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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
(Page 4 of 6)
2012-2013 Season Preview

Blues look to duplicate last season's Central title

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

After a 109-point season, the St. Louis Blues spent the summer locking up the talent that made it happen instead of making changes after a second-round playoff exit.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong signed forward David Perron to a four-year deal, then followed that by securing forward T.J. Oshie with a five-year deal. Perron, 24, and Oshie, 26, had arguably their best offensive seasons as professionals. Oshie had a career-best 54 points in 80 games, and Perron's 42 points were nine short of a career high, but he reached that number in just 57 games after returning from a concussion.

"With both David and T.J., those are two players that we've spent quite a bit of time cultivating and ... it was important for our organization to keep these players through the prime of their careers," Armstrong told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "Both of these players, especially David Perron at such a young age coming into the League, he'll be right in the middle of his prime years when his contract is up in four years. T.J. Oshie is a little older and signed up for a longer time.

"It's important to have these guys that we believe can be a large part of the solution signed up."

It's not just Oshie and Perron who are back -- it's almost everyone.

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With Nash in New York, new era begins in Columbus

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

Of all the roster moves made this offseason across the NHL, perhaps none will have a greater long-term effect on the team involved than the departure of Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The captain for the better part of the past five seasons and a member of the organization since being drafted first in 2002, Nash was the face of the young franchise for nearly a decade. He holds team records for games (674), goals (289) and assists (258).

That's all over now, and the Blue Jackets are again left searching for an identity. After six months of rumors dating to the trade deadline, general manager Scott Howson sent Nash, prospect Steven Delisle and a conditional third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft to the New York Rangers in exchange for forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round pick in 2013 on July 23.

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New era begins in Detroit without Lidstrom

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock spent last summer doing what he always does -- jotting down line combinations and defense pairings on napkins while enjoying time with his family at their lake house in Saskatchewan. And, as always, Babcock's stomach churns with nervous energy and excitement when he thinks about the upcoming NHL season.

"I'm scared to death," he told NHL.com. "I'm always scared to death in the summer."

He had more reason to be scared this past summer than any other since he took over in Detroit. For the first time in seven years, Babcock couldn't write down the name Nicklas Lidstrom on his array of napkins.

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Predators still confident with Weber, Rinne extensions

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Nashville Predators are still chasing that elusive Stanley Cup, but they continue to show they're willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill their dream.

Whether it's trading first-round draft picks for veteran players or matching a mammoth offer sheet for its franchise player and captain, Nashville brass will not rest until it's parading Lord Stanley around Music City.

That challenge grew bigger last summer when the Predators lost defenseman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild via free agency. Suter, who along with Shea Weber formed one of the top defensive pairings in the NHL, signed a 13-year deal with the Wild on July 4.

Two weeks later, the Philadelphia Flyers tried to pry Weber away, signing the Predators' captain -- who was a restricted free agent -- to a 14-year offer sheet. Nashville had a week to match it but didn't need the full seven days to announce it wasn't about to allow Weber to leave town too.

Though it won't be easy to replace someone of Suter's caliber, Predators general manager David Poile said he believes it is an opportunity for another player within the organization to step up and help fill the void. And with Weber still in the mix, and Pekka Rinne between the pipes, the chance to win remains solid.

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What key questions face Central Division teams?

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

NHL.com Staff

The wait for the 2012-13 season is nearly over. What questions do each NHL team need to answer to be successful, and do they have the resources to provide said responses? Well, let's take a division-by-division look at some of the key quandaries for each NHL franchise as the campaign beckons. Next up is the Central Division, which is light two world-class defensemen but could still boast four playoff teams.

Blackhawks CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

The Chicago Blackhawks put up 101 points last season, good enough to be one of 10 teams in the NHL to crack the century mark. It didn't matter because, for the second straight season since winning the Stanley Cup, they were knocked off in the first round of the playoffs. The good thing for the Blackhawks is unlike in 2010-11, the season after a summer of being crushed by salary-cap constraints, they feel they know exactly what went wrong last season.

