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2010 NHL Face-Off

Shero knows facing Flyers perfect way to open home

Thursday, 10.07.2010 / 11:43 AM / 2010 NHL Face-Off

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"I think it's great to be opening up against Philly, our in-state rival, who came into the League at the same time we did, in 1967. We've had some great games against these guys, whether it was playoffs or regular season, and the games are always emotional, intense and physical." -- Ray Shero

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins probably could host the Philadelphia Flyers during rush hour at a local high school on a gymnasium floor and still attract a standing-room-only crowd.
But the fact the Keystone State rivals will open the 2010-11 season at state-of-the-art Consol Energy Center here, located directly across the street from their former home, Mellon Arena, certainly adds to the buildup of the NHL's opening night in the Steel City.
"I think it's great to be opening up against Philly, our in-state rival, who came into the League at the same time we did, in 1967," Penguins General Manager Ray Shero told "We've had some great games against these guys, whether it was playoffs or regular season, and the games are always emotional, intense and physical. We only play them six times a year instead of eight now, but it should be a great game. I think both teams should have good years."

More mature Thornton ready for captaincy

Thursday, 10.07.2010 / 10:04 AM / 2010 NHL Face-Off

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

"I think last time I was just young. I was a shy kid and really didn't know how to express myself. Now I'm a father, I'm a man, I'm 31 years old. I'm a much different person than I was when I was 23 years old. I'll take all of those experiences and hope to learn from it. I want to be captain. I feel like I'm ready for this responsibility."
-- Joe Thornton

STOCKHOLM -- After Joe Thornton was named the eighth full-time captain in the history of the San Jose Sharks on Thursday at Globe Arena, he was asked if becoming a father during the offseason helped change his easy-going personality and resulted in him becoming a little more mature.

"I have to look after one kid at home and now I have to look after 22 on the road," he replied.

So don't expect Thornton to change too much.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan made the announcement to the team at the conclusion of practice. Defenseman Dan Boyle, clearly the second choice to be captain, was named a permanent alternate for the season. Forwards Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe will alternate the second "A," with Marleau wearing it at home and Clowe wearing it on the road.

2010-11 season begins! From Europe to North America

Thursday, 10.07.2010 / 9:45 AM / 2010 NHL Face-Off

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

The summer is over. Training camp is done. The preseason games are all played out.

Now the fun starts.

From Helsinki to Vancouver, and all points in between, the 2010-11 NHL season is about to begin, and with it the hope for another entertaining, outstanding campaign.

All 30 teams enter the season with the same amount of hope. That only one will ultimately go home with the Stanley Cup isn't the point right now. No, the present is about new beginnings and unlimited opportunities.

The initial opportunity belongs to the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild, who will take part in the first puck drop of the season at noon ET on Thursday at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, part of the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere series. They'll play again Friday in Helsinki, and the long opening weekend also will see the Sharks and Blue Jackets meet for two games at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, while the Coyotes and Bruins will play a pair at the O2 Arena in Prague.

Grabner adjusting to third team in four months

Wednesday, 10.06.2010 / 3:36 PM / 2010 NHL Face-Off

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Never in a million years did Michael Grabner think he'd be on his third NHL team in four months, but that is the case after he was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders on Tuesday afternoon.
Grabner, who also celebrated his 23rd birthday Tuesday, had 11 points in just 20 games for the Canucks last season and was thought to be a key piece in the deal that sent defenseman Keith Ballard from Florida to Vancouver on June 26. Instead, Panthers GM Dale Tallon, who didn't like the way Grabner played in training camp, placed him on waivers. The Islanders didn't hesitate to claim him.
"It's another chance for me," Grabner said after practicing with his new teammates for the first time Wednesday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. "I'm glad (the Islanders) took a chance on me. Hopefully I can pick up my game and help them out here.

Niemi hopes to repeat last year's feat

Wednesday, 10.06.2010 / 12:19 PM / 2010 NHL Face-Off

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

STOCKHOLM -- In the world of sports, your worst enemy is always just a transaction away from becoming your best friend.

