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Rangers agree to terms with center Jarret Stoll

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 5:45 PM / News

David Satriano - Staff Writer

After winning the Stanley Cup twice in the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, Jarret Stoll is hoping to help the New York Rangers achieve that goal this season.

Stoll, who became an unrestricted free agent July 1, agreed to a contract with the Rangers on Monday. Terms were not released, but Sportsnet reported it's for one year, $800,000.

"I realize how good an opportunity it is to play with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden," Stoll told Blueshirts United. "I know what I can bring to the team, and I just want to help the Rangers."

Blues center Lehtera has successful ankle surgery

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 4:45 PM / News

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues are hopeful center Jori Lehtera will be available for the start of the regular season after he had successful ankle surgery last week.

It's expected Lehtera will need 6-8 weeks to recover after he had surgery on his right ankle Aug. 4, the Blues said Monday.

Lehtera sustained the injury during the last week of the regular season after taking a puck off his ankle, but he played through it.

"We were hopeful with time the ankle would settle down and be ready," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "[Lehtera] was still sore, and we opted for surgery now so he would be available to us for the regular season."

Red Wings 'all really happy' Blashill is coach: Sheahan

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 4:04 PM / News

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Jeff Blashill has yet to coach a game in the NHL, but he's already earned praise from several Detroit Red Wings, including forward Riley Sheahan.

"I think we're all really happy," Sheahan told the Red Wings website Monday. "You can see the job that he's done in Grand Rapids (the Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate) and so many of us have played there and played with him, especially the Calder Cup team. He's had so much success everywhere that he's gone, so I think all of the guys are pretty happy."

Bruins' Rask ready for heavy workload again if needed

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 2:34 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

MIDDLETON, Mass. -- With about a month remaining before the start of training camp, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said he isn't any worse for wear after the most taxing season of his NHL career.

Rask played a career-high 70 games last season for the Bruins, who would've needed more from the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner had they not missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Surprisingly, the 28-year-old said it didn't take too long for him to recover from the grind of the 2014-15 season. Rask recently returned to the Boston area and Monday participated in the Putts and Punches for Parkinson's Golf Tournament, hosted by former Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, at Ferncroft Country Club.

"Not crazy," Rask said about his offseason recovery time. "I think obviously it's mentally draining when you're battling for that playoff spot and you play a lot of games in a row and stuff like that. You always feel kind of exhausted afterwards. But then when you do nothing for a week or two, then you're kind of like, 'All right, let's play hockey again.' You're kind of rejuvenated. I didn't feel like I took too much time than usual."

Add of Niemi gives Stars faith in goaltending tandem

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 9:20 AM / News

Mike Battaglino - Staff Writer

Dallas Stars owner Tom Gagliardi had one very good reason to add Antti Niemi to Kari Lehtonen on their goaltending depth chart.

"I think it is pretty hard on Kari when we give him a night off and we never win," Gagliardi told the Stars website last week.

The Stars signed Niemi to a three-year contract on June 29 after acquiring him in a trade with the San Jose Sharks. He is expected to compete with Lehtonen for the No. 1 job, though it is more likely they will split time almost evenly.

Cullen chasing another Cup title with Penguins

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

Matt Cullen has been around long enough to know his NHL career is nearing an end. The 38-year-old forward signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins last week with the intention of winning the Stanley Cup one more time.

"You don't get many opportunities to make a run at a Stanley Cup," Cullen told the Penguins website. "Having been there once before, I understand how hard it is to get there and I'd just love to get another chance at it. I've lost to Pittsburgh twice in the playoffs (in 2009 with the Carolina Hurricanes and 2010 with the Ottawa Senators), so it'll be fun to be on their side going after it instead of chasing them around."

Questions for Avalanche start with state of defense

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

COLORADO -- The Colorado Avalanche will need to tighten their defensive play for a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after falling short last season. Overworked goalies Semyon Varlamov, Reto Berra and Calvin Pickard faced 40 or more shots on goal a combined 16 times, and they permitted four or more non-shootout goals 21 times.

The Avalanche also need to regain their swagger on offense. Their goal production fell from 250 to 219, the power play skidded from the fifth-best percentage in the NHL to 29th, and they were shut out eight times.

Game management and puck possession were other troublesome areas.

Here are three questions facing the Avalanche this season:

Rantanen, Pickard lead Avalanche's top five prospects

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

COLORADO -- The Colorado Avalanche are committed to building through the NHL Draft, using free agents to fill in the gaps while waiting for their prospects to mature.

"This is where we're going to have to focus," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "If we feel that we need to have a free agent to give time to our young guys to develop, we will do that. But we truly believe that the draft will be the key in our success."

The Avalanche have been stockpiling promising defensemen in the system, but right wing Mikko Rantanen, goalie Calvin Pickard and center Joey Hishon have the best chance of playing in the NHL this season.

Here is a look at the Avalanche's top five prospects, according to

Varlamov, young forwards give Avalanche optimism

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

COLORADO -- The Colorado Avalanche learned last season that a successful start is just as important as a good stretch drive. They finished strong but ended last in the Central Division and 11th in the Western Conference with 90 points, seven points out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Avalanche are determined to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"Sometimes the reality is you have to go through it," coach Patrick Roy said. "I truly believe our team will be much better because of it. I'm sure everybody is going to take a deep look at what we did and come in with a totally different mindset."

Here are four reasons the Avalanche should be optimistic:

Roy determined to get Avalanche back in playoffs

Monday, 08.10.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

COLORADO -- Changes were inevitable when the Colorado Avalanche missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, the fourth time in the past five seasons they failed to qualify.

They went from first place in the Central Division in 2013-14 to last with a 39-31-12 record and 90 points, seven short of the playoffs. Patrick Roy coached them to 112 points his first season to win the Jack Adams Award.

"I'm here to win the Stanley Cup," Roy said. "I'm not in Denver to see us missing the playoffs, I'm here to see us winning. I really want to make sure that's the last time we're missing the playoffs. It makes you very humble. First time I missed the playoffs as a coach in junior and the NHL."

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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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