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Fucale wants to be Canada's WJC starter again

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 6:20 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec – It is rare for the starting goaltender of the Canadian National Junior Team to return for a second year on the job.

Since Marc-Andre Fleury, now with the Pittsburgh Penguins, did it at the IIHF World Junior Championships in 2003 and 2004, only Arizona Coyotes prospect Mark Visentin has started at least half of Canada's games in back-to-back years at the WJC. He started four games each in 2011 and 2012.

Montreal Canadiens prospect Zachary Fucale is hoping to add his name to that list.

The goaltender for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League started the final five games of the 2014 tournament for Canada and is back this year to try to secure the starting job for the 2015 WJC, which is being held on Canadian ice in Montreal and Toronto.

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Arizona kid making noise at U.S. junior camp

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 4:39 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Auston Matthews is a tremendous example of the spread of hockey to non-traditional markets.

Matthews grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., but during the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp this week, the 16-year-old forward is proving to be just as good, if not better, than players who grew up in more traditional hockey climates. He's also staking his claim to a roster spot for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

"We're seeing a wonderful hockey player," said Jim Johansson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and the general manager of the United States for the 2015 World Junior Championship. "Sturdiness, skating ability, compete level all have been excellent. I think the interesting part for us is it's a lot of hockey in a short time and yet to me it looks like he's, if not getting stronger, he's right on par with what the start of this camp was. Guys get worn down in this camp and that's part of it. I think what you're seeing is a very talented hockey player."

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Young fantasy players to target in keeper leagues

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

We all know that keeper/dynasty leagues run differently and continue to get more creative in terms of which players you can keep and how long you can keep them. If you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin on your team and rules allow you to, of course you are going to keep them as they will be near the top of fantasy rankings every year they are playing.

With that in mind let's examine 10 players currently in the NHL who will be 22 or younger at the start of the season but have at least two years of service in the League and can help you this season and beyond.

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Brassard excited to be with Rangers long-term

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 11:23 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Derick Brassard and the New York Rangers appear to be a perfect match, and neither side wanted the relationship to break up. That's why they avoided arbitration and agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract on July 27.

"Since I got here to New York I've been saying how much I really enjoy playing for the Rangers, and I don't see myself playing for any other team," Brassard told BlueshirtsUnited.com. "So I was hoping I'd be staying here for a long time, and I got my wish. I was confident both sides would find a way to get it done, but I'll admit I was both patient and anxious for a deal to get done."

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Williams to join Rangers as assistant coach

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 10:38 AM / News

NHL.com

The New York Rangers agreed to terms with Darryl Williams to become an assistant coach, the team announced Tuesday.

Williams, 46, replaces Daniel Lacroix, who was hired by the Montreal Canadiens. He spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks, and joins associate coach Scott Arniel and Ulf Samuelsson on Alain Vigneault's staff.

Williams played two games with the Los Angeles Kings during the 1992-93 season. He had 126 goals and 157 assists in 676 games in the AHL and the International Hockey League.

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Slovak legend Demitra to be honored in documentary

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 10:22 AM / News

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

Three years after the tragic crash of a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, which led to death of 44 passengers, one of the victims will be honored with a documentary film.

The film, "Pavol Demitra: 38," will premiere in Trencin, Slovakia on Sept. 7, the three-year anniversary of the crash. Four days later, it will be shown in movie theaters across the country.

Demitra, who played in the NHL from 1993-2010, was a Slovak hockey legend and one of the biggest stars in the Kontinental Hockey League.

The film was produced by actor and director Daniel Dangl, who is famous for his work as producer of a stand-up comedy called "Particka." The show is similar to the American sketch comedy "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and is a hit in Slovakia and Czech Republic.

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Taste of success leaves Blue Jackets craving more

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

The Columbus Blue Jackets last season got a taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a five-year absence, and even a first-round exit has not dampened their enthusiasm and expectations for 2014-15.

In fact, moves such as signing center Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year contract extension and trading for left wing Scott Hartnell have the Blue Jackets thinking big.

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Forward Horton among Blue Jackets' five questions

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

Optimism has always been anchored by realism for followers of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

When the Blue Jackets reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 2009, it was due to the outstanding play of rookie goaltender Steve Mason. But Mason couldn't match that performance in 2009-10 and coach Ken Hitchcock was fired 10 months after leading Columbus to the postseason.

Scott Arniel replaced him and promised better, but failed to deliver and was fired in January 2012. Only since Todd Richards took over have the Blue Jackets found their way.

They barely missed the postseason in 2013, but qualified for the first wild card following a move to the Eastern Conference last season before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in the first round.

More importantly, there is now a culture of winning; since Feb. 26, 2013, the Blue Jackets are 62-37-12 for the eighth-most points in the NHL.

Here are five questions facing the Blue Jackets as they try to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time:

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Blue Jackets want goals, leadership from Hartnell

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't trade for forward Scott Hartnell specifically to agitate the Pittsburgh Penguins, but his ability to antagonize certainly didn't hurt.

Hartnell earned a reputation as a Penguins-baiter during his seven seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers before being traded to Columbus for R.J. Umberger on June 23. He was particularly pesky, to put it mildly, when the Pennsylvania rivals met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2008, 2009 and 2012. There wasn't nearly the same level of vitriol when the Blue Jackets and Penguins played in the Eastern Conference First Round in April, a series won by Pittsburgh in six games.

Even though the Penguins have gone through a turbulent offseason they are still considered a contender in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. Clearly, the Penguins are still one of the teams to beat.

That's why Hartnell's 91 career playoff games could come in handy for the Blue Jackets, a franchise that has played all of 10 since joining the NHL in 2000.

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Blue Jackets' lineup marked by improving youth

Tuesday, 08.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

When the Columbus Blue Jackets had three first-round picks at the 2013 NHL Draft, it looked like those players would be counted on to help the franchise finally become a consistent Stanley Cup Playoff participant.

The franchise might already be that by the time those guys arrive. Columbus reached the postseason in 2013-14 and won its first two games in franchise history. With president John Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen in charge, the Blue Jackets have quickly morphed from potential rebuilding situation to potential contender.

There is star-level talent at every position. There are young players with the potential to improve already on the NHL roster. There are exciting young prospects in the pipeline.

It was actually a pretty quiet summer in central Ohio, in part because Kekalainen didn't need a busy one. The biggest item of business remains locking up restricted free agent Ryan Johansen, who can be the first "franchise center" the organization has ever had.

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

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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals