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NHL Insider

Islanders enjoy taste of Brooklyn, focus on present

Saturday, 09.27.2014 / 11:54 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- As the team bus rolled out of the Nassau Coliseum parking lot and headed west on the Long Island Expressway toward Brooklyn, New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic stared out the window and thought about the changes coming.

"Getting here, you're trying to figure out the plan of how you're going to fight the traffic to get in," Hamonic said. "Probably the train is one of the best options. I'm sure with more time it's going to feel at home."

Barclays Center started to feel a little more like home to the Islanders on Friday than it did a year ago. It was their second preseason game in as many Septembers in their future home, but this one felt different.

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Bracco makes most of chance at Prospects Game

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 11:46 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Jeremy Bracco may soon be a rival of Jack Eichel and Jordan Greenway, but Thursday they were teammates making things happen offensively.

Eichel scored a goal and set up Bracco for the first of his two goals, and Greenway had two assists when Team Grier defeated Team Olczyk 6-3 in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at First Niagara Center.

Bracco welcomed the chance to line up with players he may eventually face as opponents.

"It was definitely great," Bracco said. "[Eichel's] a great player. It was a big thing for my success and [Jordan's] success. We worked for each other and played for each other, so that was definitely big for us."

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Trotz, Capitals find same page quickly at first camp

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Even a minor play in the first period of the Washington Capitals' first preseason game has value to coach Barry Trotz. He sees everything now through the same prism:

Are they getting it?

This one play in particular Sunday at Verizon Center was a sign they are.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and defenseman Karl Alzner were tracking the puck in the defensive zone when they realized the Buffalo Sabres were positioning to try to make a play into what Trotz called a "soft area" of the zone. Ovechkin, playing deeper in the zone as he's supposed to support the defensemen, switched with Alzner, a move that threw off the Sabres. Ovechkin wound up intercepting a pass into that soft area and going the other way with the puck.

"He was taking care of his responsibility," Trotz said. "It's some things that make the game easier for us, little details that sometimes when you're playing you don't think about and you go, 'Ah, it's not going to matter that much.' But it ends up mattering enough to where it makes the game easier for you."

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Blue Jackets' identity leads to off-ice success

Wednesday, 09.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't just qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and win their first two postseason games in franchise history against the favored Pittsburgh Penguins last season. They won over the city of Columbus by cultivating a blue-collar identity.

With the 2015 NHL All-Star Game coming to Columbus on Jan. 25, and the Blue Jackets looking to make the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time, the team has been embraced by the community in a way not seen since the inaugural season of 2000-01.

"They're a hard team to play against. They beat us more than we beat them last year," forward Scott Hartnell said of the Blue Jackets after being traded to Columbus by the Philadelphia Flyers on June 23. "It was always a tough game. You were always getting checked, you were always getting hit."

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Maple Leafs trying their best to move forward

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 8:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- A new era dawned on the Toronto Maple Leafs when they reported for training camp Thursday, but aspects of the recent past remain.

Despite a remade front office and a message of new hope, the majority of the day was spent answering for the sins of the past, particularly missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, and sidestepping fresh controversies created before the 2014-15 team even took the ice for the first time.

"There's a tremendous amount of scrutiny that takes place," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We understand that. That's the education that we're trying to bring to our players, that this isn't easy. But no one said it was easy to play in the NHL. It's difficult. And there are days that are more difficult than others."

Thursday was difficult at times when Maple Leafs new and old arrived at MasterCard Centre for physicals and other off-ice activities before taking the ice Friday.

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Flyers hope to see Timonen return to good health

Tuesday, 09.16.2014 / 3:45 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PINE HILL, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers acknowledge there will be a sizable deficit to cover if defenseman Kimmo Timonen is out for a significant amount of time this season.

However, Timonen's teammates will trade his on-ice absence for knowing the 39-year-old will at least be healthy.

The Flyers announced Aug. 5 that Timonen had been diagnosed with blood clots in his lower right leg and both lungs. He spent time in a hospital in his native Finland receiving treatment, but has been in the Philadelphia area for about two weeks.

"Just good to see him around and in good spirits," defenseman Nicklas Grossmann said. "When things happen to people like that, you're always worried about the person. You don't really think much about the hockey player Kimmo, but about the person and his family and all that. You want him to get healthy quick."

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Canadiens view goalie Price as one of their leaders

Monday, 09.15.2014 / 8:32 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

LAVAL, Quebec – The word "transition" was used often at the Montreal Canadiens' annual charity golf tournament on Monday.

Carey Price
Carey Price - CAREER
Goalie - MTL
RECORD: 179-137-44
GAA: 2.52 | SVP: .917
General manager Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien used the word immediately to explain their decision to go without a captain for the second time in team history this season, instead naming Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban to serve as alternates.

The group represents the past, present and future of the team, and it's possible a new leader will indeed emerge from that group to replace the departed Brian Gionta and become Canadiens captain next summer.

But it is just as possible, if not likely, that the actual leader of the team was unofficially named when the team decided to forego naming a captain.

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Sabres' Trottier excited to be behind bench again

Sunday, 09.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Bryan Trottier was flattered when Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan started calling this summer with questions about hockey. He never expected those calls would result in a job offer.

More than a decade removed from his last stint behind an NHL bench, the Hockey Hall of Fame member now is working his way back into the League and excited to help a young Sabres team rebuild.

"He [Nolan] was calling to run some ideas by me," Trottier told NHL.com. "I'm thinking it's going to be about young kids and maybe I'll give him a hand here or there. It was really kind of neat when he asked the question."

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Stastny ready for new challenges with Blues

Friday, 09.12.2014 / 9:27 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Paul Stastny is excited to begin the second chapter of his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues this season.

The 28-year old center, who left the Colorado Avalanche this summer to sign a four-year, $28 million contract with the Blues, participated in his first informal skate Friday and said afterwards he was a little apprehensive when arrived in St. Louis this week.

Paul Stastny
Center - STL
GOALS: 25 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 60
SOG: 150 | +/-: 9
"I think there's a little nervousness … there always is," Stastny told the Blues' website. "I think that comes with the territory, whether it's a new locker room, whether it's the start of the season. I think everyone does. If you don't get nervous, I think you lose your excitement and the love of the game. But at the same time, I'm a quiet guy so I'll sit around and fly under the radar and kind of get used to what guys have that dry sense of humor and what guys don't, what guys you can push and what guys you can't. I think once the season starts, I think you each kind of lead by example on the ice and from there everything kind of falls [into place] in the locker room and away from the rink."
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Canadiens' Bozon ready to make his mark after illness

Friday, 09.12.2014 / 6:22 PM / NHL Insider

Emna Achour - LNH.com Staff Writer

BROSSARD, Quebec -- More than five months after being afflicted with a rare form of meningitis and nearly losing his life, Tim Bozon arrived at the Montreal Canadiens' training facility as ready as he's ever been to play hockey.

Speaking to the Montreal media for the first time since his illness as the Canadiens kicked off their rookie camp Friday, the 20-year-old forward prospect reassured everyone he is in perfect health.

"If I wasn't at 100 percent then I wouldn't be here today," said Bozon, a third-round pick (No. 64) by the Canadiens in the 2012 NHL Draft. "There was no pressure from the Canadiens, but I know they won't be doing me any favors, either. That's normal; this is a sports environment and it's competitive. It's up to me to carve out a niche. As of [Saturday], I want to be a normal player, act like nothing ever happened and turn the page."

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