1. Will the goaltending duo of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery be good enough?

Crawford won 30 games last season, but it was a struggle as he allowed three or more goals in 27 of his 57 appearances in the regular season and in five of his six appearances in the playoffs. Instead of building on a strong finish to the 2010-11 season, he went backward with a 2.72 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and zero shutouts in 57 appearances.

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Decisions on Eller, Galchenyuk highlight Habs camp

Monday, 01.14.2013 / 6:32 PM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec – While Scott Gomez was never expected to play a major role on the 2012-13 Montreal Canadiens, his sudden departure prior to the start of training camp Sunday nevertheless creates a void on the team that a young player could be expected to slide into.

And from the sounds of it, coach Michel Therrien may want that young player to be Lars Eller.

"I saw Lars Eller play the last few years, and he's at a stage where he's got to take another step," Therrien said Monday after the second day of training camp. "He's got potential, he's a young player and he's still developing, but there's a time in a career where you want a player to bring his game to another level and this is what I'm expecting from him."

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Zajac, Bryzgalov need to be major factors in Atlantic

Monday, 01.14.2013 / 9:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With the 2012-13 NHL season ready to begin, teams will be scrambling on a nightly basis to earn points and clinch a spot in what is primed to be a wild 48-game race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

A condensed schedule means more games in a short amount of time, and teams will be relying on every player on their roster to contribute. NHL.com takes a closer look at the players who will need to be major factors for Atlantic Division squads:

Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils -- Healthy and raring to go, Zajac will be relied upon heavily to provide offense due to the departure of former captain Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild. An Achilles injury limited Zajac to 15 regular-season games in 2011-12, but he played a huge role in New Jersey's surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final -- the center had 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 24 playoff contests.

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What key questions face Atlantic Division teams?

Monday, 01.14.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

The wait for the 2012-13 season is nearly over. What questions do each NHL team need to answer to be successful, and do they have the resources to provide said responses? Well, let's take a division-by-division look at some of the key quandaries for each NHL franchise as the campaign beckons. First up is the Atlantic Division, which could again stake a claim to being the League's toughest.

Devils NEW JERSEY DEVILS


The New Jersey Devils came two victories short of winning the fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history last season, but a key member of that run no longer is with the organization. How the club overcomes the loss of Zach Parise via free agency certainly will go a long way in predicting their playoff fortunes.

1. How will the Devils overcome the loss of Zach Parise?

Parise had 31 goals and 69 points in 82 regular-season games last season, his first as captain. He was sixth in the League in playoff scoring with 15 points -- including eight goals -- in 24 postseason games. While it is true Parise is irreplaceable, let's not forget that the Devils were without top-line center Travis Zajac for all but 15 games last season after he suffered a left Achilles tendon injury in August.

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Devils try to move on after losing Parise

Monday, 01.14.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New Jersey Devils had a busy offseason after giving their fans plenty to cheer about during the 2011-12 regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

First and foremost, captain Zach Parise departed, signing a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 4. Though the departure of one of the most respected players in team history was a tough pill to swallow, Devils coach Peter DeBoer is confident his team will persevere.

"We have to," DeBoer said. "I think the thing we've shown last year and even in prior years here is this program is bigger than individual people, and we found a way over the years to fill holes."

Forwards Alexei Ponikarovsky (signed by the Winnipeg Jets) and Eric Boulton (New York Islanders), and defenseman Matt Taormina (Tampa Bay Lightning) also departed via free agency. In addition, DeBoer lost two assistant coaches: Adam Oates and Larry Robinson. Oates left to become coach of the Washington Capitals and Robinson joined the San Jose Sharks as an associate coach.

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Penguins aim to rebound after early playoff ouster

Monday, 01.14.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2012-2013 Season Preview

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

From superlative to stunned in about 156 minutes -- that was the story of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After nearly two full seasons of playing without at least one of their stars because of injury, the Penguins were at full strength and considered one of the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup Final. In what would become a theme throughout their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Penguins charged to a lead in Game 1, up 3-0 at the first intermission.

Then it all fell apart.

Pittsburgh's goal prevention had been suspect in the final weeks of the season, but the swiftness of the Penguins' collapse was incredible. The Flyers rallied for a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1, then crushed the Penguins, 8-5 and 8-4, in the next two contests before eventually finishing off a defense-optional series in six games.

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday