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NHL Insider

League's best at doing some of the little things

Monday, 07.18.2011 / 12:55 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are hockey icons because of their offensive skills -- after all, the basic premise of hockey is that you have to put the puck in the net more than the other guy, and Ovechkin and Crosby are better at doing that (or helping teammates do it) than just about anyone else around.

But there's more to winning hockey games than just scoring goals, and not even "Great 8" and "Sid the Kid" can do everything. Doing the dirty work and excelling at the little things plays a big role in winning games, as well.

Big Assist a big success

Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 12:33 PM / NHL Insider

Emily Kaplan - NHL.com Staff Writer

STAMFORD, Conn. -- It all started with a shivering cold Ryan Shannon.

When Shannon won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, he wanted to do something a little different with his day with Lord Stanley by paying tribute to a man who helped get his hockey career started. That man is Obie Harrington-Howes, who first coached Shannon when he was 5 years old. Harrington-Howes suffered a spinal cord injury in a freak accident nearly 13 years ago at Jones Beach on Long Island and has been in a motorized wheelchair ever since.

In the summer of 2007, Shannon brought the Cup to his hometown rink in Darien, Conn., where fans could take pictures with it and meet Shannon for a suggested donation to the Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation, which aids those with similar injuries and challenges in the state of Connecticut.

Some of the most exciting players in NHL history

Monday, 07.11.2011 / 6:00 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

There's excitement, and then there's excitement -- the kind that yanks you right out of your seat. The kind that makes you shake your head. The kind that makes you wonder aloud, "How did he do that?"

Players who generate that kind of excitement don't come along every day. Here's a look at some of the NHL's best at bringing us out of our seats over the seasons. 

You might agree with NHL.com's choices. You might think an all-time great–remember we are talking a superior brand of excitement, the players you don't want to miss a single shift. Feel to share a comment about our choices. Oh, and Happy Hockey in July.

Itch for game led Kolzig to return to Capitals

Monday, 07.11.2011 / 5:26 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Olie Kolzig took some time away from the NHL and the town where fans adored him for more than a decade.

During those two years he dabbled a little in coaching, helping out with the Western Hockey League team he co-owns, the Tri-City Americans. It helped him determine in what direction he wanted to go in his post-playing days, and Kolzig is now back with the Washington Capitals as the associate goaltending coach.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was playing. I was just so focused on playing the game that I didn’t give post-career any thought," Kolzig said Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “That's what I took the two years off, to take some time with the family, reintroduce myself to the kids and my wife. But having said that, two years went by and I started to get the itch. 

Talk with brother convinced Kaberle about Carolina

Wednesday, 07.06.2011 / 4:29 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Tomas Kaberle didn't have to look too far for advice on the Carolina Hurricanes and the city of Raleigh. All he had to do was strike up a conversation with his brother, Frantisek, who was a Hurricane from 2005-09.

He got the sales pitch.

"He talked about the fans, how you don't really hear throughout the League how good of fans they are," Tomas Kaberle said Wednesday, a day after signing a three-year, $12.75 million contract with the Hurricanes. "When he was there for his time, his few years, I thought he was the happiest out of the three teams he played on in the NHL. It made it an easier decision for me."

Ironically, Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford told NHL.com the idea of offering a contract to Kaberle came from a phone conversation he had over the weekend with the agent for now former Hurricanes defenseman Joe Corvo.

Richards ready to take his bite of Big Apple

Wednesday, 07.06.2011 / 3:21 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

"This is going to be a process. I'll be the most comfortable when I get to start playing and not worry about all this stuff that's going on now." -- Brad Richards

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- After signing a nine-year deal with the New York Rangers worth a reported $60 million last Saturday, Brad Richards realizes the spotlight will shine brightly on him from the moment training camp begins in September.
 
Indeed, the pressure is on the skilled center to help take the Blueshirts to the next level. But Richards believes that pressure will only provide extra motivation.
 
