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NHL Insider

Bruins' Rask ready for heavy workload again if needed

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 2:34 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

MIDDLETON, Mass. -- With about a month remaining before the start of training camp, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said he isn't any worse for wear after the most taxing season of his NHL career.

Rask played a career-high 70 games last season for the Bruins, who would've needed more from the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner had they not missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Surprisingly, the 28-year-old said it didn't take too long for him to recover from the grind of the 2014-15 season. Rask recently returned to the Boston area and Monday participated in the Putts and Punches for Parkinson's Golf Tournament, hosted by former Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, at Ferncroft Country Club.

"Not crazy," Rask said about his offseason recovery time. "I think obviously it's mentally draining when you're battling for that playoff spot and you play a lot of games in a row and stuff like that. You always feel kind of exhausted afterwards. But then when you do nothing for a week or two, then you're kind of like, 'All right, let's play hockey again.' You're kind of rejuvenated. I didn't feel like I took too much time than usual."

Johansson poised to play larger role with Capitals

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 1:38 PM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Expectations for Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson will be high this season.

On Friday, an arbitrator awarded him a one-year, $3.75 million contract. Johansson, taken by Washington with the 24th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, scored a career-high 20 goals and 47 points last season.

"It's going to be more competitive on the team this year, with a deeper top six, and you're going to have to play well and compete hard to keep your job just like everyone else," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday. "Hopefully it's a competitive environment and the whole team will benefit from it."

Wrestler Piper owed plenty to Cup-winner Connor

Friday, 07.31.2015 / 7:30 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

Roderick Toombs, a professional wrestler known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, died Friday at his home in Hollywood, Calif. He was 61. This story originally ran on in October 2012.

In 1969, two tough 15-year-old Winnipeg boys got into a tussle. That's how it started.

Aspiring boxer Rod Toombs handled the larger Cam Connor, sparking an enduring friendship that has lasted more than four decades. It wasn't the last fight for either kid.

Connor eventually was a first-round pick of the NHL and the World Hockey Association. In a pro career that lasted 10 seasons, he won a Stanley Cup with the 1979 Montreal Canadiens and totaled more than 1,000 penalty minutes.

Toombs adopted the moniker "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and became a pro wrestling icon.

"I whupped him and we became friends," Piper told "He was the only friend from my childhood. I love him. He's the only guy I keep in touch with."

After injuries, Murray poised to boost Blue Jackets

Wednesday, 07.29.2015 / 10:59 AM / NHL Insider

When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected defenseman Ryan Murray with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, they envisioned a player who could quickly become a fixture along their blue line.

Injuries have kept Murray from reaching his potential; he played 12 games last season after sustaining a knee injury, after having knee surgery in the summer of 2014. He would miss five additional weeks with a high ankle sprain he sustained in November.

But the 21-year-old appears primed to turn things around this season.

"I've been on the ice for almost two months now," Murray told the Blue Jackets website. "I've done some things differently this summer, changed it up a bit; the workouts have been less weight-based and more body and movement-focused things.

"I spent part of the summer at home in Saskatchewan, hanging out with my friends and family, relaxing, playing golf, and it was great. It was good to go home and recharge, and now I'm back here and ready to work."

Canadiens' Subban surprises youth group in Toronto

Tuesday, 07.28.2015 / 4:52 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has always taken pride in helping others, even long before he reached the NHL in 2010.

"When he was younger, a kid, he always gave away his lunch," his mother, Maria Subban, said Tuesday. "He would say, 'Mom, they don't have anything to eat.' He was always looking out for other kids."

A group of 110 children from Toronto's Jane and Finch area recently competed against a group of Americans, organized and supported by performer Pharrell Williams, in "Jeopardy" trivia. The Canadians won the event, and Subban and his family felt they should be rewarded.

So he gathered the victors, who are attending a summer camp called Success Beyond Limits (SBL) at York University and, along with some assistance from Gatorade, gave them prizes.

"I'm from Toronto, so whenever I can give back to communities here, I do," Subban said. "I know I play in Montreal and obviously I give back to Quebec and the city of Montreal a lot, but every now and then you have to remember this is my hometown. Even though I didn't grow up in Jane and Finch, I had a lot of friends and family members who lived in this area."

Soderberg excited by likely Avalanche linemates

Saturday, 07.25.2015 / 4:34 PM / NHL Insider

Carl Soderberg was already planning to join the Colorado Avalanche, but when he heard who his linemates might be, he became even more intrigued.

Soderberg, who was traded to Colorado by the Boston Bruins on June 25 and the next day signed a five-year contract, is expected to center Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.

"They told me they wanted me to play centerman and they like my game. I'm a two-way centerman," Soderberg told the Denver Post in remarks published Friday. "And they had a thought of playing me with those two guys. I'm excited."

Stars' Eaves wins Smashfest charity table tennis title

Friday, 07.24.2015 / 12:53 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

TORONTO -- When he was 7 years old, Dallas Stars forward Patrick Eaves broke his back playing in the yard.

Around that time, his father, former NHL forward Mike Eaves, bought a table tennis machine for the basement. It helped with Patrick's recovery.

"I just learned by myself in the basement with the machine," Patrick said. "It's kind of a weird story, a funky story."

Eaves' considerable table tennis skills were on display Thursday when he won the title at Smashfest IV, a charity event organized by New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore. The event featured about 30 NHL players who played in a pro-am format and then squared off against each other for the Smashfest championship.

Winning the event and the bragging rights that go with it is a big deal among the players. Table tennis has become a daily activity in dressing rooms around the League.

Rested Kings ready to resume quest for Cup

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 9:25 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A longer than usual offseason led to some significant changes for the Los Angeles Kings and players eager to get back to chasing the Stanley Cup.

"I think everyone's really excited to get the year going," defenseman Alec Martinez said at a community event Thursday. "This has obviously been a really long summer, way too long. This was actually the first time in my career that I've ever had this long of a summer. That's frustrating, but you can look at it as an opportunity for some of us to heal up a little bit."

The Kings played 64 playoff games the previous three seasons, winning the Stanley Cup twice. This season, their final game was April 11, missing a Western Conference playoff berth by two points.

"I think [captain Dustin Brown] touched on it, the past three or four years, basically when we're done in mid-June, you can't start training until maybe the beginning of July, mid-July," Martinez said. "You're just using those two months to just kind of catch up and get back to square one. This is … an opportunity to not just get back to square one but to build on some things. Get stronger, faster, healthier for some guys. I think it's been good so far."

Kings host Special Olympics World Games athletes

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 8:51 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tyler Toffoli, Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings spent Thursday afternoon welcoming athletes for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

The event had a loose, fun feel to it, much like the players' interactions with coach Darryl Sutter's son Chris, who has competed in the Special Olympics and is such a part of the Kings that he is in the team photo from their 2013-14 Stanley Cup season.

"We see Chris around all the time, and he's basically one of the guys on the team," Toffoli said. "He comes in here and makes us laugh. We know how Chris is. He's incredible, and for us to give back and help out here with the Special Olympics and show off our facility, it was a good experience."

The Special Olympics World Games, which begin Saturday, will feature 6,500 intellectually disabled athletes from 165 countries competing in 25 sports in venues across Los Angeles, which is hosting the international competition for the first time since 1972.

Analysis: Lamoriello must fit Maple Leafs' structure

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 5:42 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Two of the people who know Lou Lamoriello the best feel his move from the New Jersey Devils to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday makes sense and is the perfect fit.

Former Devils coach Larry Robinson said the Maple Leafs should feel excellent about bringing Lamoriello on board because a person with his experience is exactly what they needed.

"I think that Toronto hit the jackpot," Robinson said.

Former Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko mentioned how the Maple Leafs need structure, discipline and accountability, three things Lamoriello prided himself on for 28 years as New Jersey's general manager and president.

"It's probably the only team right now that I believe is the right fit for Lou if he wants to keep doing it, to still have a lot of input in hockey decisions," Daneyko said. "It's the right fit for the Leafs for what they're trying to accomplish in changing the whole culture there. Just thinking about it when I heard the news, it was like, 'That's the team that needs that kind of presence.'"

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It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

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