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Nyquist, Tatar, Mrazek add to Red Wings optimism

Wednesday, 08.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- No matter what challenges the Detroit Red Wings have faced in the past quarter century, there has been one constant: making the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Detroit reached the playoffs for the 24th consecutive season in 2014-15, but was eliminated in seven games in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Mike Babcock was Red Wings coach for the past 10 seasons but left for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jeff Blashill, who coached the Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids the past three seasons, was hired to replace him.

Detroit's roster remains largely intact, although they signed defenseman Mike Green and center Brad Richards as free agents.

They are among four reasons the Red Wings should be optimistic:

Larkin, Pulkkinen among Red Wings' top 5 prospects

Wednesday, 08.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings' success during the past two decades has given them the luxury of allowing their prospects to develop in the American Hockey League.

For the most part, that remains true going into this season.

The only exception is their top prospect, center Dylan Larkin, who has played six games in the AHL (all in the Calder Cup Western Conference Finals last season) after spending one season in college but showed he may be ready to make the jump to the NHL.

Detroit is deep in versatile forwards and mobile defensemen, but a little light in goal and in forwards with size.

Here is a look at the Red Wings' top five prospects, according to NHL.com:

Red Wings ready to start new era under Blashill

Wednesday, 08.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have a new coach and two new players, but center Pavel Datsyuk's status for early 2015-16 is uncertain.

After the Red Wings were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing their Eastern Conference First Round series to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games, Mike Babcock, who was Detroit's coach for 10 seasons and has more wins than any coach in Red Wings history, left for the Toronto Maple Leafs and was replaced by Jeff Blashill.

Blashill was the favorite off the bat in Detroit, having coached its American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for the past three seasons.

The 41-year-old is the second youngest coach in the NHL (John Hynes of the New Jersey Devils is 40). Blashill coached Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup in 2013, was AHL coach of the year in 2014, and guided the Griffins to the Western Conference Final last season.

Senators' Hammond honors young fan with mask

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 11:10 PM / News


Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond will honor a young fan with a butterfly on his mask this season.

The red butterfly with the initials "JP" represents Jonathan Pitre, a 15-year-old who has the skin disease Epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

"I think Senators fans attached themselves to Jonathan and his story because he teaches us all a lesson, a reminder that we are only given this one chance at life and we have to enjoy the moments we have," Hammond told the Ottawa Citizen on Tuesday.

The Ottawa Sun said, "The butterfly symbolizes children suffering from EB, who are called 'butterfly children' because their skin is said to be as fragile as a butterfly's wing."

Flames unveil plans for new arena, sports complex

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 4:42 PM / News


The Calgary Flames want to build a hockey arena and events center, and a football stadium with a roof, on property west of downtown.

Flames CEO Ken King introduced his plans to replace the 32-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome and 55-year-old McMahon Stadium on Tuesday. The complex reportedly would cost $890 million and would be paid from four sources: a $240 million community revitalization levy, a $250 million ticket tax, $200 million from the city to fund the 30,000-seat football stadium, and $200 million from the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., the Flames' ownership group.

Capitals forward Laich engaged to actress Hough

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 4:16 PM / News


He went from Brooks Laich to Brooks Love.

The Washington Capitals forward used social media Tuesday to announce his engagement to actress Julianne Hough.

Laich, 32, and Hough, 27, have been dating since February 2014. Laich shared the news on Instagram with a post of Hough hugging him with the ring on her finger.

"We are overwhelmed with joy and excitement to share with you our recent engagement! #fiancé #love," the post read.

Briere was grateful for chance to play with Canadiens

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 3:22 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Among his list of accomplishments gained through the course of 17 years in the NHL, one that Daniel Briere cherishes greatly is the one that hits closest to home for the native of Gatineau, Quebec.

"I leave the game now and for the rest of my life now I can say I was a Montreal Canadien," Briere said Tuesday during his retirement press conference at Virtua Flyers Skate Zone, the practice facility of the Philadelphia Flyers. "When I go back home, I can say that I've played for the Montreal Canadiens, which is pretty cool, for me personally."

Briere played for the Canadiens for one season (2013-14), and it wasn't even a good season by his standards; he scored 13 goals and had 25 points in 68 games after signing a two-year, $8 million contract with Montreal after getting bought out by the Flyers in the summer of 2013. The Canadiens traded him to the Colorado Avalanche last summer.

Briere feels time is right to retire, commit to family

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 2:01 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Daniel Briere made his decision to retire from the NHL for two reasons: realism and selflessness.

After 17 seasons in the NHL, Briere couldn't convince himself to train this summer and get his mind and body ready for another season, just so he might be able to sign with a team willing to give him a minor role such as the one he had last season as a minimally used forward with the Colorado Avalanche.

"That's about all I was going to get, and I'm realistic with that," Briere said Tuesday during his retirement press conference at the Virtua Flyers Skate Zone, the practice facility for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Lightning hire Brad Lauer as assistant coach

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 1:58 PM / News


TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired Brad Lauer as assistant coach today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

"I'm really excited to join the coaching staff in Tampa Bay," Lauer said. "It is an outstanding opportunity for me to join a great organization with top-notch ownership and management. They have a young, highly-skilled team and it is exciting as a coach to walk into a situation like that."

Lauer, a native of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, has spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks. He helped Anaheim to a 51-24-7 record and 109 points last season, tied for the most in the NHL's Western Conference. The Ducks also ranked 11th in the league for average goals per game with 2.78 in 2014-15. They eventually lost to the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. During the 2013-14 season Lauer and the Ducks had the best record in the West, going 54-20-8 with 116 points, one shy of a tie for the President's Trophy. Anaheim was the NHL's highest-scoring team that season, averaging 3.21 goals per contest.

Kruger expects contract from Blackhawks: report

Tuesday, 08.18.2015 / 10:25 AM / NHL Free Agency 2015


Restricted free agent forward Marcus Kruger is not concerned he hasn't signed a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for this season, according to ESPN.com.

"I want to have it done. I think that's for everyone," said Kruger, who spent Tuesday with the Stanley Cup with former Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya in Sweden. "But I don't feel too stressed out about it, yet at least. We have another month until training camp."

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