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NHL Insider

Holmgren: Season will show if moves were right

Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 4:03 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren sat down with NHL.com to talk about Philly's offseason changes. (Getty Images)
It's been a challenging offseason for Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren -- both personally and professionally.
 
Holmgren engineered a massive re-working of his roster this summer, swapping a pair of franchise cornerstone All-Star centers in Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, while also handing out one of the biggest contracts of the summer to goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
 
He repatriated Jaromir Jagr to the NHL, brought forward Maxime Talbot from one side of the bitter Keystone State rivalry to the other, and added a pair of highly regarded center prospects in Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.
 
On a personal level, Holmgren is still showing the aftereffects of a horrific bicycle crash earlier this month that left him with a broken shoulder, six broken ribs, and cuts and bruises on his head, hand and leg.
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Tavares becoming face of the Islanders

Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 2:43 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

John Tavares will celebrate his 21st birthday next Tuesday. While most hockey players that age are still fighting their way up the professional ranks, Tavares will be preparing for his third NHL season with the New York Islanders.

"Ricky's (DiPietro) calling me a veteran and I'm just turning 21," Tavares told NHL.com. "It's hard to believe, but I'm excited for it. Every year, I want to keep improving and keep getting better and I'm trying to become one of the elite players in the League and help our team get back to where we should be and where we could be. It's a new responsibility trying to take my game to another level."

He'll have plenty of time to find that level on Long Island. On Thursday, the Islanders announced that Tavares signed a six-year contract that will keep him with the franchise through the 2017-18 season.

"I believe in this organization and this hockey team," he said when asked why he was willing to make a long-term commitment with a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2007. "The Stanley Cup is what we want, obviously sooner than later. But we've got to take it one day at a time. It's for us as a team to take the next step and make the playoffs."
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Busy weekend ahead as NHL teams open camp

Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 12:52 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The calendar says summer ends on Sept. 23. But for the players aiming to be on an NHL roster this season, it really comes to an end this weekend, when teams open their training camps open. The majority of veteran players will have their first official on-ice sessions Saturday morning.

Not that the opening day of camp will be the first time players have hit the ice since the end of last season. Most of them have already been skating -- Alex Ovechkin is so eager to prove that last season's 32-goal, 85-point performance was an off-season that he jumped on the ice and did drills during the Washington Capitals' rookie camp last weekend.
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Canadiens optimistic as training camp nears

Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 4:58 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

LAVAL, Que. – For a team that was knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round, the Montreal Canadiens appeared to be pretty content with the roster judging by a lack of offseason moves.

Aside from power forward Erik Cole and backup goalie Peter Budaj, general manager Pierre Gauthier stayed away from the unrestricted free agent market.

The inactivity from management sent a message to a group of players that lost in overtime of Game 7 to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins that there was a belief in its ability to grow from that disappointment and become stronger as a result.

"We left last season on an optimistic note," Gauthier said Wednesday at the team's annual fundraising golf tournament just north of Montreal. "We were disappointed to lose in overtime of a seventh game, but with the injuries last season and the roles of the young players, a lot of the veterans were saying we have a good team."
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Army veteran McKelvie ready to start pro career

Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 4:00 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. – No player attending this past week's Bruins rookie camp has waited longer to get there or appreciated the opportunity to skate with a professional jersey on more than Zach McKelvie.

After all, just two years ago the defenseman didn't know if his dream of playing professional hockey would ever come true.

After a standout four-year career at Army, Department of Defense policy required McKelvie to remain on active duty for 24 months. Instead of going to training camp with the Bruins' farm team in Providence, he reported to Fort Benning, Ga., for training and to await an assignment.
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One-on-one with Mike Yeo, youngest coach in the NHL

Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 8:55 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

New Wild coach Mike Yeo will enter the 2011-12 season as the youngest coach in the NHL. (Getty Images)
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Mike Yeo will enter the 2011-12 season as the youngest coach in the NHL.
 
That fact doesn't seem to faze the 38-year-old father of two who was named the third coach in the 11-year history of the Minnesota Wild on June 17. Yeo, who replaced Todd Richards after two seasons, had spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and helped lead the club to a Stanley Cup in 2009.
 
He also guided the Wild's top farm club in Houston to the American Hockey League finals last season in his only year as coach of the Aeros. He likes teams that play with speed and aggressiveness, and stresses puck-possession time in the offensive end.

Yeo inherits a team that has qualified for the playoffs just three times in 10 seasons (2003, '07 and '08) and has advanced beyond the opening round just once. While he certainly has his work cut out for him, Yeo is up for the challenge and ready to get the season started.
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All cheers for Cup-champion Bruins

Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 11:35 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The magical powers of the Stanley Cup seemingly know no bounds.

For the first time in the several years, since the Bruins started holding their annual "State of the Bruins" town hall meeting for season-ticket holders, there were standing ovations during introductions and applause after every answer to questions from the audience Monday at TD Garden.

Any doubts that Boston and Bruins fans have been transformed by the end of the 39-year championship drought were dashed by the jovial mood of those gathered at the Bruins' home rink.
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Rangers' Callahan joins exclusive fraternity

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 4:34 PM / NHL Insider

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

Few individual honors in hockey are more meaningful than being named a team captain, and doing so as a native of the United States is an exclusive club. On Monday, the New York Rangers' Ryan Callahan became the 37th member of that fraternity.

With Ryan Callahan named captain of the New York Rangers on Monday, the NHL again has four captains -- Callahan, the Kings' Dustin Brown, the Canadiens' Brian Gionta and the Blues' David Backes -- who hail from the United States. While that news should be a source of pride for any U.S. hockey fan, it should be particularly so for those from the Empire State. Three of the four current U.S.-born captains in the NHL -- Brown, Gionta and Callahan -- are New York natives, but it is Callahan who gets the rare treat of being a captain of an NHL team in his home state.
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Laviolette was rookie coach when attacks occurred

Friday, 09.09.2011 / 6:44 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001 will resonate with anyone who was old enough to understand the gravity of what happened. It's one of those moments where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when the terrorist attacks happened 10 years ago Sunday.

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is no exception.

"I was probably two minutes into my first training camp as a head coach in the National Hockey League," he said. "Day 1. I'll never forget."

Laviolette was a 37-year-old first-year coach of the New York Islanders on that fateful day. The Islanders were holding training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Laviolette had just led the first group of players onto the ice.

"I might have heard first from the players, but shortly after that, five after nine or seven after nine, (General Manager) Mike Milbury came over and told me what had happened," Laviolette said. "Nobody was sure at that point. We didn't really know."

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Leetch still feels loss of close friend in 9/11 attacks

Friday, 09.09.2011 / 4:02 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Brian Leetch has no memory of scoring the overtime winner. He barely remembers playing in the game.

It was Oct. 6, 2001, the New York Rangers' first regular-season home game in the post-9/11 world. Leetch's job forced him to be on the ice at Madison Square Garden that night, but looking back on it, his mind was elsewhere.

Leetch was lost somewhere between the devastation he felt as a person who called New York City home and the heartache he was enduring as one of thousands who lost a dear friend in the World Trade Center the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. 
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— Florida goalie Roberto Luongo after the Panthers defeated the Capitals in the longest shootout in NHL history on Tuesday
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