL Insider

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins expects the Edmonton Oilers to improve on the power play this season.

The addition of forward Connor McDavid, who was the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, and a successful final 35 games of last season are the 22-year-old center's biggest reasons for optimism.

"I think as the year went on and near the end of the season, we really picked up our power play," Nugent-Hopkins told the Oilers website Thursday. "We started scoring and just had the confidence to go out there and get the job done. For whatever reason, that was something we were lacking at the start of the year.

"With a guy like [McDavid] coming in too, that will ignite us a little more hopefully. We should be a team with a really strong power play and we've got to get back to that."

Brodeur surprised to see Lamoriello go to Maple Leafs

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 4:54 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- It's been a strange few months for the New Jersey Devils, with the two most iconic figures in their history each taking jobs with other organizations.

First, longtime goaltender Martin Brodeur became the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues on May 20. Then Lou Lamoriello, who had stepped down as general manager May 4 after 28 years on the job and was replaced by Ray Shero, resigned as team president July 23 and accepted an offer to become GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If it felt strange for Devils fans to see Lamoriello working for another team, it felt that much more bizarre for Brodeur.

"I was really surprised," Brodeur said Tuesday at a charity golf tournament hosted by Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "I had some conversations with [Lou] and I knew what was going on a bit, but it was still surprising to see all the changes going on there. I hope it's for the good of the organization."

Red Wings' DeKeyser welcomes playing with Green

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 4:45 PM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Mike Green has been one of the NHL's premier offensive defensemen during his 10-season career, all with the Washington Capitals.

The Detroit Red Wings, who signed Green to a three-year contract July 1, believe they can make him a quality two-way defenseman.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland and coach Jeff Blashill have said Green will be paired this season with Danny DeKeyser, who former Red Wings coach Mike Babcock called "The Human Eraser" because of his strong defensive play.

DeKeyser, 25, talked about potentially playing alongside Green on Wednesday, when he served as an on-ice instructor at Red Wings Youth Hockey Camp at Joe Louis Arena.

"I think he's a great player," said DeKeyser, who said he has not talked to Holland or Blashill since Green signed with Detroit. "He's got a great shot from the point, he moves the puck up the [defensive] zone fast and he can skate really well.

"I don't know what the pairings are going to be. If we end up being paired together, I think it would be a good combo."

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Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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