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NHL Insider

Bylsma has Crosby, Malkin updates, talks Jagr

Monday, 06.27.2011 / 3:46 PM / NHL Insider

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma had encouraging news to report on Sidney Crosby, an interesting item on Evgeni Malkin and more sound bites on a potential Jaromir Jagr return to the Steel City when he met with the local media Monday afternoon.

Bylsma is less than a week removed from winning the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year after leading the Penguins to a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division despite playing the first half of the season without center Jordan Staal and most of the second half without his two stars at the pivot, Crosby and Malkin.

A concussion suffered in early January sidelined Crosby for the remainder of the season. He began taking part in Pittsburgh's morning skates late in the season and during the playoffs, but was never cleared for contact and eventually stopped skating when he had a mild reoccurrence of post-concussion symptoms. 

GM Tallon sells Campbell on joining Panthers

Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 7:00 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

ST. PAUL -- It appears Dale Tallon is quite the salesman.

The Florida GM spent Friday night convincing All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell that the struggling Panthers were a better hockey home for his skill set than the Original Six Chicago Blackhawks, who won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

Tallon, who recruited Campbell to play for those Blackhawks back in 2008 when he was GM in Chicago, worked his sale pitch magic again -- using all the tricks in his arsenal. After all, Tallon admitted Saturday that he is "selling fun."

"History; relationships," he said when asked how he wooed Campbell to Florida, persuading him to waive his no-trade clause. "We got him to Chicago and we had to sell him on Chicago. He came and then we didn't have to sell him that hard to get to Florida."

All Tallon had to do was share the blueprint for the Panthers' future.

"Dale did some great things in Chicago for a lot of guys and I've talked to a lot of my ex-teammates who are saying to me, 'Get me there,' "Campbell told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. ""Dale will make this place very attractive for players to want to come and play there. We'll get this organization going in the right direction and make the fans want to come back and support a great team."

Tallon says the acquisition of Campbell will help in the recruitment of other players.`

"It's going to be a destination for players," Tallon said. "That's the goal."

While the GM is a good salesman, he does not have a warped sense of reality. He knows his team only won just 30 games this past season and finished No. 27 in the 30-team NHL. But he also knows that his plans work, and he believes he took the next step in that plan this weekend with his picks in the 2011 Entry Draft.

"We're not there yet, but with the drafts we had last year and this last year; it's coming," Tallon said. "With the ability to sign some free agents moving forward, we're going to get there quicker than we did in the past and that is the goal."

Campbell certainly helps in that regard. Tallon may be comfortable with Campbell because of past history, but he also knows how much better he makes his new team.

"We need good players," Tallon said. "We need as many good players as we can get. That's a dimension we don't have, a guy that can carry the puck and play 28 minutes a game and help our power play. We had the worst power play in the League, and Brian will help us immensely.

"He gives us offense from the back end, he gives us speed and he gives us the ability to get the puck out of our end quickly -- all those things. It's just one piece, but an important piece."

Now he is ready to add even more pieces as the July 1 free-agent period approaches.

"We have some other things in the fire moving forward this week, so things are good," Tallon said. "We put ourselves in a good position now and move forward. Still a lot of talk and chatter and we hopes this starts to steamroll and force us to make some moves." 


Byfuglien excited about NHL's return to Manitoba

Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 3:15 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

ST. PAUL – Winnipeg is new territory for most members of the recently relocated franchise now known as the Jets.

The current Jets roster doesn't feature any Manitoba-born players, so 2010 playoffs scoring star-turned-defenseman Dustin Byfuglien might have to serve as the club's honorary Manitoban. Byfuglian, who grew up in Roseau, Minn., stopped by the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday morning.

Roseau is a two-hour trip from Winnipeg – a short hop by prairie standards – and Byfuglien logged a brief stint with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings at the start of his junior career. Brandon is a quick drive down the Trans-Canada Highway and the team counts new Winnipeg senior vice president and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and executive vice president and director of hockey operations/assistant general manager Craig Heisinger among its alumni.

Liles excited to be a Leaf

Friday, 06.24.2011 / 7:47 PM / NHL Insider

Greg Picker - Staff Writer

John-Michael Liles is surprised and excited to be heading for Toronto.

Liles, a 30-year-old defenseman, was traded by the Colorado Avalanche on Friday to the Maple Leafs in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft that Toronto previously acquired from Boston.

"I was definitely surprised to hear that I've been traded," Liles told reporters during a conference call prior to Friday night's Entry Draft.  "[Colorado] was a fantastic place to play.  I really enjoyed it, but when I heard I was traded to Toronto I was really excited."

Prospect Schenn could help Flyers immediately

Friday, 06.24.2011 / 4:54 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren was discussing the returns he got from Thursday's blockbuster trades of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, he called Brayden Schenn "probably the best young player outside the NHL."
Holmgren isn't the only hockey figure to feel that way about Schenn, and it's a big reason Philadelphia wanted him in the deal that sent Richards, Philadelphia's captain, to the Los Angeles Kings.
"Brayden Schenn is little bit of a diamond in the rough here," Holmgren said. "Do we take a step back with him? I don't know. He's a tremendous young player and I look forward to seeing him over the next number of years in our organization."

Pronger knows how Richards, Carter feel

Friday, 06.24.2011 / 1:17 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Defenseman Chris Pronger played for four other NHL teams before being dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers on the second day of the 2009 Entry Draft in Montreal.
He remembers the day well and has a pretty good idea the wave of emotions that former Philadelphia teammates Jeff Carter and Mike Richards might be experiencing on the day after general manager Paul Holmgren orchestrated two of the boldest moves in franchise history.
"It (stinks) as a teammate," Pronger told the media during a conference call on Friday. "You hate to see guys go. They were, for all intents and purposes, the face of the franchise for four of those six years, if not for the six years they were here. I'm sure it's tough for them. The Philadelphia Flyers, it's all they really know. I've gone through it a number of times, and sometimes a move is healthy for you."

Emotional Richards ready for new chapter

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 9:52 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

With nine years left on a 12-year deal he signed with Philadelphia in 2007, Mike Richards figured a trade was the last thing he'd have to worry about. He was wrong.

The Flyers sent their captain, one of the NHL's best two-way centers, to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday for highly regarded prospect Brayden Schenn, young forward Wayne Simmonds and a second-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft. For Richards, who reiterated several times during a Thursday conference call with the media how much he loved playing in Philadelphia and being a Flyer, being dealt was stunning.

"I was very shocked when I got a call this afternoon from my agent, just kind of giving me the rundown on what he knew," he said. "I actually found out about it on the Internet a few minutes before I was able to get the confirmation from my agent about it. At first I was shocked, then I was excited.

Thursday's flurry of moves remakes the Flyers

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 9:50 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

MINNEAPOLIS -- In perhaps the biggest roster shakeup in Philadelphia Flyers history, the team completely changed the look of the franchise on Thursday, trading team captain Mike Richards and All-Star center Jeff Carter in separate deals before agreeing to terms with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on a long-term contract.

The Flyers sent Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for right wing Jakub Voracek, the No. 8 pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, and a third-round pick (No. 68) in the same draft. Richards was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for right wing Wayne Simmonds, center Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick in the 2012 draft.

"What we've done today is change the direction of our organization with these two moves," General Manager Paul Holmgren said. "I've always said over the last few years that I like our team. Today I like our team. We're just a different team."

Acquisition of Carter has Blue Jackets thinking big

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 9:05 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson feels he has finally found the perfect complement for All-Star left wing Rick Nash.
On Thursday afternoon, Howson finalized a deal with Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren that was six months in the making, acquiring veteran center Jeff Carter in exchange for wing Jakub Voracek and a pair of 2011 draft picks in the first (No. 8) and third (No. 68) rounds.
"We've been working on this for a long time, it seems," Howson said during a news conference at the City Center Marriott. "We had discussions about various players over six months and I thought we were getting close over the last three or four days. It crystallized (Thursday) around noon and we moved forward." 

Instant E.J.: Reaction to Flyers wheeling and dealing

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 8:08 PM / NHL Insider

EJ Hradek - Analyst

What a day! The Flyers shook up the hockey world with a pair of blockbuster deals, moving cornerstone young centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Richards was sent to the left coast (Los Angeles), while Carter moves across the Pennsylvania border into Ohio to join the Blue Jackets.
Here are a few quick thoughts about the moves for each team's perspective. 
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Quote of the Day

Obviously there's a lot of expectations around me but it's something I try not to focus on. I'm just trying to go out there, be myself on the ice every day, try to get better, be myself around the guys in the locker room. I think that's what's made me successful and the person that I am.

— Sabres forward Jack Eichel on transitioning from college hockey to the NHL