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NHL Insider

Weber prepared to help Predators chase Cup

Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 6:34 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

With the business side of hockey out of the way, Shea Weber is happy he's free to focus on one thing now: winning.

One day after the Nashville Predators chose to match the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet the defenseman signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, Weber said Wednesday he is excited to know he'll likely be spending the rest of his career with the organization that chose him in the second round of the 2003 NHL Draft.

Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 19 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 49
SOG: 230 | +/-: 21
"It's a very exciting time for the Predators organization and myself," Weber said on a conference call. "It's a big step in the right direction. Ownership showed a commitment here in the last week. Now going forward I can focus on the important stuff, getting ready for the season and getting ready to go this year."

Weber, a restricted free agent, signed the largest offer sheet in NHL history July 18, giving the Predators until July 25 to match. Nashville general manager David Poile had said all along the franchise would match any offer sheet that came Weber's way, and the two-time Norris Trophy runner-up said he was happy to see it live up to its word.

Beaulieu sees big things for Yakupov, Galchenyuk

Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 3:07 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

In a memorable 2012 NHL Draft that saw a record-tying 13 defensemen taken in the first round (including eight of the top 10 picks), it was two forwards who also made history. And the coach who watched them play last season sees big things for both -- even if it potentially comes at the expense of his own team.

With Sarnia Sting teammates Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk selected first by Edmonton and third by Montreal respectively, it marked the first time teammates had been selected in the top three since the Sedin brothers were taken second and third in 1999. The last time two Canadian junior teammates were taken in the top three at the Draft was 1974, when Wilf Paiement and Richard Hampton of the St. Catherines Black Hawks were drafted by the Kansas City Scouts and California Seals, respectively.

"We had a pretty good indication that Yaky [Yakupov] was going to go number one. Gally [Galchenyuk], we didn't know. But we knew that Montreal liked him a lot," said Jacques Beaulieu, the Sarnia head coach and general manager who coached both players last season. "It's been hectic for the organization, but also positive."

Rick Nash getting used to being a Ranger

Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 3:02 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Rick Nash
Left Wing - NYR
GOALS: 30 | ASST: 29 | PTS: 59
SOG: 306 | +/-: -19

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It took only a couple conversations with a former Ranger to help convince Rick Nash that New York was the place for him.

Vinny Prospal, who spent two seasons with the New York Rangers before signing with the Blue Jackets last season, sang the praises of his former club, the organization and coach John Tortorella. Prospal was still in contact with Nash on Wednesday morning, two days after the blockbuster deal that sent one of the game's top scorers from Columbus to New York.

Poile, Preds thrilled to have Weber long-term

Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 2:29 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Nashville Predators GM David Poile compared signing Shea Weber to a marriage. Considering the length of the contract Weber agreed to, it's not a bad comparison.

The Predators announced Tuesday they had agreed to match the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet Weber had signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 18, retaining their team captain through the 2025-26 season.

"He [Weber] just got engaged, he's going to get married and hopefully that'll be a lifetime for him," Poile told the team's website. "We just signed him for 14 years and that's pretty well a lifetime and a career for a hockey player. It's a marriage."

Poile said the decision to match the offer sheet was one that involved all parts of the organization because of the importance of the decision.

With Weber out, Flyers will look from within

Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 12:56 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

So now that the dust has settled from the Shea Weber saga, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren feels it's time to move forward.

The Nashville Predators on Tuesday put to bed any visions of Weber donning a Flyers jersey next season when they matched Philadelphia's 14-year, $110-million offer sheet, thus retaining their three-time NHL All-Star.

Shea Weber
Shea Weber - 2011-12
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 19 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 49
SOG: 230 | +/-: 21

Holmgren said he learned of the Predators decision to match at 3:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday and his initial reaction was "disappointment."

"We were hopeful they wouldn't match, but obviously they did," Holmgren told reporters via a conference call Wednesday. "We tried to add, in our minds, the best defenseman in the game to a good, young, up-and-coming team, and it didn't work."

So in a span of 21 days, Holmgren and the Flyers were rebuffed in their attempts to sign unrestricted free agent defensemen Ryan Suter and Matt Carle, forward Zach Parise and restricted free agent Weber.

Brandon Sutter introduced, excited about new team

Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 12:53 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

Brandon Sutter has had a month to get over the shock of being traded for the first time in his hockey career. Now he says he's excited at the thought of playing with his new team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said Wednesday during a media conference call. "At first it was tough -- it was the first time I'd ever been traded, I was in a place where I was comfortable.

"It's a tough thing to go through, no matter who you are. At first it kind of takes you aback and it's a little disappointing, but you start to think about it and you get excited. Once I meet the guys and start skating it will be awesome. I'm getting really pumped about it."

A look at some of the greatest scorers in NHL history

Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 1:50 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

A sniper is the guy who always seems to have the puck on his tape when the game is on the line. He's the guy who keeps goaltenders awake at night with his lightning-quick release and corner-picking accuracy. The puck is barely on his stick before it's on the way to (and into) the net.

Not every big scorer is a sniper. Gordie Howe, No. 2 on the all-time goal-scoring list, was a power forward whose combination of skill and strength was unique. Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's all-time leader in goals, is a category unto himself, since he scored goals in just about any way imaginable but was even better at setting up teammates than at turning on the red light himself.

Snipers generally need some assistance -- they're the kind of guys who finish a play, not the ones who start it. But in an era when every goal is precious, a top sniper is a must-have.

NHL records that don't figure to be broken

Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 1:16 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

Not all that long ago, Gordie Howe's 801 goals and Terry Sawchuk's 103 shutouts were deemed to be records that would stand the test of time. Then along came Wayne Gretzky and Martin Brodeur, who dropped the former Detroit teammates back to No. 2 in their respective categories.

Players like Gretzky and Brodeur have set standards for the players of today and tomorrow to shoot at. But there are some records that don't figure to be broken for a long time, if ever. Here are a few of them.

Most consecutive complete games by a goaltender: Glenn Hall, 502

Hall was as brilliant as he was durable -- a combination that landed him in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hall took the ice for the Detroit Red Wings on opening night in 1955-56 and played all 70 games. He did the same thing the following season. The Wings sent him to Chicago in the summer of 1957, and he played all 70 games for the Hawks for five consecutive seasons, leading Chicago to a Stanley Cup in 1961.

Jackets heading in new direction with reworked roster

Monday, 07.23.2012 / 7:39 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Columbus used to have a superstar player surrounded by a team with flaws. Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson hopes that by trading Rick Nash to the New York Rangers, his team will have fewer flaws despite not having a superstar player.

Howson ended the Nash trade speculation Monday by shipping the best player in franchise history to the Rangers in exchange for forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.

"I think all three players have a chance to be the cornerstone in this trade," Howson said. "Who knows, the first-round pick might also be. We are really happy in getting the players and pick we got. We think they're going to bring a lot to our hockey team."

A look at Rick Nash by the numbers

Monday, 07.23.2012 / 5:54 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

Rick Nash is bound for Broadway.

After spending his entire NHL career with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the most successful player in franchise history was traded to the New York Rangers on Monday for three players and a first-round draft pick. Nash heads for the Big Apple holding most of the Jackets' franchise scoring records, but with only one playoff appearance to show for it.

Here's a numerical look at Nash's career as he prepares for the next chapter:

0 -- Playoff games won by the Blue Jackets during Nash's time in Columbus. The Jackets were swept by Detroit in 2009, the only time the franchise has made the postseason.

1 -- Major awards earned by Nash. He scored 41 goals in 2003-04, his second NHL season, to earn a share of the Rocket Richard Trophy, given each season to the player with the most goals. Nash is the youngest player to win the award.

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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