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Kopitar, Doughty see rested Kings making another run

Saturday, 09.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Tim Wharnsby - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- For many, summertime is about the three Rs: rest, relax and recharge.

But for Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings, the only R-word associated with their past few summers was "rush," as in rush to enjoy it and rush to get in shape for the upcoming NHL season.

That was because the Kings played in a League-high 64 postseason games between 2012 and 2014, winning 10 of 11 series and the Stanley Cup twice. But that incredible run hit a rut in the ice last season, when they became the first defending champion to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007.

Roundup: Bishop makes 18 saves in Lightning win

Saturday, 09.26.2015 / 1:22 AM / News


Ben Bishop saved all 18 shots he faced in his first game since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 in a preseason game at Amalie Arena on Friday.

Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov scored twice, the game’s first goal at 12:29 of the first period and at 12:26 of the second period to make it 4-0.

Erik Condra and Matthew Peca scored for the Lightning in the second period. Vladislav Namestnikov had two assists.

Senators suspend defense prospect Wikstrand

Friday, 09.25.2015 / 2:40 PM / News


The Ottawa Senators suspended defense prospect Mikael Wikstrand on Friday after he left training camp without permission, general manager Bryan Murray said.

"He disappeared yesterday without telling us, till I guess he let [assistant GM] Randy [Lee] know when he was at the airport," Murray said, according to the Senators website.

Wikstrand, 22, returned to his native Sweden on Thursday, Murray said.

Bruins' Chara day-to-day with upper-body injury

Friday, 09.25.2015 / 12:40 PM / News


Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is day-to-day because of an upper-body injury, Bruins coach Claude Julien said Friday.

Chara was injured during the Bruins' 4-3 shootout victory against the New York Rangers at TD Garden on Thursday.

Defenseman Bouillon retires after 14 NHL seasons

Friday, 09.25.2015 / 10:57 AM / News


Francis Bouillon, who spent 14 seasons as an NHL defensemen, announced his retirement Friday.

Bouillon, who will turn 40 on Oct. 17, played 11 of his 14 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. He also played for the Nashville Predators. He spent last season with Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland.

In 1996 Bouillon helped the Granby Predateurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League won the Memorial Cup; his coach then was current Canadiens coach Michel Therrien.

Brian Leetch discusses 1996, 2016 World Cups in Q&A

Friday, 09.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / World Cup of Hockey 2016

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

After the United States assembled its team for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Hockey Hall of Fame member Brian Leetch remembers there was a different feeling than when he skated with earlier USA Hockey teams.

"That was the first tournament I remember going into that … we didn't go in with just hope that we could catch some breaks and our goaltending would play well and we could win some games," said Leetch, who was U.S. captain. "We went in with the expectation that we could win that tournament."

Leetch did his part, tying for the tournament scoring lead among defensemen with seven points, all assists.

Here's a Q&A with Leetch on his World Cup memories and what he thinks of the return of the World Cup in 2016:

Costas excited to return to Johnstown 40+ years later

Friday, 09.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Bob Costas' broadcasting career will come full circle next week in Johnstown, Pa.

Costas, who is known more for his work in baseball, on NBC's Sunday Night Football and at the Summer and Winter Olympics, got his start in hockey. The first professional game he ever announced was at Cambria County War Memorial Arena, where he will anchor coverage of Kraft Hockeyville USA on Tuesday when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning play a preseason game in Johnstown (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Costas' first professional broadcast was an Eastern Hockey League game between the Syracuse Blazers and Johnstown Jets in 1973.

Saad, Kuznetsov lead Jensen's fantasy breakout picks

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Last season, forwards Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues and Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers went from reliable fantasy producers to elite-level assets. On the defenseman and goalie fronts, fantasy owners witnessed Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils joining the likes of stardom at their respective positions.

These were players who made their mark on the fantasy landscape before, but never to the degree of statistical prowess that they put forth last season. Sleepers are under-the-radar players who are drafted much later than they should be. Breakout players are known commodities who elevate their fantasy production to new heights, usually in an expanded role.

Targeting breakout candidates in your fantasy draft can go a long way in building a championship-caliber roster. Here are five players I believe can make the jump from household name to superstar in 2015-16. Matt Cubeta's breakout list can be found here.

Panthers' Bjugstad learning how to succeed in NHL

Friday, 09.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Tim Wharnsby - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- When the Florida Panthers acquired veteran Jaromir Jagr seven months ago to help their push for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was a thrill of a lifetime for the young core of Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad, none of whom had been born when Jagr made his NHL debut.

The addition of Jagr was the latest piece in the organization's culture change since general manager Dale Tallon arrived on the scene five years ago.

Ownership switched hands to Vincent Viola in September 2013. Tallon brought in a new coach in Gerard Gallant, a top-tier goalie in Roberto Luongo, and Stanley Cup experience with gritty forwards David Boland and Shawn Thornton as well defenseman Willie Mitchell last summer.

Then, Jagr was acquired Feb. 26 in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a 2016 third-round pick. He signed a one-year contract to return this season.

The 43-year-old Czech, who won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992, immediately fit in on the ice alongside Barkov and Huberdeau.

But he also was a dressing-room sage for others like Bjugstad, who sat next to Jagr.

Stars hope added Cup experience keys playoff return

Friday, 09.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.

DALLAS -- After ending a five-season Stanley Cup Playoff drought, the Dallas Stars were expected to not only make it back to the postseason, but go on a run after being eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2014 Western Conference First Round.

However, the Stars missed the playoffs last season, finishing seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card in the West.

Dallas general manager Jim Nill made three key additions this summer, and all of them bring Stanley Cup rings. He acquired veteran left wing Patrick Sharp in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks and signed defenseman Johnny Oduya, another member of the 2015 Stanley Cup champions, as a free agent. Nill also acquired goaltender Antti Niemi from the San Jose Sharks; he won the Cup with the 2010 Blackhawks.

The pieces are in place, but it remains to be seen whether the Stars take the next step.

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