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(Page 203 of 274)
NHL Insider

Hall looking to build off shortened rookie season

Monday, 08.22.2011 / 9:46 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Like any rookie, 2010's top draft pick, Taylor Hall, encountered a typically tough NHL debut. After recording a single assist in his first seven games, Hall struck for four points in a two-game span to close out October. From there, the young center showed flashes of brilliance, but it all ended on March 3rd, when a broken ankle sustained in a fight with Columbus' Derek Dorsett ended Hall's rookie campaign with a month left in the season.

Hall addressed the ankle, among other topics, on Monday at a 3-on-3 tournament organized by Montreal Canadiens' assistant coach Perry Pearn.

"My ankle healed up really well. It almost feels stronger than the other one, just because I worked on it so much," Hall told the Oilers' web site and other media Monday. "I haven't had any problems."

The ankle was a topic of conversation in North Edmonton on Monday, but it overshadowed what was an otherwise strong rookie season for the 19-year-old. Despite the injury, Hall led the Oilers in goals with 22 and finished just one point behind team leader Jordan Eberle's 43 points. But Hall was thinking about more than just statistics in stating his goals and objectives for the 2011-12 season.
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Long offseason beneficial for Hossa

Monday, 08.22.2011 / 7:10 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- What has Marian Hossa been doing this summer?

Plenty of relaxing, to be sure -- like most players in the off-season -- but the Chicago Blackhawks star forward has also done a little bit of math in his downtime.

More specifically, Hossa has figured out just how many games he's played in the past three seasons -- which included back-to-back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final with three different teams, participation in the 2010 Winter Olympics plus this past season's marathon seven-game loss to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.

"The one player that I've talked a couple times to (this summer) was Marian Hossa, and he just talked about (how) he really needed this break to let his body recuperate," said Blackhawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman, who participated in Monday's charity Blackhawks Alumni Golf Outing at Medinah Country Club. "He's played so much hockey over the past three or four years, with all those long runs in the playoffs. I think he figured out that he's played almost an additional 100 games than most guys have played."
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Some of the most unlikely seasons in NHL history

Monday, 08.22.2011 / 11:07 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Hockey players, like their counterparts in other sports, have a certain level of performance -- after a while, they usually perform within an expected range. But every now and then, a player will have a "fluke season," one that's so unlike the rest of his career that it sticks out. We're not talking about rookies or young players who flame out after a year or two, but about players with lengthy careers who have one season that's wildly outside their norm.
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10 newcomers being counted on to make impact

Saturday, 08.20.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

If there's one certainty in hockey, it's that the roster you finish the old season with in the spring won't be the same one you start the new one with in the fall. Teams are always looking for ways to improve, whether by making trades or signing free agents -- and a guy who was a square peg in a round hole with one team can turn out to be the missing piece of the puzzle in another.

Here are 10 players who are being counted on to make a major impact in their new homes.

Brad Richards
Center, 2010-11 SEASON STATS
GOALS: 28 | ASST: 49 | PTS: 77
SOG: 272 | +/-: 1
Brad Richards, New York Rangers -- Richards was a one-of-a-kind item in this year's free-agent market -- a real, honest-to-goodness No. 1 center. The Rangers gave him a nine-year, $60 million deal to come to the Big Apple with hopes that he'll provide them with a significant offensive upgrade. Their primary objective is to use Richards, one of the NHL's elite passers, to get the puck to Marian Gaborik, who fell to 22 goals last season after getting 42 in 2009-10 -- and to move the Rangers from a team battling to make the playoffs to one that can contend for the Cup.
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A look at who's on the hot seat in the West

Thursday, 08.18.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Vacation time is almost over. With teams less than a month from heading to training camp, here's a look at a player from each of the 15 teams in the Western Conference who'll be under pressure to perform as soon as the puck drops:

Jonas Hiller, Anaheim -- Few teams have the kind of top-end offensive talent that the Ducks can put on the ice every night. But all that offense won't mean a thing unless Hiller, an All-Star goaltender last season, is healthy and ready to go. Hiller missed most of the last two months with vertigo; he's spent the summer working to get well, but if he's not 100 percent, the Ducks' hopes of improving this season will take a big hit.

