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Pacioretty making progress in rehab from knee injury

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 1:29 PM / News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty's rehabilitation from a knee injury sustained last month is on schedule, according to coach Michel Therrien and Pacioretty's agent, Pat Brisson.

"Everything's going well with his rehab, honestly, so we're happy," Therrien said Tuesday at his annual charity golf tournament. "It's unfortunate [he got injured], but he's still able to train even if he's limited in the exercises he can do."

The Canadiens announced July 10 that Pacioretty would need 12 weeks to recover from the injury he sustained while working out in Florida. The timeline would have Pacioretty returning a few days prior to the Canadiens' 2015-16 regular-season opener Oct. 7 at the Toronto Maple Leafs, but would have him missing most, if not all, of training camp.

Crocker, Jacobs to receive 2015 Lester Patrick Trophy

Ceremony set for Thursday, Dec. 17, in Boston

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 12:00 PM / Lester Patrick Trophy

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Longtime scout Bob Crocker and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs have been named recipients of the 2015 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

The award, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport's development.

"By honoring Jeremy Jacobs and Bob Crocker, the Lester Patrick Award selection committee has recognized the dedication and drive of two important contributors to hockey in the United States," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Jeremy Jacobs -- as owner for 41 years of the NHL's first U.S.-based team and long-serving Chairman of our Board of Governors -- has provided unparalleled vision, innovation and inspiration to the advancement of hockey and the NHL. As a coach, a scout and a hockey executive, Bob Crocker has devoted decades to the development of young American players. Congratulations to both on this long overdue recognition."

Housley throws out first pitch at Twins game

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 11:50 AM / News

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Nashville Predators assistant coach and retired NHL defenseman Phil Housley, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game between the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Target Field in Minneapolis.

"I threw fire right over the plate," Housley, a native of St. Paul, Minn., told "It was really pretty special. It was really nice of the Twins to do that for me and my family; it's a night I'll never forget."

Sabres to host Prospects Challenge in September

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 9:43 AM / News

The Buffalo Sabres will host a prospects tournament at First Niagara Center and Harborcenter Sept. 12-14.

The Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils will compete with the Sabres in a round-robin format that will feature top prospects from each of the three teams. Each team will play two games.

The Prospects Challenge likely will feature center Jack Eichel, who was selected No. 2 by the Sabres at the 2015 NHL Draft. Devils forward Pavel Zacha, who signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Devils on Tuesday, could participate.

Dallas Stars fantasy hockey outlook

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

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: Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin

Not only did Benn lead the NHL in scoring last season with 87 points, he ended up as the sixth-best fantasy player in Yahoo leagues. Seguin finished 13th among all players but easily would have been higher had he not missed 11 games with injury. Going into this season, I have Benn ranked fourth among all players and Seguin at No. 7. Each is an elite player. The only reason I give Benn the edge is because of his ability to chip in with penalty minutes (he's averaged 62 PIMs per 82-game season during his career). Benn is arguably the most complete player in fantasy hockey, capable of posting 30-40 goals and 80 points with strong peripheral stats. If his plus-1 rating from last season improved a little bit, he could be the No. 1 fantasy player.

Seguin was well on his way to being one of the top-ranked fantasy players last season before his injury, but even with the missed time he still finished tied for fifth in the NHL with 37 goals and was seventh in points with 77. As we all know, goals are hard to come by, and Seguin is as good as a bet as anyone to score 40-50 times in 2015-16. With the addition of Patrick Sharp and the return of Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars' offense should be primed for a monster season, with Benn and Seguin at the center of things. Make sure both players are selected in the first round of your draft.

Honka, Gurianov among Stars' top five prospects

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars had four defensemen 23 or younger play significant minutes last season, including 22-year-old John Klingberg, who was fifth in Calder Trophy voting after he scored 11 goals with 29 assists in 65 games.

Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak, 22, and Patrik Nemeth and Jyrki Jokipakka, each 23, played a total of 174 games.

Three of the Stars' top prospects are defensemen, and a handful of others could be playing in the NHL soon.

"On the back end, we've got lots of depth," general manager Jim Nill said.

Here are the Stars' top five prospects, according to

Arrival of Sharp, Oduya, Niemi gives Stars optimism

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars appear primed to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after an offseason when they added three players who've won the Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Stars got off to a slow start last season -- they were 9-10-5 through November -- and finished seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

It was a disappointing step back for Dallas, which made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons in 2014.

"We need to make the playoffs," general manager Jim Nill said. "We need to be a consistent team. The idea is to make the playoffs every year, so that's our goal."

Here are four reasons for the Stars to be optimistic:

Oduya, Niemi among key questions for Stars

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars are confident they did enough this offseason to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing them last season.

The Stars were second in the NHL in goals (3.13 per game) in 2014-15 but finished tied for 26th in goals allowed (3.13 per game).

"We know we can score goals," general manager Jim Nill said, "but it's still going to come down to how we play away from the puck that's going to be the biggest thing."

Here are three questions facing the Stars entering this season:

Stars trying to upgrade defense to match offense

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

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

The Dallas Stars were busy this offseason not only trying to assure they get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs but looking to build a perennial contender.

Forward Patrick Sharp, acquired in a July 10 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, and defenseman Johnny Oduya, signed as a free agent July 15, bring a winning pedigree to Dallas that could help the young Stars reach the top of the Western Conference this season and for years to come.

"We're excited and we know we're going to be good offensively," general manager Jim Nill said. "Our biggest thing is going to be playing the game the right way both ways, and we're going to do that."

Flyers' Giroux glad linemate Voracek got big contract

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 10:53 PM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux is glad to know he could play on the same line with Jakub Voracek for at least the next seven seasons.

Voracek signed a multiyear contract extension with the Flyers on July 30. TSN reported it is for eight years, $66 million.

"I'm really happy for him, and it's really good for our team," said Giroux, who is entering the second season of his eight-year, $66.2 million contract. "I think we have some room for improvement to get even better chemistry, but I think we've been doing a good job of finding each other and communicating on and off the ice to know how we want to play.

"Jake just cares so much that every time he comes to the rink he wants to win, and he's really fun to be around."

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Quote of the Day

That's today's game. That's one of the things you have to deal with when you're a championship team. Guys are going to earn more money based on their performance and what they've achieved, [and] deservedly so. [Saad] falls into that category.

— Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Brandon Saad, who was traded by Chicago to the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason