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2011 Offseason News

Garth Snow discusses his five years as Isles' GM

Monday, 07.18.2011 / 9:54 AM / 2011 Offseason News

John Kreiser - Columnist

"I've learned a lot on this side of hockey. For me, when the whole process unfolded, going through the interview process in the spring right after that (2005-06) season ended, brings back fond memories of where we were then and where we are now. You'll see the skill and the high quality of the players we have in our system." -- Garth Snow

Five years ago today, Garth Snow moved from the New York Islanders' crease to the general manager's office.

On July 18, 2006, Snow traded his pads and goaltending gear for a suit and tie when he succeeded Neil Smith -- fired after six weeks on the job -- as general manager of the Islanders.

Snow went for it in his first season, pulling off a major deadline-day deal to bring in Ryan Smyth and then watching his team make the playoffs thanks to a shootout win on the final day of the season. But after the Isles were eliminated by Buffalo in five games and the Islanders missed the playoffs in 2007-08, Snow changed course, opting for a total rebuild in hopes of growing a Stanley Cup contender rather a team chasing eighth place every year.

Sharp to play anywhere Blackhawks put him

Sunday, 07.17.2011 / 4:29 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO  -- Now that Stan Bowman's offseason plan for the Chicago Blackhawks is nearly complete, fans have turned their attention to the next order of business: signing star forward Patrick Sharp to a contract extension.

Bowman, Chicago's vice president and general manager, is thinking along the same lines, though his timeline for getting a deal done probably isn't as urgent as the fans. Bowman, who couldn't start negotiating with Sharp's camp until July 1, was in the same position regarding star defenseman Brent Seabrook last year.

That one wasn't resolved until late in the season, and Sharp's new deal could take just as long -- or it could be announced quicker. Neither side is giving much indication about far along talks are at this point, and there's also a chance no deal is reached and Sharp hits the open market as an unrestricted free agent next July.

Sharp, however, said he isn't concerned.

Bowman adds size, toughness to Blackhawks roster

Saturday, 07.16.2011 / 5:38 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – There might be a minor move or two left to complete, but the Chicago Blackhawks are basically set for the rest of this offseason.

There is still the matter of how unsigned restricted free agent defenseman Chris Campoli will depart the Windy City – via a trade or unrestricted free agency after being unable to agree on a new deal – but otherwise this is likely the team Chicago will start training camp with in September.

What that team should be, at least from the looks of things, is a one with a lot of new faces that will add the grit and in some cases downright nastiness Hawks' management and coaches felt was missing last season.

Chicago will still be fronted by a star-studded "core group" of guys that include captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, but most of the new role players brought in via free agency or trade will be expected to complement all that skill with a blend of toughness, skill and veteran leadership.

Jets add three to coaching staff

Friday, 07.15.2011 / 1:31 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

The Winnipeg Jets have announced three additions to coach Claude Noel's staff -- assistant coach Charlie Huddy, goaltending coach Wade Flaherty and video coach Tony Borgford.

Huddy, 52, has been an assistant coach in the NHL for the past 12 seasons with the Rangers, Oilers and Stars. He was with the Oilers from 2000-09, including the Oilers' run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

Panthers sign top 2010 pick Gudbranson

Friday, 07.15.2011 / 12:52 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

On his way to becoming the third pick -- and first defenseman taken -- at the 2010 Entry Draft, Erik Gudbranson also was excelling off the ice, winning the Canadian Hockey League academic player of the year award last year.

That knowledge helped Gudbranson understand that as nice as it was to sign his entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers on Friday, it's just one step in reaching his ultimate goal -- playing in the National Hockey League.

"The way I'm looking at it now is it's a big achievement but a little step," Gudbranson said. "It's a big team to make. It's the National Hockey League, the toughest League in the world. I'm going to work my tail off to be here next year and make a difference on the team."

Twitter unites newest Ranger and famed rock drummer

Friday, 07.15.2011 / 12:43 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

If Brad Richards wasn't a Motley Crue fan before, he might be one now.

The New York Rangers center was staying at a hotel in New York this week and went to check his Twitter account, @BRichards_1991, on one of the hotel's computers on Thursday.

When he left, Richards forgot to do one very important thing -- log out of his account.

When the next patron sat down to use the computer, he had the online equivalent of an open wallet in front of him. However, the next person at the computer wasn't just any guy off the street.

Devils' top pick Larsson signs three-year deal

Friday, 07.15.2011 / 12:13 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The waiting game is over for Adam Larsson, the top defenseman taken and the No. 4 pick at the 2011 Entry Draft.
New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello made that possible on Thursday night, when he put the finishing touches on signing the 6-foot-2 1/2, 197-pound Swede to a three-year, entry-level contract. According to The Bergen Record, Larsson received a maximum entry-level salary of $925,000.
For Larsson, a participant at Devils rookie camp this week at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center, the deal is just one more step to realizing his dream.

Crosby on the ice, back to off-season training

Friday, 07.15.2011 / 10:09 AM / 2011 Offseason News

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- This is what Pittsburgh Penguins fans have been waiting to hear for months: Sidney Crosby is back on skates.
Crosby, who missed the second half of the NHL season due to a concussion, is skating again as part of his normal offseason workouts. As usual, Crosby is doing his summertime conditioning work in his native Nova Scotia.
Penguins General Manager Ray Shero confirmed Friday that Crosby is skating for the first time since April 20, when headaches caused the team captain to shut down his workouts during a first-round playoff series loss to Tampa Bay.
"Everything has gone well," Shero said during the Penguins' player development camp here at Consol Energy Center. "There are no red flags."

Cole embracing all that comes with being a Hab

Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 8:15 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Que. -- Erik Cole got a very quick indication that he's not in Carolina anymore.

Cole was at the Montreal Canadiens' practice facility Thursday to skate with some youngsters taking part in the team's summer hockey camp, sign some autographs and show the local media his unusual new jersey number.

About 25 members of the local and national media came to watch the event and speak to the Canadiens' big summer free-agent acquisition for the first time on home soil.

When asked if he was surprised to see the turnout for an event of this nature in the middle of summer, Cole said the day actually was a very meaningful one for him.

"You guys might not be excited about it, but I am," Cole said. "It's a big day for me and my family, and hopefully it's a big day and a good day for the Montreal Canadiens."

Taste of NHL leaves Niederreiter wanting more

Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 6:09 PM / 2011 Offseason News

Greg Picker - Staff Writer

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- A taste of the NHL last season has Nino Niederreiter eager for more.

After making Niederreiter the highest-chosen Swiss player in draft history when they took him with the fifth pick of the 2010 Entry Draft, the New York Islanders thought enough of Niederreiter to keep him on the roster when they broke camp last fall. He even scored his first NHL goal.

But after nine games, the maximum before the first year of his entry-level deal would have kicked in, the Islanders sent Niederreiter back to his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.

Although his time in the NHL was short, it helped Niederreiter understand what he needs to do to make it at the next level. 
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