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Sharks hope Burns' return to defense goes smoothly

Friday, 08.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

When the San Jose Sharks moved Brent Burns from defense to right wing midway through the 2012-13 season, he provided instant offense and made the transition look easy.

Entering the 2014-15 season, the question is whether Burns can make the return trip to defense look just as smooth after a season and a half away from the blue line.

Brent Burns
Defense - SJS
GOALS: 22 | ASST: 26 | PTS: 48
SOG: 245 | +/-: 26
"We acquired him in a trade to be a stud defenseman," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "To find a guy at that size who can shoot and skate that's played in this League and been an All-Star as a defenseman, we don't think there's going to be any issue there, and especially if you're working with [associate coach] Larry Robinson and [assistant coach] Jim Johnson.

"It's also something that Brent really wants to do. In my conversation with him, he views himself as a defenseman. Having that big body back there that can be creative and also shoot the puck like he does, we think will be a great asset to our team."


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Sharks' 'rebuilding' plan features familiar faces

Friday, 08.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

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

The psychological wounds from his team's historic collapse against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were still raw in late June when San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson held his annual press conference before the NHL Draft.

A few weeks after saying the Sharks needed to take "one step backwards to be in a position to go two steps forward," Wilson said they were fully committed to "rebuilding" and were braced for the "pain" that goes with that process. He said the Sharks "now become a tomorrow team," after making 10 straight trips to the postseason.

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Mueller, Doherty among Sharks' top 10 prospects

Friday, 08.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

If there's one thing San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic proved early in his career it's that there's always a spot reserved in the lineup if you're good enough to play.

That's the message Sharks coach Todd McLellan conveyed during the team's development camp last month. Vlasic was 19 in 2006 when he arrived at Sharks training camp one year after being drafted. He made the team and played 81 games en route to being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

There are a few young prospects along the Sharks' defense group hoping to follow a similar path this season, including 2013 first-round pick Mirco Mueller.

"It's a younger League now," McLellan said. "There's a lot of young players that are playing and being effective. We have to encourage that, and we are as an organization. But we also want players to be in a situation where they can grow and have some success, so [Mueller] and everybody else that may play here have to be able to maintain a standard of play that allows them to grow throughout the year."

The Sharks moved up two spots to No. 18 in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings at the 2013 NHL Draft to select Mueller. It cost the organization 2013 first- and second-round choices, all the proof needed in determining how much the organization values Mueller.

But he isn't the only defensive prospect sure to open some eyes in training camp in September.

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

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Gomez invited to Devils training camp

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 8:49 PM / News

NHL.com

Forward Scott Gomez will attend New Jersey Devils training camp on a tryout basis, the team said Thursday.

Gomez was New Jersey's first-round pick (No. 27) in the 1998 NHL Draft and was a member of the Devils' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2000 and 2003 before signing a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers worth $51.5 million in 2007.

"There were other opportunities and I had some other offers on the other side of it, in TV and stuff like that, but no," Gomez told Northjersey.com on Wednesday. "I've still got a lot to prove. I still want to play."

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Flyers' White sidelined after pectoralis muscle injury

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 4:56 PM / News

NHL.com

Philadelphia Flyers center Ryan White had surgery Wednesday to repair his left pectoralis muscle, the team announced Thursday.

According to a statement from Flyers general manager Ron Hextall, the injury occurred last week during an off-ice workout. There is no timetable for White's return.

White signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Flyers on Aug. 7. The 26-year-old had two goals and six points in 52 games with the Montreal Canadiens last season.

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Two Russian prospects adjust to North American life

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 4:47 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Russia won its second IIHF World Championship in three years last May, the gold-medal squad featured some of the NHL's biggest names, including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Bobrovsky.

But for the two youngest players on that roster, Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Worlds were the final victory before their careers, and effectively their lives, changed.

Two of the world's top hockey prospects, representing the future of Russian hockey, are now entering their first full seasons in North America, a crucial step in their respective careers.

"It's a totally different culture. It's obviously a big adjustment," Kuznetsov said. "The language barrier is the biggest thing."

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Wild starting job in goal wide open, coach says

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 4:25 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Minnesota Wild will enter training camp next month with three goaltenders, Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper, competing for the starting job. Wild coach Mike Yeo said each will have a chance to win the No. 1 job.

"I have to say we're kind of open right now, to be honest with you," Yeo told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune on Wednesday during an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. "We're going to have some scrimmages … but we're going to have to pretty quickly determine who we want to give a greater workload to after that. That's going to be a good challenge."

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Education, drug testing program implemented in AHL

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 12:07 PM / News

NHL.com

NEW YORK/SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- An education and drug testing program will be implemented for American Hockey League players, effective for the 2014-15 season, the National Hockey League and American Hockey League announced today.

The details of the AHL program, which was the result of a collaborative effort between the two leagues (NHL and AHL), the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association (which represents AHL players in collective bargaining), substantially replicate the collectively bargained policies already in place for NHL players.

The AHL drug testing program will be administered by the doctors who supervise the NHL/NHLPA Performance-Enhancing Substances Program and the Substance Abuse/Behavioral Health Program.

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Senators' Lehner welcomes competing with Anderson

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner said Wednesday he's ready to continue competing with veteran Craig Anderson for the No. 1 job after each player signed a three-year contract in the past month.

"There are always two goalies and somebody pushing from down below (in the American Hockey League)," Lehner said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "It's just how it works. I don't think there should be a big deal about it."

Lehner, who was a restricted free agent, agreed to his $6.6 million contract on July 31. Anderson agreed to a $12.6 million extension that takes him through the 2017-18 season on Aug. 25.

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Kings lineup likely will look similar to Cup team

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For the second time in three seasons the Los Angeles Kings will be the defending Stanley Cup champion and will start the campaign with nearly an identical roster to the title-winning one.

The Kings are loaded down the middle, could be even better on the wings with a full season of Marian Gaborik, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, and will have one of the best tandems in net with Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones.

Obviously it is championship or bust for the Kings. The best regular season they've had in the past three seasons was the one after the first title, but injuries in the Stanley Cup Playoffs stunted any chance of a repeat.

This could be the best team of the four, but will the same thing that helped them against the Chicago Blackhawks (revenge for the previous playoff defeat) be their undoing should the two superpowers meet again? The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also will have some say about who gets out of the Pacific Division as well.

Here is the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Kings:

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley