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2011 NHL Face-Off

Lombardi, Pacioretty return for Habs-Leafs opener

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 3:07 PM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TORONTO -- Opening night is a special feeling for just about any NHL player, but it will be a lot more so for Matthew Lombardi of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens when the Original Six rivals face off Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre.

Lombardi will be playing his first regular season game in nearly a year, having fully recovered from the concussion he suffered in the second game of last season while playing with the Nashville Predators. Pacioretty will also be making a comeback from a cracked vertebra in his neck and a concussion suffered last March in a game against the Boston Bruins.

Both players said Thursday that they are excited to get this game started, but not at all nervous about how their respective injuries will hold up.

Bruins roster stayed mostly intact, others did not

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:33 PM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

When the Boston Bruins raise their Stanley Cup banner prior to Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden, the vast majority of their opening-night roster will consist of players who had a hand in ending the franchise's 39-year championship drought.

With the exception of defenseman Joe Corvo and forward Benoit Pouliot, brought in during the offseason, the remainder of the Bruins' 22-man roster played in at least a handful of regular-season games last season -- and the majority were big contributors to the Stanley Cup run.

While the Bruins kept their 2010-11 roster mostly intact, many teams made significant changes through some combination of trades, free agency and the draft, and it shows on the official opening-night rosters released by the NHL on Thursday.

Bruins know Flyers won't let them celebrate for long

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:08 PM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Bruins' focus is going to have to switch quickly from the rafters to the other side of the rink Thursday when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden.

Once the banner honoring their 2010-11 Stanley Cup championship is unveiled, the Bruins will play their first of 82, just like the other 29 NHL teams.

"It's not going to be easy. You have to put your mind in the right place," said Boston center David Krejci after the team's practice Thursday morning. "You don't want to get carried away from the celebration and stuff before the game. So you make sure you're 100 percent before the game and after the celebration is done, the new season starts and everybody starts from zero. The main focus has to be on that."

The Bruins went through the Flyers last spring in four straight games in the conference semifinals on their way to the Cup. That followed the Flyers' historic rally from an 0-3 series deficit in 2010 in the semifinals against the Bruins, so there's definitely a rivalry between the teams. And that could work in the Bruins' favor, as they might be able to find their focus better than they would against a team with less history against them.

Avs' Landeskog has lived up to expectations

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 11:30 AM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Most experts examining the 2011 Entry Draft pronounced Kitchener Rangers power forward Gabriel Landeskog the most NHL-ready prospect.

Colorado Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman was among those who thought so, and used the second pick of June's draft to select the Swedish-born, 6-foot-1, 204-pound left wing.

From what Sherman saw during the preseason, nothing has changed his belief that Landeskog is ready to play -- and thrive -- in the NHL.

"I think in talking with our scouts in anticipation of what to expect from him, he's lived up to that," Sherman told "He does the little things on the ice. He's a smart hockey player, he's got good size, and he's the type of player that down the line will make his teammates better, his linemates better. He has a tremendous amount of character, make-up. For an 18-year-old he's very focused. I think when you look at not only the physical attributes, but the capabilities he has mentally, it's very impressive for an 18-year-old."

Bruins' Thomas on cover of Sports Illustrated

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 10:59 AM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

Courtesy: Sports Illustrated (Click image to enlarge)

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas won the Vezina Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and the Stanley Cup last season, as well as a raft of other accolades.

And this week he received one more honor -- he's on the cover of the current edition of Sports Illustrated, which includes their NHL season preview. It's one of three regional covers produced by the magazine this week.

The cover features Thomas in full uniform and getting loose, with the tag line asking if the Bruins can repeat as Cup champions.

The answer comes inside the magazine, as SI picks the Pittsburgh Penguins to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks to win the 2012 Stanley Cup.

The Bruins Stanley Cup defense begins tonight as Boston hosts Philadelphia at TD Garden. 

It'll be the last time the Bruins celebrate ending their 39-year championship drought, as they raise a banner to the TD Garden roof. When the puck drops, it'll be mostly the same team that beat the Canucks in Game 7 in June, but the Bruins will be facing a completely different Flyers squad -- one that subtracted All-Star centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and added future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off event schedule

Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 10:45 AM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

TORONTO -- The National Hockey League's transformation of The Forks in Winnipeg for the 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off™ is almost complete. The family-friendly and free hockey and entertainment festival will feature interactive games, giveaways, live game broadcasts on giant video boards, prizes and unique experiences, including free trips to the 2012 NHL® All-Star Game in Ottawa.

Markov remains key component Habs want to get back

Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 7:08 PM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- In the fall of 2009, Andrei Markov was coming off a knee injury that had cost him the entirety of the Montreal Canadiens' first-round sweep at the hands of the rival Boston Bruins the previous spring, a playoff embarrassment that played a large part in management's decision to clean house and completely overhaul the roster.

Practically the entire core of the team was allowed to depart as free agents, leaving Markov, Josh Gorges, Carey Price, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn as the only players with a tenure of more than two seasons remaining on the current edition of the club.

In came new coach Jacques Martin and a slew of new players, led by Michael Cammalleri, Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and others.

Seven surprises on opening night rosters

Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 4:32 PM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

John Kreiser - Columnist

Contrary to what coaches and general managers might like you to believe, not every job is up for grabs at an NHL training camp. Most teams come to camp with a pretty good idea of who will be on their rosters -- and hope those players will stay healthy and productive all season.

But there are always a few players who find a way to impress a team during camp. Here are seven players who may have surprised even themselves by finding a home on an NHL roster for opening night.

Petr Sykora, New Jersey Devils (age 34) -- Devils GM Lou Lamoriello was very familiar with Sykora, a member of New Jersey's 2000 Cup-winning team who had played for five NHL clubs after being dealt by the Devils in 2002. The two-time 30-goal scorer split last season between the KHL and the Czech League and was offered a tryout deal by the Devils this summer.

NHL opens its 95th season tomorrow night with spotlight on Winnipeg return, B's Cup defense

Rules revisions, rink modifications reflect League's focus on player safety

Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 4:31 PM / 2011 NHL Face-Off

NEW YORK/TORONTO – The first Stanley Cup banner raising in Boston in 39 years, the first National Hockey League regular-season game in Winnipeg in 15 years and the first NHL regular-season game ever played in Germany will be among the highlights when the NHL launches its 2011-12 season with a four-day celebration that begins tomorrow night.

The 1,230-game, 185-day regular season gets off to a rousing start with a coast-to-coast North American triple-header tomorrow night that includes the Boston Bruins beginning their 2011 Stanley Cup championship defense by playing host to the Philadelphia Flyers. The other games feature an "Original Six" showdown between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs plus a meeting between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks.
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