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Therrien, like GM, defends Canadiens' style, system

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 4:50 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- On July 2, one day after NHL free agency opened, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin met with the media to discuss their moves.

Bergevin was asked about the defensive style of play employed by Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. In response, Bergevin got, well, defensive.

Bergevin fired back at the reporter to identify one aspect of the Canadiens system that makes it so defensive, and claimed the style they play is not much different from the one used by the majority of teams in the NHL.

"What do we do differently than other teams that makes us a defensive team?" Bergevin asked, annoyed with the line of questioning.

During the press conference, Bergevin said he did not feel the Canadiens would be any better off if they allowed 20 more goals in order to score 20 more; he said he feels the lack of offense could be addressed if the power play were to improve on its 16.5 percent success rate of last season.

But at the core -- and Bergevin has repeated this on numerous occasions -- the Canadiens' strength lies in goal with Carey Price and, to a slightly lesser extent, on defense with P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry.

If the Canadiens finish 20th in scoring but first in goals allowed, as they did last season, they should be on the winning side more often than not.

The concern is whether Price will be able to repeat the historic season he just completed. If not, will the Canadiens' lack of offense come back to bite them?

This is why the perception the Canadiens use a stifling defensive style persists in Montreal, and six weeks after his general manager faced questions on it, it was Therrien's turn to do the same this week.

Ducks sign forward Hagelin to four-year contract

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:13 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015


The Anaheim Ducks signed left wing Carl Hagelin, a restricted free agent, to a four-year contract Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Orange County Register reported it is worth $16 million, an average annual value of $4 million.

The Ducks acquired Hagelin from the New York Rangers along with picks in the second and sixth rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft on June 27 in a trade for left wing Emerson Etem and a second-round pick.

"It was just a matter of finding the right term and the right number," Hagelin said. "They made a commitment to me with a four-year deal. For me, it's the perfect fit. You have some security going into the season feeling wanted and feeling like you can be a big part of the team. It's one of those deals where they're committed to me and I'm committed to them."

Maple Leafs hire Lemaire as special assignment coach

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 12:59 PM / News


Jacques Lemaire will be reunited with Lou Lamoriello after being hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday as a special assignment coach.

Lemaire, 69, spent parts of seven seasons as coach of the New Jersey Devils under president and general manager Lamoriello, who became GM of the Maple Leafs on July 23.

"I have been working with Lou for so many years and we became real good friends," Lemaire told the Maple Leafs website. "I love the work. Also, you've got [Maple Leafs coach] Mike [Babcock], I worked at the Olympics with him. I feel that he's the best coach around and it'll be a thrill to be able to assist him.

"That's what made me really excited, because Mike called me and Lou called me that same day and I feel that through the two calls, I said I think I can be working with them and bring something to the table."

Luongo optimistic about Panthers' playoff chances

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 12:25 PM / News


The thought of a full season with forward Jaromir Jagr in the lineup has Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo optimistic about making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2015-16.

The Panthers finished strong last season, and one reason was the play of Jagr, the leading scorer among active NHL players (722 goals, 1,802 points), who had six goals and 18 points in 20 games after being acquired in a trade from the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 27. Jagr, 43, formed an effective line with two young players, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, helping Florida go 12-6-2 after the trade.

The Panthers re-signed Jagr on April 12, and Luongo said having him back is vital to the Panthers' hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

"He played unreal," Luongo told the Panthers website. "The whole first line played really well together as a three-man unit. If we can get that kind of production every night for the upcoming season, I think we're in pretty good shape."

Penguins sign Gonchar to pro tryout contract

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 12:24 PM / News


Defenseman Sergei Gonchar signed a professional tryout contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

Gonchar, 41, spent five of his 20 NHL seasons with the Penguins, from 2005-10, and was a member of their Stanley Cup-winning team in 2009. He has played for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens.

Gonchar had one goal and 14 points in 48 games with the Stars and Canadiens last season.

“The Penguins were the only team that I was looking at,” Gonchar told the Pittsburgh website. “We’ve been talking for a while now. We had to wait for them to finish making all of their moves.”

Gallagher pleased with Canadiens' additions

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 10:51 AM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Brendan Gallagher has high hopes for new Montreal Canadiens forwards Alexander Semin and Zack Kassian.

The Canadiens signed Semin to a one-year contract reportedly worth $1.1 million July 24, a little more than three weeks after the Carolina Hurricanes bought out the final three years of the 31-year-old's five-year, $35 million contract.

"Semin is a guy that other teams have to be aware of," Gallagher said Wednesday at his charity softball game at Vancouver's Nat Bailey Stadium. "He's dangerous every time he's on the ice. He doesn't need much time and space to put the puck in the back of the net."

Coyotes captain Doan, nearing 39, in no rush to retire

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 10:24 AM / News

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan will be 39 years old shortly after the 2015-16 NHL season begins, and is entering the final year of a four-year contract, but said he hopes to play beyond this season.

"I'd like to have a good year. If I feel I can still help the team and they still want me, we can go from there," Doan, who has been the captain since the 2003-04 season, told FOX Sports Arizona on Wednesday. "I always want to approach it that way until I know I'm done."

Nugent-Hopkins says Oilers power play will be better

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 9:31 AM / NHL Insider


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins expects the Edmonton Oilers to improve on the power play this season.

The addition of forward Connor McDavid, who was the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, and a successful final 35 games of last season are the 22-year-old center's biggest reasons for optimism.

"I think as the year went on and near the end of the season, we really picked up our power play," Nugent-Hopkins told the Oilers website Thursday. "We started scoring and just had the confidence to go out there and get the job done. For whatever reason, that was something we were lacking at the start of the year.

"With a guy like [McDavid] coming in too, that will ignite us a little more hopefully. We should be a team with a really strong power play and we've got to get back to that."

Bruins hope changes get them back into playoffs

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Matt Kalman - 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.

BOSTON -- It's been an offseason of change for the Boston Bruins, who missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years.

The first significant change came April 15, when general manager Peter Chiarelli was fired and replaced by assistant GM Don Sweeney. After a couple weeks on the job, Sweeney decided to retain coach Claude Julien and his staff once Sweeney felt comfortable they were on the same page about making the Bruins more aggressive.

"They had teed up some clips in meetings and stuff before I even had a chance to sit with them, where we can get up ice and create a little more anxiety in really all three zones, where we defend the blue line and we create some turnovers and get back on offense," Sweeney said. "I think our breakouts have to have a little more flow to it and our forwards are going to have more ownership to have some guys in motion to be able to get back on offense. And that's going to be a work in progress. That's not something you just change overnight."

Bruins facing questions about gaps in lineup

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- An offseason of change for the Boston Bruins began April 15 with the firing of general manager Peter Chiarelli.

Don Sweeney, who was promoted from assistant GM to replace Chiarelli on May 20, traded defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Milan Lucic on June 26, then made two moves July 1 aiming to improve Boston's youth and depth and get the Bruins back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs after they failed to qualify for the first time since 2007.

Here are three questions facing the Bruins entering the season:

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