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NHL Insider

Healthy Krejci eager to lead Bruins back to playoffs

Saturday, 10.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins center David Krejci endured an injury-riddled season after signing a six-year, $43.5 million contract extension last September. The Bruins went 16-13-6 while Krejci missed 20 games with an undisclosed injury and 15 more with a knee injury.

Krejci embarked on a workout regimen this summer to make sure his injury troubles don't come back.

"I've been working out for a long time," Krejci said before the Bruins opened their regular season Thursday, a 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. "I changed my workouts a little bit this year. I've been skating a little bit longer before training camp. So I came into training camp in good shape, feeling good with my body. And so far here the games and practices have been pretty good. It's a big training camp for me and for the team. So far I'm pretty happy how things are going."

Krejci and the Bruins play the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports, NESN).

Canadiens long to prove they're more than Price

Saturday, 10.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- All summer long, people were saying the Montreal Canadiens are a team that relies too much on goaltender Carey Price to win games for them.

In their first chance to prove those people wrong, Wednesday in the season-opener at the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadiens did the opposite.

They proved them right, allowing the Maple Leafs to control long stretches of the game but coming out with a 3-1 win based largely on 36 saves made by Price.

It was remarkably similar to what the Canadiens did last season.

"Obviously we'd like to score more, but as long as we're winning the games, that's what matters," Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec said Sept. 8 at the NHL Player Media Tour in Toronto. "A big part of that was [Price], which is the one thing honestly we want to get better at and play better in front of him."

Asked Friday about reverting to that problem to start this season, Plekanec got annoyed.

Islanders' traditions right at home in Brooklyn

Saturday, 10.10.2015 / 12:06 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The venue might be different and state of the art, but the New York Islanders aren't kidding when they say tradition has a new home.

Everything that once brightened up Nassau Coliseum -- the energetic fans, the lively chants, and, yes, even the goal horn -- made the move to Brooklyn with the Islanders.

That much was obvious Friday when the Islanders played their first regular-season game at Barclays Center, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The people who grew up Islanders fans, in one arena, partying in the parking lot and loving their 43-year-old building like it was an old friend, streamed off the subways and Long Island Rail Road and began treating their new home with the same reverence and respect.

"The atmosphere was great," said Islanders captain John Tavares, who scored the first goal for the home team in its new building 5:22 into the second period. "Our fans were into it, behind us like they always are. Certainly they brought that tradition over from the Coliseum.

"Everything was really similar, as much as it could be."

Babcock: Red Wings made right choice with Blashill

Friday, 10.09.2015 / 2:33 PM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - Correspondent

DETROIT -- When Mike Babcock left as coach of the Detroit Red Wings to become coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he felt Jeff Blashill was the right person to replace him.

Now, as Blashill prepares to make his NHL coaching debut with the Red Wings against Babcock's Maple Leafs on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN1), his opinion hasn't changed.

"He's the Detroit Red Wings coach and he should be the Detroit Red Wings coach," Babcock said. "He's done a lot of things to get to where he is. … He's a smart guy, presents well and he has been taught well."

McDavid impressive if not spectacular in NHL debut

Friday, 10.09.2015 / 12:47 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Good but not great, with flashes of the brilliance that's to come, warning signs of areas that need improvement, and a slow and steady rise in his level of impact.

That description of Connor McDavid's performance in his NHL debut Thursday at Scottrade Center against the St. Louis Blues might not be what people envisioned hearing or reading considering the hype that accompanied the Edmonton Oilers rookie center into the League, but honest evaluation is the first and necessary step for McDavid toward living up to the incredibly high expectations already placed on him.

He may only be cracking the surface of his potential in the NHL, but he at least deserves time to lay his foundation, especially when he's attempting to do it with a target on his back as the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft and arguably the most hyped player to enter the League since Sidney Crosby a decade ago.

"I thought he held his own," Oilers left wing Taylor Hall said following St. Louis' 3-1 win in the season opener for each team. "When you're 18 years old, you're playing against guys sometimes twice your age and not every play, not every game, is going to be easy. Tonight was no different, but I think you saw a lot of pushback from him and that's great to see."

'Real man' Benn ready to lead Stars to playoffs

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Dallas Stars president Jim Lites and general manager Jim Nill couldn't believe what they were watching during the summer, because two years ago something as small as forward Jamie Benn leading a group of men through offseason workouts seemed so unlikely, so out of character.

"He's like the pied piper now," Lites said. "You'd never think a veteran like Ales Hemsky is going to be following anybody around, but there he is, Jamie Benn leading him around like a little kid. There are probably a dozen guys who have that capability in the League."

Benn is best known for winning the Art Ross Trophy last season with 87 points, including 10 in his final three games, to edge New York Islanders captain John Tavares by one point. Lites, Nill and others know Benn differently; for who he is and what he means to the Stars.

It's in large part because of Benn's maturation into a leader that Nill, Lites and coach Lindy Ruff believe the Stars are poised to take the next step and become a legitimate contender in the Western Conference this season.

Three talented rookies forced way on to Blues roster

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- There was a sense during the summer that the St. Louis Blues would give forward Robby Fabbri a chance to make the opening-night roster out of training camp.

Fabbri, the Blues' first-round pick (No. 21) in the 2014 NHL Draft, left a lasting impression at camp last year before a shoulder injury cut his time short.

However, the rise of defensemen Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, two 22-year-olds, was something the Blues didn't necessarily anticipate but are happy to address.

Blackhawks know patience is necessary evil

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 12:57 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Toews understands the concept of having patience, how it can be a virtue, and why it's a particularly necessary asset for him and the Chicago Blackhawks to have at the start of this season.

That doesn't mean Toews, Chicago's captain, has to like the need for patience or wants any part of it. Haste is what Toews feels. A sense of urgency is the asset he wants his team to have. Slowly working into a season is not for him; it's not his style.

"Especially for myself, sometimes you want to go, you want things to work right away, and when they don't you can get frustrated," Toews said. "As a team I think we know how to handle that now."

Toews is hoping what he saw Wednesday is a sign of that urgency growing on the Blackhawks quickly.

Chicago's season started at United Center with a banner-raising ceremony signifying their Stanley Cup championship from last season. The night ended with the Blackhawks on the wrong end of the score in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers because of a slow start that led to a preventable goals in a poor first period and a deficit they couldn't overcome despite a strong second and third periods.

Blackhawks raise 2015 Cup championship banner

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 12:54 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- The countdown clock on the scoreboard above center ice, set at 26 minutes, started going down when the video board turned on, showing pictures of the Chicago Blackhawks' latest Stanley Cup championship run.

More videos played, displaying images of the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the celebration from June 15, the night the Blackhawks won the Cup on their home ice.

The show was on, banner-raising night at United Center, the third of its kind since 2010, and it was like a dance party came to the "Madhouse on Madison." The lights went off and arena staffers tossed giant, glowing balloons into the crowd. The wristlets that were on every seat started lighting up in unison.

Galchenyuk gives Canadiens boost in opener

Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 12:40 AM / NHL Insider

Tim Wharnsby - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Montreal Canadiens received the kind of play they have been accustomed to from Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban and Carey Price in their season opener Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But to see Alex Galchenyuk score his first regular-season game-winning goal since Dec. 16, 2014 in his first game as Montreal's second-line center was a welcome sight for the Canadiens in their 3-1 win against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

In his first three NHL seasons, Galchenyuk primarily has played the wing. Though last season was his most productive in the NHL, with 20 goals, the Montreal coaching staff wanted to see the 21-year-old become more involved and shoot more.

"There is no doubt we would like to see him taking the option of shooting the puck," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.

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