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Canada expects pressure as World Junior camp opens

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 10:50 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Pressure to win is nothing new for Hockey Canada. But that pressure will only be heightened this year.

The Canada national junior team summer development camp gets underway Sunday just outside Montreal in Brossard, Quebec. It's there that 41 players will take their first few steps to earn a chance to play in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, which begins Dec. 26 in Montreal and Toronto.

It's one thing to represent Canada in the WJC, it's quite another to do it at home. Playing the tournament in Canada's two biggest cities adds another level of pressure to this year's event.

Canada coach Benoit Groulx of the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League knows this. But four months before the start of the tournament, he's not worried about the pressure.

In fact, he's embracing it.

"A lot of people are talking about pressure, and I think pressure is good," Groulx said. "It means we have a chance to win, it means we have a good team. There are teams who come to this tournament who say they have no pressure, but that means they don't think they will win. So for us, it's a positive. We are very aware of how big this will be, and that will be on the agenda for our week with the players. We're going to talk to them about it, but the players are also very aware of all that."

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Hurricanes need bounce-back season from Staal

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Eric Staal is on his game, he is one of the NHL's best offensive players and the man who makes the Carolina Hurricanes go. When he's less than his best, as he was for much of 2013-14, Staal's lack of productivity puts Carolina's attack on life support.

Staal was the fifth-highest paid player in the League last season with a salary of $9.25 million; his cap charge was $8.25 million, according to CapGeek. But he had his worst full-season offensive totals (20 goals, 41 assists and a minus-13 rating in 79 games) since 2003-04, his rookie season. For a player on whom the Hurricanes rely in nearly every on-ice situation, those numbers translated into a 36-35-11 record and a 13th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, their fifth straight non-playoff season.

New coach Bill Peters expects his captain to bounce back this season.

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New coach, GM tasked with reviving Hurricanes

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

In some ways, this offseason has been an overhaul for the Carolina Hurricanes organization; in others, it has been a doubling down on the status quo.

On April 28, Jim Rutherford stepped down from the general manager post he had held since 1994, when the organization was still known as the Hartford Whalers. Taking his place is Ron Francis, who has held multiple positions with the Hurricanes, including vice president of hockey operations for the past three seasons, since retiring as a player in 2004.

Nine days later, Francis fired coach Kirk Muller and his staff after a second consecutive 13th-place finish in the Eastern Conference and an 80-80-27 overall record. The Hurricanes were unable to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs during Muller's three seasons at the helm, and their current five-season playoff drought is the longest in the conference.

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Power-play potency among Hurricanes' five questions

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

With a new general manager and coach but an almost identical roster to the one that finished 13th in the Eastern Conference in 2013-14, the Carolina Hurricanes enter the 2014-15 season with questions up and down the lineup. General manager Ron Francis and coach Bill Peters will have their work cut out for them, on offense, defense and special teams, if they hope to end Carolina's five-season Stanley Cup Playoff drought.

Here are five questions facing the Hurricanes:

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Forward depth a question for Hurricanes lineup

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Carolina Hurricanes made three deep playoff runs in a span of eight years, including a championship in 2006, but they have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for five straight seasons.

PNC Arena boasts one of the League's best playoff atmospheres, but it has been too long since the building has been full of standing, screaming fans in the spring. The Hurricanes have a new general manager and a new coach, but they don't have a lot of new players.

Two seasons ago the Hurricanes scored enough to be a playoff team, but their goaltending failed them. Carolina prevented goals better in 2013-14 only to have the offense disappear. Depth up front remains a problem, though the defense corps could be improved.

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

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McGinn, Fleury among Hurricanes' top 10 prospects

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Carolina Hurricanes have shown a willingness the past few seasons to give significant roles to players just a few months after they were drafted. Since the 2008-09 season Zach Boychuk, Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm all saw action as 18-year-olds, with varying levels of success.

But with Ron Francis taking over as general manager, the club could start preaching a bit more patience with its younger players in allowing them to develop physically into NHL players.

"Everybody needs to get stronger," Hurricanes director of defense development Glen Wesley said. "That's one of the things if the guy is coming from junior or college he has to get better at, if it's the American Hockey League or the National Hockey League. You're playing against grown men and it's a completely different game. That's one of the things you have to be prepared for when you take the next step in your development."

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

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Galiardi agrees to terms with Jets on 1-year contract

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 5:48 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Forward TJ Galiardi and the Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract worth $750,000, the team said Friday.

Galiardi, 26, had four goals, 17 points and 21 penalty minutes in 62 games with the Calgary Flames last season. He has 43 goals, 104 points and 134 penalty minutes in 283 regular-season games with Calgary, the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche.

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Defenseman Falk signs 1-year contract with Wild

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 5:43 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Defenseman Justin Falk has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild, the team announced Friday. Financial details were not disclosed.

Falk, 25, was drafted by Minnesota in the fourth round (No. 110) of the 2007 NHL Draft and played his first four seasons with the Wild.

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Ducks to retire Selanne's No. 8 on Jan. 11 vs. Jets

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 1:26 PM / News

NHL.com

The Anaheim Ducks will retire Teemu Selanne's No. 8 prior to their home game against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 11, the team announced Friday.

"Teemu is our franchise icon and deserves to be the first player in club history to have his jersey retired," Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said in a statement. "His dedication to this franchise and our community is unmatched. We eagerly anticipate Jan. 11, when we pay tribute to a world-class player, ambassador and champion, our own Teemu Selanne."

Selanne began his NHL career in 1992-93 by setting NHL rookie records with 76 goals and 132 points with the original Jets (now the Arizona Coyotes). But he spent the majority of his career in Anaheim, where he had the other two 50-goal seasons of his career, scoring 51 in 1996-97 and 52 in 1997-98.

"What a great honor," Selanne said in a statement issued by the Ducks. "The Samuelis and the entire Ducks organization have made this a very special place for me and my family. I look forward to sharing this special night with our fans, who have treated me so well for 18 years."

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Islanders' Tavares to have No. 91 retired by Oshawa

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 12:07 PM / News

NHL.com

New York Islanders center John Tavares will have his No. 91 retired by one of his junior teams, the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, at the season-opener Sept. 28.

Tavares joined Oshawa in 2005 at the age of 15 after being granted exceptional status by the OHL. He finished his OHL career with a league-record 215 goals and 433 points, including 383 during his four seasons with the Generals. He was traded to the London Knights during his final junior season.


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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday