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Groulx preaches return to Canada's WJC identity

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 12:30 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Que. – When it comes to playing the "Canadian way" at the most recent World Junior Hockey Championships, other countries have done a better job of that than Canada, according to Canadian coach Benoit Groulx.

While adressing the players at Hockey Canada's summer development camp, Groulx, the national team coach for the upcoming 2015 World Junior tournament, said Finland won the gold medal last year by playing "the Canadian way."

Canada, meanwhile, failed to medal for the second straight year and the memories of Canada winning five-straight gold medals – the last in 2009 – seems very long ago.

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Over the Boards: Laich assesses Capitals' struggles

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

A look in the mirror can expose the face of failure. It can also lead to change.

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich is hoping the mirror has been as brutally revealing to his teammates as it has been to him and executives in the organization this summer.

If it hasn't been, there's a bigger problem in Washington than a new coach (Barry Trotz) and a new general manager (Brian MacLellan) can fix.

"My honest opinion is not making the playoffs last year might have been the greatest day going forward for our organization, because I really think it made us all take a look in the mirror and at our failures and why we are failing," Laich told NHL.com. "If we would have made the playoffs and lost in the first or second round it would have been the same old story, but you wouldn't have had that hard, brutally honest look at yourselves to realize why you are failing."

The Capitals didn't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season for the first time since 2006-07. Their failure cost former general manager George McPhee and former coach Adam Oates their jobs.

But changes on the bench with Trotz and in the front office with MacLellan can only do so much. Laich said it's up to the players to change too.

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Young forwards key element to Flyers lineup

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Ron Hextall era has begun for the Philadelphia Flyers, but his first roster is going to look pretty similar to the last one of Paul Holmgren's tenure.

Hextall is the new general manager, with Holmgren promoted to team president. The Flyers still have a lot of the same strengths (strong group of forwards) and weaknesses (slow/old group of defensemen) and the salary cap situation remains delicate.

Philadelphia shook off a terrible start to the 2013-14 season and still made the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There could be increased contributions from young players up front, while the defense corps and goaltending likely will be the same.

Since the seismic shift after the 2010-11 season, the Flyers have won one less playoff series in three seasons than departed stars Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have won championships. Between 1994-95 and 2005-06, Philadelphia finished first or second in its division each season. The only time that has happened since was 2010-11, and an early playoff exit led to the big trades.

Hextall's mission will be simple: Find ways to alleviate some of the salary cap issues while restoring a higher standard of excellence for a proud franchise.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Flyers:

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Laughton heads list of Flyers' top 10 prospects

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers director of scouting Chris Pryor asked a rhetorical question: What was the best year for player development in the past 10 years?

"They'll probably go back to the lockout year [2004-05], when all the kids had to go down and play in the American [Hockey] League," Pryor said. "They were forced to. If you look at the players now that are go-to guys, at that time, [Jeff] Carter, [Mike] Richards, [Ryan] Getzlaf, [Corey] Perry, [Eric] Staal, [Jason] Spezza, they all spent time in the American league. Everyone realizes that the American league plays a huge role. It did back then and it does now."

That's why the Flyers have no intention of rushing any of their top prospects, a number of whom have picked up a bit of experience in the AHL or will debut there this season.

"You've just got to be patient, even though sometimes it's hard to do it if you have a lot of high draft picks and everyone wants to see them play right away," Pryor said. "Unfortunately, it's not that easy. And what's best for the kid is to be patient. Let him develop."

Here's a look at the Flyers' top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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Flyers expect Schenn's game to reach new heights

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Brayden Schenn established himself as a big part of the Philadelphia Flyers last season. But those around the team are confident there's more to come.

Schenn was rewarded for his first 20-goal NHL season with a two-year contract that reportedly will pay him $2.5 million this season and next season.

For that money, however, the Flyers are hoping for more than 20 goals.

"He's got a real gift at putting the puck in the net," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "He scored 20 goals, which at this stage of the game that's a lot of goals. But we still think there's more there and there's more growth. I think the biggest thing is the consistency part."

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Cap space, Timonen among Flyers' five questions

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

New Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has a different outlook on what the team should look like, but because of salary cap issues wasn't able to change too much with the roster.

Instead, he's hoping a competitive training camp will allow the team to get off to a better start than last season.

"We have to be more consistent and more ready to go every night," Hextall said. "And compete. It's a hard League. It's hard to win. It's hard to get points. You can't let any games go by where you just mail it in and don't have a chance at picking up some points."

Here are five questions the Flyers have to answer in order to pick up enough points to return to the playoffs:

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New GM Hextall happy with Flyers' current makeup

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

It's been a quiet offseason for the Philadelphia Flyers as far as roster changes, for two very good reasons.

First, the team is butting against the $69 million upper limit of the NHL salary cap.

Second, general manager Ron Hextall is happy with what's in place.

"When I took over I liked this team, and I [still] like our team," Hextall said.

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Flyers' Timonen being treated for blood clots

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 8:22 PM / News

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen has been diagnosed with blood clots and is being treated in Finland, the team announced Tuesday.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall told reporters Timonen was experiencing pain in his calf for the past few days and went to the hospital Monday, when the blood clots were discovered in his lower right leg and in both lungs.

Timonen, 39, is hoping to be discharged Wednesday, but is unable to travel for 2-3 weeks. He will head to Philadelphia after that for further evaluation.

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Flames add Colorado Eagles as ECHL affiliate

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 7:53 PM / News

NHL.com

The Calgary Flames reached a one-year affiliation agreement with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL, the team announced Tuesday.

The Eagles, based in Windsor, Colo., will provide players to the organization through the Adirondack Flames, Calgary's primary developmental team in the American Hockey League. The Alaska Aces, who won the Kelly Cup last season, had been the Flames' ECHL affiliate.

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Brandon Sutter re-signs with Penguins

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 7:15 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Center Brandon Sutter, the Pittsburgh Penguins' final restricted free agent, signed a two-year contract worth $6.6 million, an average annual value of $3.3 million, the team announced Tuesday.

Sutter, 25, scored 13 goals and 26 points in 81 games last season, including a team-high three shorthanded goals, and set career Stanley Cup Playoff highs with five goals, seven points and a plus-7 rating.

The son of former NHL player and coach Brent Sutter, Brandon Sutter was selected in the first round (No. 11) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2007 NHL Draft. He was acquired by the Penguins on June 22, 2012, along with defenseman Brian Dumoulin and a first-round pick in exchange for center Jordan Staal.

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— Martin Brodeur, after announcing his retirement as an NHL player and becoming a senior adviser with the Blues on Thursday