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NHL Insider

Itch for game led Kolzig to return to Capitals

Monday, 07.11.2011 / 5:26 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - 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 - 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 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 - 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 - 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 "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 - 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."
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