The San Jose Sharks and goaltender Antti Niemi can attest to that.

In last spring's Western Conference Finals, the top-seeded Sharks were facing the second-seeded Chicago Blackhawks for the right to play for the Stanley Cup. The only advantage either team seemed to have was in goal, where the Sharks boasted the experienced Vezina Trophy finalist in Evgeni Nabokov while the Blackhawks were rolling out a 26-year-old rookie in Niemi.

The Blackhawks swept the series and went on to win the Stanley Cup. In the four games against the Sharks, Niemi stopped 129 of 136 shots. His 44-save performance in Game 1 set the tone for a series that saw the Sharks once again bow out earlier than they would've liked.

Wideman settles in

Tuesday, 10.05.2010 / 2:39 PM / 2010 NHL Face-Off
In today's topic, we take a closer look at defenseman Dennis Wideman in our Top 10 Players To Watch this season.

Going into last season, defenseman Dennis Wideman had posted back-to-back career years. The 27-year old recorded 13 goals and 36 points during the 2007-08 season with the Boston Bruins. Then he followed that up with another 13 goals as well as 50 points the next season.

Seen as one of the B's best defensemen along with captain Zdeno Chara, another solid year was expected of him as the Bruins were one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

For Wideman however, he never really got going until the end of the season.

Avalanche's focus shifting to Chicago

Tuesday, 10.05.2010 / 2:33 PM / 2010 NHL Face-Off
With the preseason now in the books, the focus begins to shift.

In talking to many of the Avalanche's players over the past two weeks, the common theme was that the club was focused solely on itself during its exhibition slate. They weren't overly concerned about what their opponent's roster would look like in their next game, or the strategies that those clubs might employ.

For the Avalanche, the preseason was all about coming together as a team and getting reacquainted with the speed of the NHL game.

Tavares excited for season

Tuesday, 10.05.2010 / 2:30 PM / 2010 NHL Face-Off
In just five days, the Islanders will celebrate the beginning of a new hockey season when they faceoff against the Dallas Stars at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Opening Night is definitely exciting for dedicated hockey fans who have been looking forward to this season since the last one ended, but this night is also extremely important to the players on the ice.

"We are glad the preseason is over. With the exception of the two injuries to Kyle and Mark, we are relatively healthy," said Islanders head coach Scott Gordon. "I think the guys are looking forward to playing a real game now.  There was a lot of training over the course of the summer. The anticipation of playing the first game is something that you wait all summer for, and why you do all the training."

Stempniak's return to Coyotes a win-win

Tuesday, 10.05.2010 / 2:03 PM / 2010 NHL Face-Off

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

"I didn't think we had any chance to resign him. Quite frankly, we expected the phone to ring and be told where he was headed next." -- GM Don Maloney

Last spring, Lee Stempniak was brought in by the Coyotes to replace Scottie Upshall -- done for the season with a nasty knee injury.

This summer, Ray Whitney was brought to Phoenix to replace Stempniak who, it was all but conceded, was headed elsewhere for a lucrative contract after scoring 14 of his 28 goals during a magical six-week stint in Arizona.

"I didn't think we had any chance to resign him," said Phoenix general manger Don Maloney, still bound by an organizational budget set by the NHL, which owns the club. "Quite frankly, we expected the phone to ring and be told where he was headed next."

NHL partners join the lineup for 2010 NHL Face-Off

Partners activate at season opening celebration, engaging hockey fans

Monday, 10.04.2010 / 10:07 AM / 2010 NHL Face-Off

NEW YORK/TORONTO – The National Hockey League (NHL) will celebrate the opening of the 2010-11 NHL season on October 7 with 2010 NHL Face-Off™, a hockey and entertainment festival at Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. From Noon until the conclusion of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game at Air Canada Centre, the NHL® and ten official League partners will treat fans at Dundas Square to live musical performances; interactive attractions that test hockey skills; prizing and giveaways, including a chance to win a trip to the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic™ courtesy of Canadian Tire; special guest appearances including former NHL players; food, beverage and merchandise tents; and live game broadcasts on giant video screens.
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