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NHL Insider

Caps' Vokoun-Neuvirth duo impressive, inexpensive

Tuesday, 07.05.2011 / 5:14 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - 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 - 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 - 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.

Carter ready to focus on Columbus

Thursday, 06.30.2011 / 4:39 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Jeff Carter said now that the shock of his trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets has worn off, he's excited for a fresh start with a new team.

"It was a tough situation for me. It's something I'd never gone through my whole hockey career, in junior or anything. I understand the game, know it's part of the game. Things had to be done for the Flyers to do what they needed to do. I've thought about it, come to grips with it, and I'm excited to go to Columbus and have a fresh start and a new opportunity there."
-- Jeff Carter

Carter, the one-time All-Star and 40-goal scorer, was dealt to the Blue Jackets by the Philadelphia Flyers in return for forward Jakub Voracek and a couple of picks in last week's Entry Draft which the Flyers used to select a pair of centers -- Sean Couturier in the first round and Nick Cousins in the third round.

Because he never had been traded before -- including his time in junior hockey -- Carter said he needed some time to adjust and accept the news.

"It was a tough situation for me," Carter said on a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters Thursday. "It's something I'd never gone through my whole hockey career, in junior or anything. I understand the game, know it's part of the game. Things had to be done for the Flyers to do what they needed to do. I've thought about it, come to grips with it, and I'm excited to go to Columbus and have a fresh start and a new opportunity there."

Drury buyout shows Rangers committed to youth

Thursday, 06.30.2011 / 1:54 PM / NHL Insider

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

"I know [General Manager Glen Sather] and the whole organization feels OK, there's the kids, there's our foundation, now let's go see where we can add and try to get better. And there may be a situation where, well, that didn't work. Let's not add for the sake of adding. Stay with it. That's a key come July 1 because it turns in to such a frenzy that you get a little crazy. If it isn't what we need and it isn't the right piece for us right now, we have to stay pat and continue to develop." -- John Tortorella

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- John Tortorella, the N.Y. Rangers coach, addressed the media Thursday afternoon, commenting on a myriad of topics including New York's recent buyout of Chris Drury, and the team's philosophy entering free agency, which begins Friday.

Tortorella, speaking at the MSG Training Facility during the team's annual prospect development camp, said it was hard to part ways with Drury, the Rangers' captain for the past three seasons.

"Dru is Dru," Tortorella said. "I love the guy. But you still have to make decisions that you think are best for the club."

On July 1, 2007, Drury signed a five-year, $35.25 million contract with the Rangers -- which would have run through next season.

The 34-year-old Drury missed 58 games in the 2010-11 campaign because of finger and  knee injuries. He finished the season with just 1 goal and 4 assists.

Panthers sign one Tomas, working on another

Wednesday, 06.29.2011 / 3:52 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon convinced at least one Tomas to join the Panthers' rebuilding project Wednesday. The question now is, can he persuade the other -- and perhaps more important -- Tomas to do the same.

While Tomas Kopecky's signing for four years at a reported $12 million was the official news out of Sunrise, Fla., thoughts remained on the future of Panthers star goalie Tomas Vokoun, who will become an unrestricted free agent at noon ET on July 1 if Tallon can't get him under contract beforehand.

"We're in negotiations with him as we speak and we're very hopeful," Tallon said on a conference call with local reporters Wednesday. "That's all I can tell you."

Bailey hopes for bounce-back season with Isles

Tuesday, 06.28.2011 / 10:28 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

Ever since that night in Ottawa back in 2008 when New York Islanders GM Garth Snow traded down at the Entry Draft to select Josh Bailey at No. 9, the latter has carried with him some lofty expectations.

Perhaps they were unfair. Or perhaps he simply hasn't met them yet.

Whatever the case may be, Bailey -- who will be all of 22 years old when the Isles open the 2011-12 season on Oct. 8 against the Florida Panthers -- remains eager to prove Snow and his staff were right for passing on the likes of Luke Schenn and Colin Wilson three years ago. And regardless of what the expectations of Bailey might be from the Isles' fan base, nobody has greater expectations of Bailey than No. 12 himself.

"I've never had anything but good things said to me by the fans," said Bailey, who, with 34 NHL goals, has more tallies than any player taken from that 2008 Entry Draft not named Steven Stamkos. "People have always been great to me here. As far as expectations go, people are so great to me that I think the expectations I set for myself are things that I strive for. I don't really focus on too much else. I've learned over three years in the National Hockey League that you learn to just keep your focus and not ride the ups and downs so much. That was the one thing I definitely learned a lot about last year."

O'Ree honored by Boston Sports Museum

Tuesday, 06.28.2011 / 9:38 PM / NHL Insider

Bob Snow - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Willie O'Ree returned to the footprint Tuesday night where he established an imprint in NHL history a half-century ago.

When he took his first Bruins shift on January 18, 1958 in Montreal against the Canadiens, O'Ree became the first black player to crack an NHL roster.

The next night of the back-to-back affair, his first shift in Boston extended the milestone to two countries in 24 hours.

Tuesday night, the Boston Sports Museum honored the Fredericton, New Brunswick native with the Hockey Legacy Award at the 10th Annual "The Tradition," joining previous hockey recipients, including Milt Schmidt, Harry Sinden, Cam Neely, and last year, the entire 1970 Stanley Cup squad.

Landeskog, Siemens excited to be Avs

Tuesday, 06.28.2011 / 7:12 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVERGabriel Landeskog admitted to being a little star-struck upon entering the Colorado Avalanche locker room at the Pepsi Center for the first time.

Landeskog and Duncan Siemens, selected by the Avalanche with the second and 11th overall picks in last weekend's Entry Draft, were introduced to the local media in the room on Tuesday.
The Swedish-born Landeskog, an 18-year-old left wing, was thrilled to see Joe Sakic's retired locker in the corner – it's encased in plexiglass and includes a No. 19 jersey and equipment – and he was especially excited when a reporter pointed to where former star Peter Forsberg's old locker was.

"Maybe I'll go and stand in front of that locker for a bit," Landeskog said. "I'm very thrilled to be a part of this, not only because of Peter Forsberg – one of the best players to ever play the game – but obviously (because of) Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy and Adam Foote. I'm very excited to be wearing this jersey. It's a tremendous honor and I'm looking forward to making an impact."

Schenn ready to make good on massive potential

Tuesday, 06.28.2011 / 4:42 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- When the chairs and name tags were set out on the dais in the Hall of Fame room at Wells Fargo Center prior to Tuesday's press conference, there was more than just a coincidence that Brayden Schenn was placed right in the middle.
Schenn, a 19-year-old center considered by many to be the top young prospect in the game, likely will be in the middle of any success the Philadelphia Flyers have during the next few seasons.
"At the time of the trade I publicly said in our opinion he's one of the top, if not the top, player outside the NHL," Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said in introducing Schenn, along with Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek, to the Philadelphia media, Tuesday. "We think a lot of Brayden as a young player."
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Quote of the Day

It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process