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NHL Insider

Leddy, Boychuk, Halak find stability with Islanders

Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 2:47 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders' three most important acquisitions last offseason, defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk and goaltender Jaroslav Halak, cleaned out their lockers Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum, still numb from the 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round two days earlier.

After the Islanders failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Leddy, Boychuk and Halak sparked a resurgence that led to 47 regular-season wins and a third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division.

The three will be integral pieces moving forward. Halak has three years remaining on the contract he signed last May. Leddy and Boychuk, acquired in trades one week before the season started, each signed a seven-year contract to remain in New York.

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Islanders' Lee looking ahead, not back at ending

Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 1:13 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Anders Lee may have been a rookie, but the New York Islanders left wing played a major role this season for a team that had 101 points and finished third in the Metropolitan Division.

Yet with New York's season on the line in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals, Lee, who scored 25 goals during the regular season, was a healthy scratch.

The Islanders survived Game 6 with a 3-1 win at Nassau Coliseum but had 11 shots on goal in a 2-1 loss at Verizon Center in Game 7 on Monday. It was a helpless feeling for Lee, who watched his teammates fail to generate any offense in their biggest game of the season.

"I can't really explain it," Lee said Wednesday at the Coliseum, where the Islanders were cleaning out their lockers permanently as they prepare for their move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season. "It's really hard."

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Penguins' injured players focused on next season

Sunday, 04.26.2015 / 2:36 PM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis had a very slight hope of playing in the Stanley Cup Final.

The New York Rangers eliminated the Penguins in five games during the Eastern Conference First Round, which thwarted that hope. But the 36-year-old, who was placed on injured reserve Nov. 19 with a potentially career-ending blood clot in his lung, said he hopes to resume his career next season.

"If you ask me I thought I was going to play again this year," Dupuis said Sunday during the Penguins' final media availability of the season. "Obviously I'm going to say I'm going to play next year, yes. But it's not up to me right now. I have more tests to be done and hopefully the results come back positive."

Dupuis wasn't the only key player to miss time for injuries during the regular season or the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Devils' Schneider done playing but excited to watch

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 5:06 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The New Jersey Devils and goaltender Cory Schneider failed to qualify for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that hasn't stopped Schneider from paying attention to what's going on across the NHL.

Schneider set a personal best and was fourth in the League with 69 games in 2014-15, but he's still excited to watch hockey.

"I find the first to be the most interesting round," Schneider said. "Everyone sort of has the optimism that they're going to go far and everyone comes out a million miles an hour. So some of the physicality and the pace of the game is pretty incredible, especially the early games, when you might catch a team off and win a game or two and then that changes the series.

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Flyers must answer leadership, defense questions

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 7:32 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers believe a lack of consistency in a number of areas is what doomed them to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Playing harder didn't cure those ills. Instead of more hard play, what they might have needed was more hard talk.

During their final media availability Monday at their practice facility, a number of the players cited the season-long absence and eventual trade of defenseman Kimmo Timonen as a big reason for their inability to fix issues as they arose.

"Kimmo was such a big presence in the locker room," forward Jakub Voracek said. "Since I was here every time things didn't go well, we'd have a meeting about it and he always calmed things down. He was being hard on us as well sometimes. As a team we need to get better and I think that's what we were missing."


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Bruins humbled as postseason streak comes to end

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 4:20 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was blunt when asked to assess the season that concluded Saturday because the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins each won their games and eliminated the Bruins from contention for a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Well, what's failed, F? Because you know, if you don't make the playoffs, you've failed," Rask said at TD Garden on Monday. "You know, it doesn't matter what happened, if you don't make the playoffs you've failed. I mean, if we were to make the playoffs, who knows what could have happened. So the line there is very thin, and we really felt like we had a group of guys to make a good run in the playoffs. But we failed because we didn't make the playoffs and we'll never find out."

The Bruins, who held their breakup day Monday, had good reason to believe they might've had a run in them. Most of the core of the team was part of a Stanley Cup championship in 2011, an Eastern Conference title in 2013 and a Presidents' Trophy win 12 months ago. Boston reached the playoffs seven straight seasons before this one.

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Sakic says Avalanche better than this season's record

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 2:53 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic had an inkling that this could be a difficult season as early as training camp.

Yet he didn't anticipate the Avalanche missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs one season after they won the Central Division with 112 points under first-year coach and former teammate Patrick Roy.

The Avalanche are in last place in the division with a 38-31-12 record and 88 points with one game remaining, Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center.

"We expect to win," Sakic said. "We didn't come here to be hovering and missing the playoffs. Last year, for sure, 112 points ... we know we weren't as good as 112 points. This year, I think we're better than what we've performed. This year, the big thing is what happened the first half of the year. We weren't ready for (it)."

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Bond helped Suter, Parise navigate difficult season

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ryan Suter can finally smile and even allow himself to laugh about what will always be an odd coincidence, because he can laugh about a lot of things now.

Time heals, winning helps, and friendship goes a long way toward turning your world right side up again after feeling like everything was falling apart.

Suter and Minnesota Wild teammate Zach Parise know this all too well.

"It's kind of weird actually if you think about that, how it's everything we've gone through together," Suter said. "But what are the odds of something like this last year happening? That's how I feel when I think about it, like, really, this is just weird."

Suter and Parise created a lasting link when they signed matching 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4, 2012; they formed a bond only they can understand this season because each lost his father in a tragic way.

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Malkin looking to lead Penguins back to playoffs

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins' offense has lived and died by center Evgeni Malkin.

Sidney Crosby has returned to form with seven goals and 17 points in his past 14 games, his most productive stretch since scoring 23 points in the first 13 games of the season.

But that hasn't led to team success. In those 14 games, the Penguins went 4-8-3, not including a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins with Crosby injured.

Malkin fully played in five of the 14 games, the first three ending with a win before losing two straight when he returned April 5 from an undisclosed injury. In the nine games Malkin was injured, including the shutout loss to Boston on March 14 when he sustained a lower-body injury on his first shift, Pittsburgh won once, putting the Stanley Cup Playoffs in some doubt.

"There are a lot of good hockey teams that have had good years that are in the exact same position as us," Crosby said. "It's going to be about who handles it the best and who plays the best at the right time."

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Price focused on winning Cup, not individual honors

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 2:14 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The history of the Montreal Canadiens can be suffocating at times for the players trying to live up to it.

The franchise’s NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup banners watch over each of their home games,as do the banners commemorating the 18 players who have had their numbers retired,each of them a member of the Hall of Fame.

In the dressing room,the photos of the 44 players in team history who are in the Hall of Fame watch over them as well,their photos lined above the players’ lockers.

That history can be a burden when things are not going well.

But it also makes becoming a part of that storied history that much sweeter.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price did that Thursday in a 4-3 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings. It was his 43rd victory of the season setting a franchise record on a team that takes records more seriously than most.

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I love you. I think we [climbed] as high as we possibly can.

— Sergei Fedorov to former Red Wings teammate Nicklas Lidstrom after each was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 on Monday
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