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Bracco makes most of chance at Prospects Game

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 11:46 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - 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."


Islanders returning to Brooklyn to play Devils

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 9:06 PM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

The New York Islanders are ready to return to Barclays Center in Brooklyn before moving there full-time next season.

The Islanders on Friday will play their second annual preseason game in the arena against the New Jersey Devils.

"It's something a lot of us are looking forward to," Islanders forward Colin McDonald said. "There may not be as much talk or as much hype in the room about this one. Everyone wants to play there though."


Avalanche promise to maintain style of play

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 5:52 PM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The Colorado Avalanche are a study in contradictions.

The Avalanche won the Central Division, arguably the toughest in the NHL last season, while finishing in the bottom half of the League in shots on goal per game (20th) and shots on goal against per game (25th). In fact, no team that qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs allowed more than the 32.7 shots on goal per game the Avalanche did, and three of the 16 playoff teams took fewer shots on goal per game.

Colorado has become a popular choice of the hockey analytics community for a regression this season because of the poor shot metrics, yet the Avalanche are built around a number of prime, young talents who are progressing in their NHL career.

The word "regression" is not the first one that jumps to mind when you think of Nathan MacKinnon (19 years old), Gabriel Landeskog (21), Matt Duchene (23), Ryan O'Reilly (23), Tyson Barrie (23), Erik Johnson (26) or Semyon Varlamov (26).


Flyers sign Sanheim to entry-level contract

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:34 PM / News

Defenseman Travis Sanheim, the Philadelphia Flyers' top pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, signed an entry-level contract with them Thursday. Terms were not disclosed.

Sanheim came to training camp with the Flyers and played in their 5-4 win against the Washington Capitals on Monday, and had two hits and one shot in 18:08 of ice time. He was reassigned to his junior team, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, on Wednesday. He had two assists in two games for the Hitmen before joining the Flyers for camp.


Trotz, Capitals find same page quickly at first camp

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - 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."


Recalibrated Rangers primed for another Cup run

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

From start to finish, 2013-14 must have seemed like 10 seasons in one for the New York Rangers, and not just because of their run to the Stanley Cup Final that had them playing well into June.

They would like to make a return trip to the Cup Final, but preferably without all the distractions they encountered last season.

Between offseason coaching changes, a grueling 3-6-0 road trip to start the season, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's negotiations on a contract extension, seven players participating in the 2014 Sochi Olympics and two games at Yankee Stadium as part of the NHL Stadium Series, there never was a dull moment for the Rangers.


Wild ready to prove themselves as title contender

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

John Kreiser - Managing Editor continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

The Minnesota Wild are coming off their first victory in a Stanley Cup Playoff series in 11 years. But to hear general manager Chuck Fletcher tell it, his team's second-round loss to the Chicago Blackhawks might have been even more valuable than the opening-round victory against the Colorado Avalanche.

"After we lost to Chicago, and even for a week or two afterward, there wasn't any sense of euphoria," he said. "I think everyone believes we're a competitive team and we can compete with the best teams in the League.

"It was an accomplishment, but I like the mindset of our group. I think everyone recognizes how competitive [the NHL] is and how difficult it is to win. We lost a series to Chicago and that stung. That's great when there's that sense that we could have done more and could have done better. It was great to make the playoffs and great to win a round, but I think our group was striving for more than just getting in."


Settling goaltending issues, Vanek's role key for Wild

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

John Kreiser - Managing Editor continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

All the arrows are pointing up for the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in back-to-back seasons, something they had managed only once before since entering the NHL in 2000. They won a playoff series last spring for the first time since advancing to the Western Conference Final in 2003. They also have an intriguing mix of veterans and talented young players.

"Clearly we're trending in the right direction," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "If I'm not mistaken, only 11 teams have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and we're one of them, so that's a small step in the right direction."


Wild's Vanek happy for chance to come home

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Dan Myers - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Possibly the worst kept secret in the hockey world during the past 12 months was Thomas Vanek's desire to explore the option of returning to his adopted home in the Twin Cities and play for the Minnesota Wild.

That desire became a reality July 1 when Vanek signed a three-year contract to play for the Wild, and in the process changed the way he approaches his hockey season.

No longer must he, his wife Ashley and their three sons pick up from their summer home in nearby Stillwater, Minn., and move somewhere else for the winter. They'll have the comforts of home year-round, including Thomas, who rolls out of bed and is a 20-minute drive from work.

"[The routine] changes, especially once the kids start school," Vanek said. "I would have been gone a good month already. You have to get back … for us it was Buffalo. You've got to get the kids settled. It's nice to stay here, train with my trainer and kind of get the full summer with him."


Rangers' McDonagh ready to assume leadership role

Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Days after the New York Rangers were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the Stanley Cup Final, defenseman Ryan McDonagh still was thinking about the shot, a power-play blast in overtime of Game 5 that beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick but hit the post. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored the Cup-winning goal in the second overtime.

Ready to assume a leadership role, and maybe even the captaincy, McDonagh still thinks about that shot sometimes. And the next time he gets that opportunity, he plans on burying it.

"There hasn't been too many times in my career where I've almost started to celebrate before [the puck goes in]," McDonagh said. "I thought the way it was shot, from the left side and the far post, I didn't see it go out right so I thought it was in."

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday