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Halverson prepared to re-prove himself as U.S. starter

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 3:40 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Don't tell goaltender Brandon Halverson he has a good shot at being named starter for the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland, to be played from Dec. 26, 2015 through Jan. 5, 2016.

Halverson, picked in the second round (No. 59) by the New York Rangers in the 2014 NHL Draft, is the only goalie at this week's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp with experience at the prestigious tournament. He was the backup to Vancouver Canucks prospect Thatcher Demko at the 2015 WJC, and earned a 6-0 victory against Germany with 14 saves in his only start.

Halverson, who became the first Rangers draft pick in franchise history to earn at least 40 wins in a season of junior hockey with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League, has made 34 saves on 38 shots in two exhibition games for the United States at the evaluation camp.

"I've been here and backed up [Demko] at the World Junior tournament last season," Halverson said. "For me, it doesn't really matter right now. I'm just trying to focus on playing the best I can every game because these are all new coaches, new players. Last year was last year and it doesn't matter and I think I have to re-prove myself. I really want to show everyone that I can be the starting goalie."

NHL, Major League Baseball Advanced Media form transformative digital-rights partnership

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 3:00 PM / News

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Sitting side-by-side in the NHL's midtown office, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his counterpart from Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, served perfectly as a symbol of the groundbreaking partnership between two of the most successful sports leagues in the world.

Commissioner Bettman and Commissioner Manfred on Tuesday announced a six-year digital media rights partnership between the NHL and Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the technical arm of Major League Baseball, that is expected to enhance the user experience across the League's digital platforms, including GameCenter Live, NHL Center Ice, NHL Network and

The deal also provides for an equity share for the NHL in a new tech company to be launched by MLBAM.

The launch of the NHL's digital products through the partnership with MLBAM is expected to take place in January. NeuLion, the NHL's current digital partner, will help facilitate the transition to MLBAM.

"It's really all about the fans and giving them the ability to not only continue to connect with the game, in what up until this point had been unprecedented ways, but to look to the future and our ability to create even richer content with even better access," Commissioner Bettman said. "It's transformational, to say the least. We think it's the type of deal that the ever-evolving technology age requires."

Commissioners Bettman, Manfred announce historic media rights partnership between NHL, MLBAM

First-of-Its-kind media partnership will transform the fan experience; NHL & MLBAM to team up to create new digital products & platforms; MLB Network to operate NHL Network in U.S. in state-of-the-art production facility

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 2:45 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League and Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, today announced a groundbreaking digital media rights partnership. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred jointly announced the six-year agreement at NHL headquarters.

The partnership will transform the fan experience by creating a fully integrated global hub of digital content that encompasses video, live game streaming, social media, fantasy, apps, along with statistical and analytical content. With an emphasis on deeper access into the game and telling the stories of NHL players, MLBAM and the NHL will collaborate on developing new digital products and platforms while enhancing current offerings.

Devils add Noel, Savard to scouting department

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 11:10 AM / News

Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils today expanded its scouting department by naming Andre Savard and Claude Noel as professional scouts. They join Bob Hoffmeyer on the team's pro scouting staff. The announcement was made by Devils' Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.

Savard, 61, joins the Devils' organization with more than 27 years of experience in coaching, scouting and management at the National Hockey League level. After a distinguished 12-year playing career, Savard retired following the 1984-85 season as a member of the Quebec Nordiques and joined their front office. Savard worked with the Nordiques for 10 seasons as an assistant coach, a head coach both in the AHL and NHL, a scout and the director of player development.

Marner, Kapanen among Maple Leafs' top 5 prospects

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are committed to building through the draft, so when they traded forward Phil Kessel this summer, it was important to get a first-round pick and a quality prospect (Kasperi Kapanen) from the Pittsburgh Penguins in return.

That trade came days after the Maple Leafs selected center Mitchell Marner in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, and one year after they selected another center, William Nylander, with their top pick.

Marner, Nylander and Kapanen are smaller players who are highly skilled. The Maple Leafs, traditionally one of the NHL's bigger teams, have put an emphasis on skill over size in recent drafts.

Despite missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons, Toronto is committed to not rushing its top prospects.

"We want our prospects to be ready for full-time employment when we call them up," assistant general manager Kyle Dubas said. "We don't want them to be going back and forth from the Maple Leafs to the minors."

Here is a look at the Maple Leafs' top five prospects, according to

Maple Leafs hope shakeup yields improvement

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

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

TORONTO -- Brendan Shanahan hopes reshaping the Toronto Maple Leafs front office and coaching staff will lead to a better on-ice product in the near future.

Shanahan's two major offseason moves were hiring Mike Babcock as coach May 20 and Lou Lamoriello as general manager July 23.

Babcock, 52, spent the past 10 seasons coaching the Detroit Red Wings. Under Babcock, the Red Wings made the Stanley Cup Playoffs every year, won the Cup in 2008 and made it to the Final the following year. Shanahan is so convinced Babcock is the man for the job in Toronto that he signed him to an eight-year contract reportedly worth $50 million.

Babcock's arrival brings optimism to Maple Leafs

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a transition phase, and it is clear there will be no quick fixes after they missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in back-to-back seasons. President Brendan Shanahan and new coach Mike Babcock have preached patience as they take their first steps toward trying to construct a winning team.

With sweeping changes this summer, including a trade that sent forward Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the 2015-16 Maple Leafs will bear little resemblance to recent editions. Considering they've made the playoffs once since 2004, it's a welcomed fresh start.

Here are four reasons for optimism:

Offense, goaltending among Maple Leafs questions

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs have a new coach and a new general manager as they try to rebound from a season that saw them finish 30 points out of a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With Mike Babcock behind the bench and Lou Lamoriello in the general manager's chair, second-year team president Brendan Shanahan is going all-in on his makeover of the Maple Leafs, who have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs once since 2004 and haven't won the Cup since 1967.

Here are three questions about the Maple Leafs moving forward:

Toronto Maple Leafs fantasy hockey outlook

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

As part of's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: James van Riemsdyk

My top-rated Maple Leafs player comes in at No. 100 overall in my offseason rankings. Over the past three seasons van Riemsdyk has scored 75 goals, good for 16th most in the NHL during that time. He is a talented player and he can score. No one is denying that. The question is, now that Phil Kessel has been traded, who is he going to play on a line with this season? Van Riemsdyk is certainly capable of scoring 25-plus goals and having 250-plus shots for a third consecutive season even without Kessel, but I'm not sure he'll help fantasy owners in any other category. Look to grab him as rounds 8-9 approach, but use caution.

Undervalued: Morgan Rielly

Rielly delivered more than anyone could've expected entering his second NHL season as a 20-year-old. He finished with eight goals, 21 assists, nine power-play points and 148 shots on goal in 81 games. Now entering his third season, Rielly could make the jump to the next level for fantasy defenseman, granted the level is still that of a No. 5 type fantasy blueliner. Rielly is loaded with potential and he's already put together quite a highlight reel in his short NHL tenure, but like van Riemsdyk, there just isn't much talent on the roster to work with. Along with Dion Phaneuf, Rielly should be one of the Maple Leafs' top power-play threats from the blue line, and if all goes well he could eclipse 35 points.

Bernier 'won't be sour' after arbitration with Leafs

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 7:53 PM / News

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier was offered a pay cut in arbitration and heard some things he would rather not in the hearing.

On Sunday, he wound up signing a two-year contract reportedly worth $8.3 million.

"There's obviously things they say that you don't want to hear, but at the same time I think you grow from those experiences," Bernier told the Maple Leafs website. "I won't be sour about it. I know it's part of the business."

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He's been one of our top players all year. Tonight he was by far our best player. There wasn't anybody in the same universe as him.

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