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary -- Kiprusoff has played at least 71 games and won at least 35 of them in each of the last six seasons. But his save percentage last season dropped to .906 after he was at .920 in 2009-10 -- and he's been at .906 or below in three of the last four seasons. Kiprusoff will have to be better this season if the Flames hope to end a two-year playoff drought.
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Eastern Conference players on the hot seat

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 9:47 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Summer is in the home stretch. Teams are less than a month away from training camps.  It's almost time for another NHL season -- and the pressure is already starting to build for some players who know they'll have to be big-time producers for their teams to improve or contend in the upcoming season.

Here's a look at a player from each of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference who'll be under pressure to perform as soon as the puck drops:

David Krejci, Boston -- They may have won the Stanley Cup, but the Bruins still don't scare anyone offensively. Krejci tied for the team lead in scoring with just 62 points and scored only 13 goals -- just one more than he scored in the playoffs while leading all scorers with 23 points. As their No. 1 center, Krejci has to put up the kind of numbers he did in the postseason to give the Bruins the chance to repeat.
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Recchi celebrates third Cup win in retirement

Sunday, 08.14.2011 / 10:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- Mark Recchi has a reminder of his stellar 22-year career tattooed on the outside of his right ankle. It's also a reminder that he might be ready to be a rookie again soon.

Recchi swore to himself that he wouldn't get a tattoo until he was finished with his playing career. So, a week after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup and Recchi announced he was calling it a career, he sat in a chair and let an artist paint a permanent picture of the three most meaningful memories of his time skating in the NHL -- his three Stanley Cup championships.

"It worked out perfectly," Recchi told NHL.com Saturday during his personal celebration with the Stanley Cup here in his hometown. "The guy did a great job."
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Connolly ready to face challenge of Toronto

Friday, 08.12.2011 / 9:41 AM / NHL Insider

Lindsay Kramer - NHL.com Correspondent

"I'm just looking forward to my time in Toronto, getting ready for that. That's what I'm thinking about now. I think the fan support there, it's just a hockey town. I think it will be just an exciting experience for me." -- Tim Connolly

All the players who sweated and laughed through the Craig Charron Memorial Classic on Sunday in Rochester, N.Y., had earned a few swigs of liquid refreshment.

A teammate offered a beverage to Tim Connolly, who, slapping his hand on a stomach that was as flat and hard as the stall in front of which he stood, politely declined.

"It's crunch time now, you know," he said of the real hockey action coming up. "I still have a ways to go. Now it's about skating and conditioning."

Connolly, at a taut 191 pounds and winded not at all, looked to be the very definition of a player in midseason form. But three months past his 30th birthday and heading into his 11th NHL season, he knew better than to stray from the course.
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Seven candidates for a breakout season in 2011-12

Friday, 08.12.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Michael Grabner and Logan Couture proved they were ready for prime time with breakout seasons in 2010-11, though they did it in different ways.

The two runners-up for the Calder Trophy (won by 18-year-old Jeff Skinner of Carolina) both came out of nowhere to pile up more than 30 goals. Grabner, a first-round pick by Vancouver in 2006, went from the Canucks to Florida to Long Island in just over three months, but rewarded the Islanders with a 34-goal season. Couture, who had a 25-game stint with San Jose in 2009-10, busted out with 32 goals and 56 points to help the Sharks win the Pacific Division for the fourth straight season.

Both came one year after one of the all-time breakout seasons -- Steven Stamkos, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, jumped from 23 goals and 46 points as a rookie in 2008-09 to 51 goals and 95 points in '09-10, proving the Bolts were right to spend the top pick on him.
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Ten candidates for a bounce-back season

Thursday, 08.11.2011 / 9:07 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Disappointing seasons happen to almost everyone. Sometimes they're because of injuries, sometimes they're just bad luck, and other times they are a combination of circumstances.

Here are 10 players who, for a variety of reasons, didn't have their best seasons in 2010-11 but are good candidates to bounce back in the upcoming campaign:

Marian Gaborik, Rangers ­-- Gaborik dropped from 42 goals in his first season in the Big Apple to 22 -- and even that wasn't as good as it seemed because 10 came in three games against non-playoff teams. Gaborik is healthy after missing 20 games last season, and the Rangers have brought in playmaker Brad Richards to get him the puck. Barring injuries, there's no reason the two-time 42-goal scorer shouldn't have another big year.
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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday