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Senators' top 10 prospects powered by Lazar, Stone

Tuesday, 08.19.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The Ottawa Senators have invested heavily in their pipeline of prospects in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue in 2014-15.

The team had 11 players in the lineup last season who were 25 years or younger, and though the loss of captain Jason Spezza in a five-player trade with the Dallas Stars on July 1 might be tough to overcome at the outset, there should be a few players looking to provide similar energy and enthusiasm.

"I think there's quite a lot of opportunities; I think we've invested into a lot of players," Senators assistant general manager Pierre Dorion said. "I think [Senators director of hockey operations and player development] Randy Lee has done a tremendous job developing a lot of these guys. We feel we've got guys [with the Binghamton Senators in the American Hockey League] that can really come in here and play.

"I think you always have to look internally before you look externally to see, 'Do we have these players within our organization?' And I think we do."


Senators, Borowiecki agree to terms on extension

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 10:51 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

The Ottawa Senators and defenseman Mark Borowiecki have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension, the team announced Monday.

Borowiecki, 25, is entering the final season of his contract and could have become a restricted free agent had he been unsigned after the 2014-15 season.

"Obviously there's still no guarantees," Borowiecki told the Ottawa Sun. "It is a bit of security and confidence, but at the same time it's a bit of a kick in the pants, too. I'm 25 years old, it's time for me to sort of cement myself as a full time NHLer. This gives me the chance to do it."


Flyers goalie Mason back on ice after injury: report

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 7:52 PM / News

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason was back on the ice Monday, three weeks after breaking his right pinky finger, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

Mason was injured July 27. General manager Ron Hextall said at the time Mason would be able to continue off-ice training.

Mason was 33-18-7 in his first full season with the Flyers, with a 2.50 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.


Karlsson OK if he's asked to be Senators captain

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 6:09 PM / News

The Ottawa Senators are about to have their third captain in three seasons. Defenseman Erik Karlsson knows it could be him.

"Obviously it's something that I wouldn't say no to [but] it's not something that I'm going to ask for," Karlsson told the Senators website Monday. "I think whoever takes the decision is going to make the right one, and whether it's me or someone else, I think it's going to be good for the team and good for the organization."

The Senators need a replacement for Jason Spezza, who was traded to the Dallas Stars this offseason. Spezza took over as captain from Daniel Alfredsson, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent prior to last season.


Blackhawks, Leighton agree on one-year contract

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 5:29 PM / News

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Michael Leighton had to clear his name before he could begin to embark on what he hopes is a journey back to the NHL in his second stint with the Chicago Blackhawks.

He does not know who picked up the puck that Patrick Kane used to beat him for the Stanley Cup-clinching overtime goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final; he does not know who has the puck now, or where it might be; and he never wants to see the puck again.

"I've heard there's a lot of controversy about it," Leighton said. "I don't know where the puck is. I've been asked many times. The last I saw it was under the net. I lifted the net up and kicked it. I know the referee or linesman was beside me and that was it. That was really the last thing on my mind, finding where that puck was."

Leighton expects to hear more about the missing puck and Kane's Cup-winning goal next month, when he arrives for training camp with the Blackhawks.


Buffalo to host 2015, 2016 NHL Combine

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 4:51 PM / News

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Colin Campbell, NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations, announced Monday the annual NHL Combine will take place in Buffalo in 2015 and 2016 at First Niagara Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres, and the soon-to-be completed HarborCenter.

"We've been working on this announcement for a couple of years," Campbell said. "[Sabres President] Ted Black and myself had a conversation at least two years ago now regarding bringing our combine to Buffalo. I had a discussion with our director of scouting, Danny Marr, and it just seemed like a natural fit with what Terry and Kim Pegula are doing now with this location. It's certainly opening up the eyes of the people in the National Hockey League, and I think it's a natural fit to bring our National Hockey League Combine here."

The annual event, held in Toronto since 1999, is overseen by NHL Central Scouting. It brings approximately 100 top prospects for the NHL draft into one place for interviews with NHL teams, and medical and physical testing. The 2014 combine featured 119 prospects taking part in five days of interviews and medical exams held at the Westin Bristol Place hotel, followed by fitness testing nearby at The International Centre.

Campbell said the bidding process to host the event was opened to all NHL teams, and the finalists were the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Sabres. HarborCenter, which will open in the fall adjacent to First Niagara Center, gave Buffalo the edge.


Nylander signs entry-level contract with Maple Leafs

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 4:08 PM / News

William Nylander, the eighth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, signed an entry-level contract Monday with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team announced. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Not only does William Nylander bring a high level of speed and skill to his game but he has a very strong character on and off the ice," Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said. "We believe he has a very bright future and are happy to have him signed to his first NHL contract."

Nylander, 18, was named the Maple Leafs' top prospect by

"He's a dynamic player with a high-end skill set," Maple Leafs director of player development Jim Hughes said. "His edges, his explosion, his acceleration, along with his hand speed. He's a really talented kid. During the prospect camp week we got the opportunity to know him as a person. He's very detailed, he's very motivated. And he's a wonderful kid that's been parented correctly. He's an impressive hockey player, but he's an impressive person as well."


Blue Jackets prospect Milano to play in OHL

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 12:07 PM / News

Sonny Milano, the Columbus Blue Jackets' first pick (No. 16) at the 2014 NHL Draft, has opted to play with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, backing out of a commitment to Boston College.

Milano released a statement to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday through his agent that said it was a decision he had been going over since being drafted.

"After a great deal of thought and discussion with my family, I have spoken with [Boston College] Coach [Jerry] York and informed him that I will be playing for the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers this season," Milano wrote. "I think that BC is the best choice for those players who wish to go to school and play hockey. Every player's path to achieving his goal of playing in the NHL is different, and the best route for some is not necessarily the best route for others. For me, the opportunity to play in the OHL is the right decision."


Advanced stats could influence Maple Leafs lineup

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

For a combination of reasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs became the flashpoint in a battle for acceptance of advanced statistics in hockey last season.

The Maple Leafs front office was famously not on board, and at the same time Toronto was one of the teams not performing the way those statistics said it should be. After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons, thanks in large part to a late-season swoon, the Maple Leafs made some major changes this offseason.

New president Brendan Shanahan did not make major personnel changes, but he did hire Kyle Dubas, an Ontario Hockey League general manager well versed in analytics, to join the front office. The new-look management group did try to improve the depth up front and on the back end.


Maple Leafs' Gardiner hopes to justify new contract

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

This summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs stepped up to demonstrate their faith in Jake Gardiner's abilities. Now it's up to the smooth-skating defenseman to deliver on the five-year, $20.5 million contract he signed with the team on July 29.

Rather than accept a short-term bridge deal, the 24-year-old Minnesota native elected to commit long term to Toronto through what should prove to be his prime years.

"I am happy to be a Leaf for a really long time," Gardiner told the Toronto Star. "That was a big part of it, commitment. I thought having five years and the money was awesome. The security for me was good. It just shows the Leafs have a lot of faith in me."

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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic