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How West's playoff outsiders get back in this season

Thursday, 10.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which begins Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Summer may be the most enjoyable season for many people, but when it comes to NHL teams, they want to put off the start to their summers as long as possible.

But for the six Western Conference teams that missed out on the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff party, their goal since the second week of April has been figuring out how to extend their seasons into May -- or even June, like the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

So how can the teams that missed the fun turn into postseason hits? As training camps open this month, NHL.com today examines why fans of the unlucky six can hold onto their playoff hopes:

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Preseason roundup: Penguins win Crosby's debut

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 11:40 PM / News

NHL.com

Sidney Crosby made his preseason debut, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 shots for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.

Blake Comeau and Oskar Sundqvist scored for Pittsburgh; Nick Spaling had two assists.

Crosby played 18:47 with seven shots on goal after missing the start of the preseason with a minor injury then two games while attending his grandmother's funeral. It was his first game since May 13.

"It felt like, for not playing in some games, it felt pretty good throughout the game," Crosby told the Penguins website. "I got the one under my belt; we'll get ready for the season now."

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Hilary Knight to practice with Anaheim Ducks

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 10:22 PM / News

NHL.com

U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey player Hilary Knight will practice with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, the team announced.

Knight, a forward, is believed to be the first female non-goalie to practice with an NHL team, the Ducks said. Her participation is part of World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend.

Knight, 25, won a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics. She had seven assists in 2010, and three goals and three assists in 2014.

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Emrick: Devils without Brodeur will 'seem strange'

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 6:32 PM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NBC broadcaster Mike "Doc" Emrick admitted it's going to be odd not seeing goaltender Martin Brodeur in a New Jersey Devils jersey for the first time in 23 seasons.

"It will seem strange, but there's always that handoff," Emrick said. "The same question was raised when Steve Yzerman wouldn't be in Detroit anymore. Who takes over? As it turns out, it was Nicklas Lidstrom, not only as captain but as the face of the franchise.

"So that will be the intriguing thing; who will be the new face in New Jersey?"

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NBC crew sees obstacles in Kings' quest to repeat

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 6:30 PM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

A new NHL season begins in seven days and inquiring minds would like to know whether or not the Los Angeles Kings have what it takes to become the first team in almost two decades to deliver back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.

The question was posed to NBC Sports Group's lead NHL broadcast team of veteran play-by-play man Mike "Doc" Emrick, analyst Eddie Olczyk and "Inside the Glass" analyst Pierre McGuire during a conference call Wednesday previewing the 2014-15 season.

"The Kings won't win because the numbers say we haven't had a repeat winner in a long time," Olczyk said. "You need a lot of things to go right and have some luck, and look at the hole they dug themselves out of last year."

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Coyotes' King to coach in Russia

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 3:01 PM / News

NHL.com

Dave King, who served as senior adviser to the coaching staff with the Arizona Coyotes for three seasons, has been released from his contract to coach in Russia, according to general manager Don Maloney.

According to the KHL website, King will coach Lokomotiv. King finished last season as the coach there, leading it to the Western Conference final.

"We anticipate [King] will rejoin us once his KHL season has ended," Maloney said via the Coyotes' Twitter account.

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Babcock to start season without new contract: report

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 12:58 PM / News

NHL.com

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock likely will enter the season without a contract extension, general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday. The newspaper reported that Holland and Babcock held contract negotiations Tuesday.

Babcock, who is entering the final season of his contract, repeatedly has said he is not interested in negotiating an extension during the season because of the distraction that it creates.

However, Holland said the key is that neither he nor Babcock wants to negotiate publicly. He told the newspaper that there is a good chance they will talk privately about the situation.

The Red Wings open the season Oct. 9 against the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena.

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Blues add HHOF member Gainey as consultant: report

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 11:03 AM / News

NHL.com

Hockey Hall of Fame member Bob Gainey has joined the St. Louis Blues as a consultant, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Gainey has a long relationship with Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and coach Ken Hitchcock. Armstrong worked with Gainey with the Minnesota North Stars and Dallas Stars, and Gainey picked Hitchcock to be his replacement as coach of the Dallas Stars during the 1995-96 season so Gainey could focus on his GM job with the Stars.

According to the newspaper Gainey will work with the Blues and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

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EA Sports' simulation predicts repeat by Kings

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 10:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

The NHL routinely saw teams win championships in clusters until the 1990s, but dynasties have all but disappeared during the past two decades. Nine teams have won the Stanley Cup in the past 11 seasons, and no franchise has successfully defended the Cup since the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998.

According to EA Sports, that trend will come to an end this season.

In its annual NHL season simulation released Wednesday, EA Sports predicts the defending-champion Los Angeles Kings will defeat the Boston Bruins in six games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final for their second straight championship and third in the past four seasons, giving the NHL its first bona fide dynasty in more than a decade. The Conn Smythe Trophy will go to Kings forward Anze Kopitar, who is also predicted to win the Selke Trophy for his regular-season play in the simulation.

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Key questions facing Eastern Conference teams

Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which begins Wednesday, Oct. 8.

The calendar has turned to October, and that means NHL teams already are brainstorming to figure out what they'll have to do to be successful when the regular season starts next week.

As they get ready for 2014-15, all 30 teams have questions. Will that big rookie make an impact right away? Will the free-agent signee fill the hole he was brought in to plug? Will the offense/defense/goaltending/special teams improve?

With that in mind, here's a look at a key question facing the 16 teams in the Eastern Conference:

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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday