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Drury, Schneider head U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame class

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 12:44 PM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Chris Drury, Mathieu Schneider, Angela Ruggiero and Ron DeGregorio will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, it was announced by USA Hockey on Monday.

The 43rd U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinement dinner and ceremony will be held in Boston on Dec. 17.

The NHL's Lester Patrick Trophy, awarded annually for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, also will be presented.

Capitals' Backstrom expected back for training camp

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 10:52 AM / News

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is progressing well after having arthroscopic hip surgery in late May, general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday.

Backstrom had the surgery May 28 and is expected to be back in time for training camp next month.

"I heard he started skating just recently, so that's a good sign," MacLellan said.

Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik is expected to be ready for opening night after having surgery on his wrist last Tuesday, MacLellan confirmed.

Resurgence of Smith big question for Coyotes

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Since reaching the Western Conference Final in 2012, the Arizona Coyotes have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs and bottomed out last season with the second-worst record in the NHL.

But general manager Don Maloney believes a return to better days is not far away.

Here are three questions that could bring them back sooner rather than later:

Emerging Ekman-Larsson has Coyotes optimistic

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - Staff Writer

The Arizona Coyotes finished last season with the worst record in the Western Conference, the second-worst record in the NHL, and their worst record since moving to Arizona prior to the 1996-97 season.

The Coyotes (24-50-8) couldn't score and were scored on too much, with a goal differential of minus-102. Not much went right for Arizona, which missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season.

But plenty of moves were made this offseason to try to correct these issues.

Arizona signed experienced backup goalie Anders Lindback, gritty forwards Steve Downie and John Scott, and Antoine Vermette and Brad Richardson to hopefully alleviate some of the offensive woes.

Here are four other reasons for optimism in Arizona:

Domi, Duclair among Coyotes' top five prospects

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - Staff Writer

The Arizona Coyotes have reason for optimism because of young talent that likely will be in the NHL in the near future.

It starts with forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, who each has a good chance to make the roster out of training camp. Forward Dylan Strome, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, probably will spend the season in the American Hockey League, but he and forwards Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini could reach the NHL in 2015-16.

Defensemen Brandon Gormley, Philip Samuelsson and Klas Dahlbeck are likely to be staples for years to come.

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

Coyotes confident improvement on the way

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - Staff Writer continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The Arizona Coyotes had two big problems last season.

"Not only couldn't we score last year, we couldn't defend," general manager Don Maloney said.

This season, Maloney expects at least a revamped defense to be much improved.

"Bringing back Zbynek Michalek, who's a core guy for us, you know what you're getting out of him," Maloney said in late July. "Nick Grossman, we are adding him to our mix; two guys who just give us stability on our blue line. Klas Dahlbeck came in and had a pretty impressive year … as did Connor Murphy. Brandon Gormley comes in and establishes a name for himself.

"Long story short, I know we are going to be a better team next year."

Last season, the Coyotes had the worst record in the Western Conference and were 11-25-5 at Gila River Arena, their worst home record since they moved to Arizona 19 years ago. It included three home losing streaks of at least eight games.

Arizona Coyotes 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: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Ekman-Larsson was one of two defensemen in the NHL to lead his team in scoring (Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators was the other). However, he was the only blueliner to lead his team in goals and points (23 and 43, respectively). His 23 goals led all NHL defensemen and his 38 goals over the past two seasons are tied for second most among blueliners (Karlsson has 41). Ekman-Larsson, 24, should continue to improve while Arizona begins to deploy its youth movement (see deep sleeper below) and if his plus/minus improves, he could end up turning into a top-10 fantasy defenseman.

Undervalued: Steve Downie

PIMs, PIMs and more PIMs. As long as your league counts penalty minutes as a category, Downie needs to be drafted with one of your final picks. In the past two seasons, only Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars has more PIMs (357) than Downie's 344. However, Downie accomplished that number in 27 fewer games. Downie is also capable of chipping in offensively after scoring 14 goals and 14 assists with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

Crouse plans to be leader for Canada at World Juniors

Sunday, 08.02.2015 / 8:29 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Lawson Crouse was looking for any opportunity to play for Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship.

As one of two players in Canada's camp eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, Crouse, 17 at the time, had one mission: bull his way on to the final roster.

"Going in, I was just there to do whatever I could to make that team," Crouse told "I was there with the attitude that I was going to stick and if not, make it hard for the coaches to send me home. I guess I just went in with a positive attitude and tried to get better each and every day. I'm glad it paid off. It led to the gold medal, which was a surreal experience for myself and something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Trio of goalies aim for shot with Canada at 2016 WJC

Sunday, 08.02.2015 / 6:16 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Canada's goaltending situation at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is a long way from being determined.

But the three goaltenders participating in Hockey Canada's national junior team summer development camp aren't shying away from making it known that they're up for the task of defending World Junior gold.

"It would mean everything," said Mason McDonald at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, hoping to be the starter for the tournament that starts Dec. 26, 2015 and runs through Jan. 5, 2016 in Finland. "It's something I've dreamed of ever since I was young. It's what I've worked the last few summers for. I've thought about it so much. I'm just really excited to have the opportunity this week."

Bernier signs two-year contract with Maple Leafs

Sunday, 08.02.2015 / 1:52 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Goalie Jonathan Bernier signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Financial terms were not released, but Sportsnet reported it is worth $8.3 million, an average annual value of $4.15 million.

"I was happy we were able to get a deal done," Bernier said in comments tweeted by the Maple Leafs. "Now I can focus on training camp and get ready for the season."

Bernier, 26, requested a one-year, $5.1 million contract; the Maple Leafs offered a one-year $2.89 million contract, according to Sportsnet. Bernier had a team-elected arbitration hearing Friday.

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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