"My last contract was a big contract, too," Richards said at the MSG Training Facility on Wednesday afternoon. "I learned a lot from that. I think I struggled a little bit the first part of that, but I'm five or six years older now and have a lot more experiences. This will be a different animal, for sure. I know that and I realize that. That'll be in my preparation. I'll talk to some people that can help and give me an idea of what to expect. I'll do all that before training camp. This is going to be a process. I'll be the most comfortable when I get to start playing and not worry about all this stuff that's going on now."

Reasoner eager to help Isles take next step

Tuesday, 07.05.2011 / 7:59 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Marty Reasoner was confident he'd find a new home when the free agency period began at noon Eastern time last Friday. He just didn't think he'd only be a free agent for about 10 minutes.

But soon after the market opened for business, Islanders GM Garth Snow pounced on the opportunity to sign the gritty veteran who will likely center the team's fourth line when New York opens the 2011-12 season on Oct. 8 against Reasoner's former team, the Florida Panthers.

"It was definitely something that when it presented itself, I was pretty excited about it," Reasoner told NHL.com. "I think the team is obviously going in the right direction. There's obviously some great young players there. It's a good place to jump into and lend some experience. Hopefully I can help in any way possible."

Reasoner, who signed a two-year deal worth a reported $2.7 million, is coming off a strong season with the Panthers. The 34-year-old appeared in all 82 games and tallied 14 goals, 18 assists and a plus-2 rating. Four of his 14 goals were game-winners.

Caps' Vokoun-Neuvirth duo impressive, inexpensive

Tuesday, 07.05.2011 / 5:14 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

There have been three philosophies for NHL teams in the salary-cap era when it comes to managing money allocated to goaltenders -- spend a lot on an elite guy, go young or go cheap.

After a pair of surprising moves this past weekend, the Washington Capitals might have forged a unique path -- they are going cheap in net but without sacrificing experience or talent. The Capitals likely are going to spend less money (and salary-cap space) on goaltenders than any other team in the NHL during the 2011-12 season, while possibly creating one of the League's most formidable tandems as well.

Washington added veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun at a bargain rate of $1.5 million for one season, one day after dealing away Semyon Varlamov to Colorado for first- and second-round draft picks. Vokoun will team with 23-year-old Michal Neuvirth, who played every minute of the team's nine games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs and nudged ahead of Varlamov in the duo's battle for the job since being drafted together in 2006.

Prospects show high skills at Ottawa camp

Monday, 07.04.2011 / 4:03 PM / NHL Insider

Erin Nicks - NHL.com Correspondent

KANATA, Ont. -- Ottawa Senators fans got one last dose of flash and dash from the club's prospects during Monday morning's 3-on-3 tournament, the final event of this year's development camp.

The spectator turnout was impressive, as it has been for the majority of the camp. After missing the playoffs for two out of the past three years, Sens fans are clamoring for a turnaround.

Their hopes have been buoyed by the injection of youth and its proven ability to succeed. Several faces from Binghamton's recent Calder Cup championship team have made their presence known throughout this prospect camp.

Monday's final day saw the prospects split into six mini-teams, with games taking place in round-robin format, followed by a semi-final and final playoff. 

Elite goal-scoring ability at heart of Heatley deal

Monday, 07.04.2011 / 3:31 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

For Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher, the idea for trading for Dany Heatley Sunday night was a simple one.

"For us to compete and do a better job next year we felt we needed to score more goals," said Fletcher in a Monday afternoon conference call. "Certainly this trade, acquiring certainly one of the better goal scorers in the NHL today in Dany Heatley on the heels of acquiring Devin Setoguchi at the Draft, we feel we've added some goal scorers, some players that shoot the puck, and hopefully will mesh well with some of the other players that we have on our roster."

Few score more effectively than Heatley.

He scored just 26 goals this past season, but  ranks first in the NHL in power-play goals (128) and game-winning goals (58), third in goals (325) and fifth in points (689) since he entered the League in 2001.
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Quote of the Day

Hopefully [Jonathan] has a year that pushes us, that is the organization, to speak to him next summer and looking for [a long-term contract]. Because the thought process is trying to get a goaltender, and hopefully it's Jonathan, to be the stabilizer for this franchise.

— Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on goaltender Jonathan Bernier