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Features

Faulk focused on helping Hurricanes make playoffs

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is accustomed to strong starts and even stronger finishes.

In his first international appearance for the United States as an 18-year-old, Faulk scored the game-winning goal to give the Americans the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF U-18 World Championship.

A year later, as a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Faulk played a key role in the Bulldogs' run to their first NCAA championship. That summer, the Hurricanes, who had selected Faulk in the second round (No. 37) in the 2010 NHL Draft, signed him to a three-year entry-level contract. Again, Faulk announced himself immediately, scoring 22 points in 66 games in 2011-12.

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Bernier hoping to lead Maple Leafs back to playoffs

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Despite setting career highs in games, wins and saves in his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs after five with the Los Angeles Kings, goalie Jonathan Bernier knows how his 2013-14 campaign will mostly be remembered.

He struggled with injuries late in the season and Toronto lost 12 of its final 14 games to fall out of the race for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We've just got to learn from it, move on. I think as a group we'll be stronger with the way we ended our season," Bernier said. "I think I was a lot more tired at the beginning of the season. [In Los Angeles], I wasn't playing that many games. But it was really good to get back in that game mode."

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Fast start, physical play keys to Hurricanes' success

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

After seeing their team miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past five seasons, Carolina Hurricanes fans will settle for no less than a return to the postseason in 2014-15.

Bill Peters, who enters his first season as an NHL coach after three spent assisting Mike Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings, is right there with them. Peters said a playoff appearance would require consistent effort, mental toughness and a will to win. Now it's up to Peters and his staff to infuse the Hurricanes, a team largely unchanged from the one which finished last season 13th in the Eastern Conference, with these qualities.

As training camp gives way to the regular season, here are three keys for the Hurricanes entering the season:

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Consistency critical as Hurricanes try to end drought

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Consistency in the NHL isn't always easy to pinpoint or maintain, but it can mean the difference between missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs and making it, between an early summer and one spent celebrating a championship.

For the past few seasons, the Carolina Hurricanes have been consistently inconsistent. Gaps in regular-season performance have translated into a five-season playoff drought and two consecutive 13th-place finishes in the Eastern Conference. Over one 12-game stretch from Dec. 20-Jan. 13 that can serve as a microcosm of Carolina's inconsistency, the Hurricanes lost five straight, then won five straight, then lost their next two games.

This offseason the Hurricanes, in search of that elusive consistency, overhauled their front office. Carolina replaced longtime general manager Jim Rutherford with Ron Francis. Shortly after, coach Kirk Muller was fired and Detroit Red Wings assistant Bill Peters was hired in his place.

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Puck possession major starting point for Maple Leafs

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Changes at the top of the organization, on the coaching staff, to the roster, and in the team's overall philosophy have highlighted a busy summer for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, to change the results on the ice the Maple Leafs will have to do almost a complete 180 from last season. They need to specifically be better in the following three areas:

1. Hold onto the puck -- The Maple Leafs can't be a one-and-done rush team. They fooled themselves into thinking they could survive that way last season. Eventually shots, even the ones from the outside, have a way of going in. Eventually your good fortune in the offensive zone runs out.

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Maple Leafs ready to try new approach at success

Friday, 09.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The changes the Toronto Maple Leafs made in their front office, on their bench, and to their roster during the offseason made for interesting storylines and allowed for some fascinating discussion about the new way the team will go about its business on the ice and off it.

However, with the conversation now focused on putting those changes, including Toronto's obvious emphasis on analytics, to the test, old news is still hard to ignore.

The Maple Leafs have a new leader in president Brendan Shanahan, who made changes underneath general manager Dave Nonis and coach Randy Carlyle by appointing each new assistants, all because of how poorly last season ended.

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Wild goalie Kuemper agrees to two-year contract

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 11:01 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Restricted free agent goaltender Darcy Kuemper has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Minnesota Wild, the team said Thursday.

No other terms were disclosed, but TSN's Bob McKenzie reported it's a one-way contract with an average annual value of $1.25 million.

"I'm super excited to continue this journey with the Wild and can't wait to see and get back on the ice with my teammates," Kuemper told Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Kuemper said he will arrive at Wild training camp Friday, the newspaper reported.

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Maple Leafs trying their best to move forward

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 8:49 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- A new era dawned on the Toronto Maple Leafs when they reported for training camp Thursday, but aspects of the recent past remain.

Despite a remade front office and a message of new hope, the majority of the day was spent answering for the sins of the past, particularly missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, and sidestepping fresh controversies created before the 2014-15 team even took the ice for the first time.

"There's a tremendous amount of scrutiny that takes place," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We understand that. That's the education that we're trying to bring to our players, that this isn't easy. But no one said it was easy to play in the NHL. It's difficult. And there are days that are more difficult than others."

Thursday was difficult at times when Maple Leafs new and old arrived at MasterCard Centre for physicals and other off-ice activities before taking the ice Friday.

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Flyers' Timonen says return this season is 'slim'

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 4:32 PM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen will attempt to play during the 2014-15 NHL season but admitted Thursday the chances of that happening are slim due to blood clots that were found in his lower right leg and in both lungs in early August.

"My desire is always I want to play but chance of me playing is really slim," Timonen said during a press conference at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, N.J. "That's the fact. But I'm ready to wait for that chance and see how I feel."

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NHL Network-US announces preseason schedule

Starting Sept. 21, NHL Network-U.S. Will Broadcast 22 Live Preseason Games, EJ Hradek, Steve Mears to Anchor Sept. 22 Season Debut of NHL Live

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 2:00 PM / NHL Network

NHL.com

NEW YORK / TORONTO -- NHL Network™-U.S. will begin its 2014-15 preseason broadcast schedule with the Buffalo Sabres-Washington Capitals game on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Highlighted by rivalries, doubleheaders, player debuts, the Sept. 24 2014 Kraft Hockeyville game featuring the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames in Sylvan Lake, Alta., and the Oct. 4 Colorado Avalanche-Los Angeles Kings matchup at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NHL Network-U.S. will carry 22 preseason game broadcasts live heading into the 2014-15 regular season.

NHL Live™, one of NHL Network's signature programs, makes its return on Monday, Sept. 22, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by EJ Hradek (@EJHradek_NHL) and Steve Mears (@MearsyNHL), the two-hour live show features commentary, analysis and social interaction with hockey insiders, NHL.com writers and editors, and special guests. Fans can join the conversation via Twitter (@NHLNetwork) with the hashtag #NHLPreseason.

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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares