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AHL Notebook: Marlies' Keefe key in Toronto rebuild

Tuesday, 10.13.2015 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

Adding general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock attracted most of the headlines for the Toronto Maple Leafs this past summer.

But what happens a five-minute drive from Air Canada Centre with the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies this winter is where the on-ice future begins for the Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs' organizational overhaul and the rebuilding process that begins this season will hinge on new Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe being able to open a pipeline of talent from Ricoh Coliseum to Air Canada Centre. Toronto management has provided Keefe, 35, with plenty of resources and raw talent to do so.

"I know that when I played we didn't have [dressing] rooms or amenities like this here at Ricoh [Coliseum]," said Keefe, who played in parts of four AHL seasons. "In this organization, the resources around the players and the attention to detail in all areas of development is top-notch."

Five Questions: Blue Jackets' Johansen talks outlook

Tuesday, 10.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen:

NEW YORK -- The talk during the offseason got old, tiresome, played out. As the summer months dragged on, all Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen wanted it was for it to be time to put up or shut up.

"Totally," Johansen told prior to playing the New York Rangers on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Johansen heard people around the League -- a melting pot of executives, coaches, players, media and fans -- discussing and dissecting the Blue Jackets; what they could have been last season if not for a League-high 508 man games lost to injury, and what they have a chance to be this season with the addition of left wing Brandon Saad and a stroke of good health.

Stanley Cup Playoffs or bust this season, Johansen heard people saying. Look out for Columbus, was part of the talk. The 23-year-old center had people telling him that he, Saad and Nick Foligno could form the best first line in the NHL.

Around the League notebook: Monday, Oct. 12

Tuesday, 10.13.2015 / 1:44 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


John Tavares (1-2—3) had three points, including the eventual winning goal in the second period, to power the New York Islanders past the Winnipeg Jets for their first victory at Barclays Center.

* The Islanders earned their first win at Barclays Center – in their second game – exactly 43 years after their first win at Nassau Coliseum. On Oct. 12, 1972, Germain Gagnon scored the tie-breaking goal with 1:09 left in the third period to give New York a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings (also in their second game at the Coliseum).

* Tavares, who was denied on his second career penalty shot, had at least three points in a game for the 33rd time in his career and for the first time since April 7, 2015, at the Philadelphia Flyers (1-2—3).

* Tavares registered his first game-winning goal and power-play goal of the season. In 2014-15, he led the Islanders in each category, matching a career high with eight game-winners and establishing a personal best with 13 power-play goals.

Ducks honor ill teenage boy in pregame ceremony

Tuesday, 10.13.2015 / 12:07 AM / News

The Anaheim Ducks made a dream come true Monday for a teenage boy who has a rare, life-threatening blood disorder.

Kai Quinonez was introduced as part of the Ducks roster before their home opener against the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center after he took the ice with his favorite NHL player, Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

Quinonez, now 13, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia when he was 8 years old.

Blues rookie Fabbri out indefinitely with concussion

Monday, 10.12.2015 / 8:35 PM / News

St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a concussion, the Blues said Monday.

Fabbri took an elbow to the head during a 3-2 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. He left in the first period and did not return.

"We're going to miss Robby," Hitchcock told the Blues website. "I was surprised on the concussion because he had three great shifts after the concussion. We're going to miss his spunk, but (Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez) will be excellent replacements."

L.A. forward King out 8-10 weeks after surgery: report

Monday, 10.12.2015 / 4:37 PM / News

Los Angeles Kings forward Dwight King will miss 8-10 weeks after having surgery on his broken foot, coach Darryl Sutter said Monday according to LA Kings Insider.

Sutter said on Oct. 5 that King would miss an extended period of time after blocking a shot in a preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Capitals center Backstrom participating in drills

Monday, 10.12.2015 / 4:28 PM / News

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom took some line rushes with his teammates at practice Monday but said he has not yet been cleared for contact.

Backstrom, who is working his way back from offseason arthroscopic hip surgery and missed the Capitals' season-opening 5-3 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, alternated with second-line forwards Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams, according to The Washington Post. He wore a regular red jersey in place of a light blue non-contract jersey in order to participate in more drills.

Predators' Jones among Nashville's beautiful people

Monday, 10.12.2015 / 3:01 PM / News

Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones was named one of Nashville's 25 most beautiful people for 2015, according to Nashville Lifestyles magazine.

The 2015 list, revealed on Sunday, is made up of lawyers, athletes, philanthropists and entertainers.

Jones, 21, was asked in the magazine to name the person with the greatest influence on his life.

"Sports-wise, I look up to [retired NHL defenseman] Nicklas Lidström," Jones said. "He is kind of the person I tried to model my game after. Off the ice, I'd probably say my mom. She's been there through thick and thin. My dad was a professional athlete, and she was always there when he was on the road taking care of me and my two brothers."

Lightning's Stamkos scores goal to reach 500 points

Monday, 10.12.2015 / 2:52 PM / News

BOSTON -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos scored a power-play goal against the Boston Bruins for his 500th NHL career point Monday at TD Garden.

Stamkos beat Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask with a one-timer from the top of the left circle at 15:17 to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead. It was Stamkos' second goal of this season.

Penguins begin season with familiar offensive woes

Monday, 10.12.2015 / 2:30 PM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins know they must be better.

Through two games, the Penguins have looked eerily similar to the team that struggled through the final month of the 2014-15 regular season before getting eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers in five games of Eastern Conference First Round. After failing to get any of their 37 shots past Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi in a 3-0 loss Thursday, the Penguins scored once in a 2-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes Saturday.

Pittsburgh faced similar issues last spring, when it averaged 1.78 regulation goals over its final 18 games of the regular season. It's early, but that lack of production has at least temporarily seeped into this October, and the task won't get any easier in the home opener against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; CITYM, RDS, ROOT).

Carey Price and the Canadiens come to Pittsburgh after winning their first three games while scoring 10 goals, tied for second in the NHL behind the Rangers. Price has made 55 saves on 58 shots through two starts, which doesn't seem to bode well for a Penguins team in need of a confidence boost.

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