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NHL Insider

Flyers' Giroux glad linemate Voracek got big contract

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 10:53 PM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux is glad to know he could play on the same line with Jakub Voracek for at least the next seven seasons.

Voracek signed a multiyear contract extension with the Flyers on July 30. TSN reported it is for eight years, $66 million.

"I'm really happy for him, and it's really good for our team," said Giroux, who is entering the second season of his eight-year, $66.2 million contract. "I think we have some room for improvement to get even better chemistry, but I think we've been doing a good job of finding each other and communicating on and off the ice to know how we want to play.

"Jake just cares so much that every time he comes to the rink he wants to win, and he's really fun to be around."

Healthy Dupuis, Letang sure to give Penguins lift

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 7:57 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have had an offseason packed with roster changes, but the best personnel news might be the return to full health for two of their longest tenured players.

Forward Pascal Dupuis and defenseman Kris Letang each said Tuesday he is 100 percent and eager for training camp to start.

Dupuis missed the final 66 games last season with a blood clot in his lung, and Letang missed the final seven games and the five-game loss to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference First Round with a concussion.

"I'm in great shape," Letang said at a charity golf tournament hosted by Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "I got on the ice last week, so I'm following the same program I follow every summer. There was no delay in that sense.

"I'd say it's been one of my best summers in terms of training and how I feel."

Therrien sees Semin as 'nice challenge' for Canadiens

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- When the Montreal Canadiens signed free agent forward Alexander Semin to a one-year contract last month, one of the first questions that jumped to mind was how would he mesh with coach Michel Therrien.

The Carolina Hurricanes bought out the final three years of Semin's five-year, $35 million contract because, as general manager Ron Francis said, they did not feel he competed enough on a consistent basis.

Therrien is known as a coach with high demands on his players in terms of work ethic, and he said Tuesday at his charity golf tournament he's eager to start working on making sure Semin is able to meet those demands.

"It's a nice challenge, that's how I look at it," Therrien said. "He's a guy that's full of potential, and there's an opportunity for him to get back to where we think he can be as a player, and where I imagine he also thinks he can be as a player. We're going to give him an opportunity, and it's the type of player we were missing when you looked at our team. He's a guy who can score, who can make plays and who's shown in the past that he can contribute to the success of a team offensively. But as far as I'm concerned, I see it as a challenge."

Bruins' Rask ready for heavy workload again if needed

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 2:34 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

MIDDLETON, Mass. -- With about a month remaining before the start of training camp, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said he isn't any worse for wear after the most taxing season of his NHL career.

Rask played a career-high 70 games last season for the Bruins, who would've needed more from the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner had they not missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Surprisingly, the 28-year-old said it didn't take too long for him to recover from the grind of the 2014-15 season. Rask recently returned to the Boston area and Monday participated in the Putts and Punches for Parkinson's Golf Tournament, hosted by former Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, at Ferncroft Country Club.

"Not crazy," Rask said about his offseason recovery time. "I think obviously it's mentally draining when you're battling for that playoff spot and you play a lot of games in a row and stuff like that. You always feel kind of exhausted afterwards. But then when you do nothing for a week or two, then you're kind of like, 'All right, let's play hockey again.' You're kind of rejuvenated. I didn't feel like I took too much time than usual."

Johansson poised to play larger role with Capitals

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 1:38 PM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Expectations for Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson will be high this season.

On Friday, an arbitrator awarded him a one-year, $3.75 million contract. Johansson, taken by Washington with the 24th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, scored a career-high 20 goals and 47 points last season.

"It's going to be more competitive on the team this year, with a deeper top six, and you're going to have to play well and compete hard to keep your job just like everyone else," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday. "Hopefully it's a competitive environment and the whole team will benefit from it."

Wrestler Piper owed plenty to Cup-winner Connor

Friday, 07.31.2015 / 7:30 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Roderick Toombs, a professional wrestler known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, died Friday at his home in Hollywood, Calif. He was 61. This story originally ran on NHL.com in October 2012.

In 1969, two tough 15-year-old Winnipeg boys got into a tussle. That's how it started.

Aspiring boxer Rod Toombs handled the larger Cam Connor, sparking an enduring friendship that has lasted more than four decades. It wasn't the last fight for either kid.

Connor eventually was a first-round pick of the NHL and the World Hockey Association. In a pro career that lasted 10 seasons, he won a Stanley Cup with the 1979 Montreal Canadiens and totaled more than 1,000 penalty minutes.

Toombs adopted the moniker "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and became a pro wrestling icon.

"I whupped him and we became friends," Piper told NHL.com. "He was the only friend from my childhood. I love him. He's the only guy I keep in touch with."

After injuries, Murray poised to boost Blue Jackets

Wednesday, 07.29.2015 / 10:59 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected defenseman Ryan Murray with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, they envisioned a player who could quickly become a fixture along their blue line.

Injuries have kept Murray from reaching his potential; he played 12 games last season after sustaining a knee injury, after having knee surgery in the summer of 2014. He would miss five additional weeks with a high ankle sprain he sustained in November.

But the 21-year-old appears primed to turn things around this season.

"I've been on the ice for almost two months now," Murray told the Blue Jackets website. "I've done some things differently this summer, changed it up a bit; the workouts have been less weight-based and more body and movement-focused things.

"I spent part of the summer at home in Saskatchewan, hanging out with my friends and family, relaxing, playing golf, and it was great. It was good to go home and recharge, and now I'm back here and ready to work."

Canadiens' Subban surprises youth group in Toronto

Tuesday, 07.28.2015 / 4:52 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has always taken pride in helping others, even long before he reached the NHL in 2010.

"When he was younger, a kid, he always gave away his lunch," his mother, Maria Subban, said Tuesday. "He would say, 'Mom, they don't have anything to eat.' He was always looking out for other kids."

A group of 110 children from Toronto's Jane and Finch area recently competed against a group of Americans, organized and supported by performer Pharrell Williams, in "Jeopardy" trivia. The Canadians won the event, and Subban and his family felt they should be rewarded.

So he gathered the victors, who are attending a summer camp called Success Beyond Limits (SBL) at York University and, along with some assistance from Gatorade, gave them prizes.

"I'm from Toronto, so whenever I can give back to communities here, I do," Subban said. "I know I play in Montreal and obviously I give back to Quebec and the city of Montreal a lot, but every now and then you have to remember this is my hometown. Even though I didn't grow up in Jane and Finch, I had a lot of friends and family members who lived in this area."

Soderberg excited by likely Avalanche linemates

Saturday, 07.25.2015 / 4:34 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Carl Soderberg was already planning to join the Colorado Avalanche, but when he heard who his linemates might be, he became even more intrigued.

Soderberg, who was traded to Colorado by the Boston Bruins on June 25 and the next day signed a five-year contract, is expected to center Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.

"They told me they wanted me to play centerman and they like my game. I'm a two-way centerman," Soderberg told the Denver Post in remarks published Friday. "And they had a thought of playing me with those two guys. I'm excited."

Stars' Eaves wins Smashfest charity table tennis title

Friday, 07.24.2015 / 12:53 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- When he was 7 years old, Dallas Stars forward Patrick Eaves broke his back playing in the yard.

Around that time, his father, former NHL forward Mike Eaves, bought a table tennis machine for the basement. It helped with Patrick's recovery.

"I just learned by myself in the basement with the machine," Patrick said. "It's kind of a weird story, a funky story."

Eaves' considerable table tennis skills were on display Thursday when he won the title at Smashfest IV, a charity event organized by New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore. The event featured about 30 NHL players who played in a pro-am format and then squared off against each other for the Smashfest championship.

Winning the event and the bragging rights that go with it is a big deal among the players. Table tennis has become a daily activity in dressing rooms around the League.

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I'm a hockey player and that's what I love to do. That is what I am here for. Everything else is just a side note.

— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL
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