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2013-2014 Season Preview

Fresh faces, outlook have Devils energized for camp

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 5:13 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils began the on-ice portion of training camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center on Thursday with several new faces and a fresh outlook.

"It's always great to get back it at and feel the competitive spirit again," Devils captain Bryce Salvador told

Goalie Martin Brodeur agreed.

"I think change can be healthy and I'm looking forward to what the new additions will bring to our team," Brodeur said. "I'm looking forward to adjustments we made with our team and the way we're going to play. Most of us know the system, but it's not rocket science. [The new players] will figure it out."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer added some intrigue to the first day of practice, which featured three sessions, when he had newcomers and fellow Newfoundland natives Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe working together on the same line as Adam Henrique.

Pronger missing the ice, happy with Flyers' moves

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 5:02 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Pronger is at an NHL training camp for the 21st time, but this one is a bit different.

Twenty years ago this month, Pronger arrived for Hartford Whalers training camp months after being the second pick of the 1993 NHL Draft.

This marks the first September since then that he hasn't spent the summer preparing for an NHL season.

"It's not the same from that standpoint of coming to the rink knowing you've got a purpose and knowing you're coming to start preparing for the season, preparing for hopefully a long stretch drive, a roll through the playoffs and achieving your goal," Pronger told reporters. "Coming to the rink is always an adrenaline rush. Seeing the guys, coming into the locker room, seeing the staff, that's always fun to be around. It can be a little depressing at times knowing you're not able to be where you want to be."

Improving Islanders could get even younger

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:46 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Fielding one of the youngest rosters in the NHL last season, the New York Islanders enjoyed a bounce-back season in which they made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years. Their late-season run was sparked primarily by a young core that began to coalesce after a few years of grooming.

Looking to prove that 2012-13 wasn't a fluke, the Islanders might actually be getting younger.

"We've obviously got some great guys waiting in the wings that are going to be pushing guys. That's what's great about our organization. We've developed that depth and you've got guys knocking on the door every year and that really pushes guys on our team to be sure they're ready for camp," said John Tavares, who at age 22 is one of the NHL's youngest captains. "I wouldn't be surprised [if the team gets younger]. We have some great talent from the draft who did great in junior and in [the American Hockey League with] Bridgeport. Obviously we have some talent down there."

Blackhawks' Bickell out to continue playoff production

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:34 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Two days after hoisting the 2013 Stanley Cup with Chicago Blackhawks teammates, Bryan Bickell picked up a hockey bag full of his equipment and a tendon snapped in his left thumb.

"I guess it was hanging by a thread," Bickell said Thursday after taking the ice for the first day of Chicago's training camp at Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Arena. "It just popped and I had to get surgery."

Bickell, whose great run in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs earned him a four-year contract extension worth a reported $4 million a year, got slashed on the hand in a previous round. It swelled up near the thumb and a cyst formed, which blocked blood flow to the tendon and caused it to disintegrate.

Capitals hope Laich's latest ailment is a quick heal

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:16 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Brooks Laich is so highly regarded in the Washington Capitals' dressing room that even the team captain and face of the franchise doesn't hesitate or stutter when referring to him as "our leader."

"Off the ice and on the ice," Alex Ovechkin continued. "We need him badly."

The Capitals had him for about 10 minutes Thursday morning before Laich gave the team its first "uh-oh" moment of the season. He walked off the ice and did not return because of pain he felt in his left hip flexor.

Laich missed all but nine games last season with a nagging groin injury that eventually required surgery and forced him to also miss the Capitals' seven-game run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. To see him go off with another injury after barely breaking a sweat in training camp was difficult to watch and somewhat emotional to the guys who know what he went through last season.

Lecavalier earns rave reviews in first Flyers practice

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:28 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- After 14 seasons in the same place, there wasn't a whole lot new for Vincent Lecavalier to accomplish with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

So while he was disappointed when the team bought out the final seven years of his contract in June, he said he's more than excited for the fresh start he's getting with the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I'm excited for this challenge and this new opportunity," Lecavalier said Thursday after his first official training camp practice as a member of the Flyers. "Sometimes when you are somewhere for too long … it's a different feel and it's exciting. It's exciting for me, it's exciting for my family. It's something new.

Unrestricted free agents: Six looking for work

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Players began reporting for physicals Wednesday as NHL training camps officially got started, but some familiar names are sitting at home trying to find employment for the 2013-14 season.

The salary cap was reset at $64.3 million this season, nearly $6 million less than last season. This has forced some teams to shed contracts in order to be cap-compliant heading into training camp; other teams aren't willing to spend beyond their organizational budget. That combination has left many unrestricted free agents who have logged long hours on NHL ice with no team to report to.

Some unrestricted free agents have accepted professional tryout invitations, including Dan Cleary with the Philadelphia Flyers, even though he did not report Wednesday. However, the majority can't even get as far as the PTO.

Here are seven high-profile unrestricted free agents (listed in alphabetical order) who remain unemployed:

Goalies have short time to adjust to pad length

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 7:30 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Rule changes to goaltending equipment will have an impact on the 2013-14 NHL season.

Most notably, the maximum height for goaltender's pads has been reduced by an average of 2 inches, meaning many goalies will have to alter to some degree the way they play the game.

How much of an impact, and for how long, is a big question heading into this season. The answer varies from goalie to goalie, depending on the amount of pad height lost and style of play.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Jason LaBarbera said he was a bit shocked when he saw his shorter pads for the first time.

"My buddies who play rec league said they look like street hockey pads," LaBarbera told on the eve of training camp.

Rangers players starting camp with 'clean slate'

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:41 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Alain Vigneault's motto for his first training camp with the New York Rangers was written on his players' backs as they went through a series of off-ice medical testing at the team's practice facility.

"They're walking around with a T-shirt that says, 'Clean slate, grab it,'" Vigneault said during his first press conference of training camp. "Everybody has a clean slate. Everybody is going to get a chance. It might not be a long chance, but they're going to get a chance, an opportunity, and it's up to them to grab it."

Never during his 20-minute session with the media on Wednesday did Vigneault reference something specific that happened previously in New York, and he shot down the notion that the team needs to go through a culture change after four-plus seasons with former coach John Tortorella.

NHL training camps schedule and information

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:05 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

NHL training camps have begun. Take a look at when all 30 teams will hit the ice and play in their first preseason game.

Team Physicals On Ice Time First Preseason Game
Atlantic Division
BOS Sept. 11 Sept. 12 10:00 AM Sept. 16 at MTL
BUF Sept. 11 Sept. 12 8:45 AM Sept. 15 at MTL
DET Sept. 11 Sept. 12 TBD Sept. 16 at PIT
FLA Sept. 11 Sept. 12 9:00 AM Sept. 16 vs. NSH

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