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Five Questions With…

Five Questions: Stamkos on secrets to his success

Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 9:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com periodically will be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today, aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos:

Steven Stamkos is experienced enough to understand that this season he'll be judged on the sequel, not the original production. It comes with the territory when you're an evolving superstar in the National Hockey League.

The 60 goals Stamkos scored last season, the fact that he became the 19th player in NHL history to hit that single-season milestone, won't mean nearly as much if he doesn't come back this season with similar production, albeit in a truncated 48-game schedule.

Stamkos isn't blind to this. He knows about high expectations and pressure. He's been living with both since he was a teenager.

Stamkos also knows how to live up to those expectations, how to handle that pressure and thrive in front of the scrutinizing eyes of fans and media.

He's been doing all of that since overcoming a slow rookie season to score 51 goals in his second NHL season. Still, it's fair to say that since Stamkos broke into the NHL as an 18-year-old No. 1 draft pick, the expectations placed on him never have been as high as they are right now.

Read on for Stamkos' thoughts on how he handles pressure and so much more.

Here are Five Questions With ... Steven Stamkos:

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Five Questions: Davidson set for Columbus challenge

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 10:32 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson:

After six years of helping build the St. Louis Blues into a Stanley Cup contender, John Davidson is starting the process all over again -- this time in Columbus, where patience has been preached and losing has been the norm for a dozen years.

Davidson, the Blue Jackets' new president of hockey operations, is being paid to change all of that.

He has referred to Columbus as the NHL's "best-kept secret" because of the fans in the community, the facilities that the Blue Jackets have and the stable ownership provided by the McConnell family since the franchise was born.

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Five Questions: Snow on career, Islanders' move

Tuesday, 12.18.2012 / 1:59 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With ...," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow:

With a move to a new arena in Brooklyn three years away, Islanders GM Garth Snow will soon be unshackled from the antiquated facility that has ruined countless sales pitches he's attempted to give every July 1 since 2007.

Snow figures the Islanders' move 25 miles away to Barclays Center, set for the opening of the 2015-16 NHL season, immediately gives him the opportunity to sell the team's future, Long Island and New York City to free agents who typically wouldn't have given him much more than the courtesy of answering the phone.

"That certainty of where we're going to be is crucial," Snow told NHL.com Tuesday.

Snow's job now is to continue building the Islanders' bridge to Brooklyn. It's a job he started in earnest more than six years ago, when as a rehabbing aging goaltender he received an opportunity too good to pass up, an opportunity he knew he wanted since he was a college student trying to make it in hockey.

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Five Questions: Krueger on unorthodox path to NHL

Thursday, 12.13.2012 / 7:02 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger:

Most coaches follow a somewhat similar path to the area behind the bench in the National Hockey League.

Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger isn't like most coaches. He stopped dreaming about the NHL long before he finally got his chance to work here.

Instead of playing in North America and catching on with a franchise somewhere as an assistant coach, Krueger went to Germany as a 20-year-old and spent the next three decades in Europe learning the game, dissecting the sport as if it were a science project and developing an impeccable list of contacts, including the group of Oilers executives who eventually brought him to the NHL.

Two-and-a-half years ago, when Tom Renney, Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini hired Krueger to be an assistant under Renney, the only official ties he had to the NHL were the few players who played for him on the Swiss national team and the five years he served in a minor consulting role with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Krueger coached in Germany and Austria before landing in Switzerland as the coach of a national team ranked 15th in the world in 2000 by the International Ice Hockey Federation. Krueger had the Swiss up to No. 7 by the time he left in 2010.

He was promoted by the Oilers this summer to take over for Renney.

"People say, 'Well, you've waited 23 years for this,'" Krueger told NHL.com. "No, no, no. I didn't wait 23 years for this, it just evolved this way."

How did it evolve? Why did it take Krueger until he was 51 years old to break into the NHL? What does he think about the task in front of him now?

Read on for the answers.

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Five Questions: Penguins' Bylsma destined to coach

Friday, 11.30.2012 / 10:00 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma:

Dan Bylsma knew with certainty that he was destined to be a coach when he was roughly halfway through his relatively modest NHL playing career.

He started to bring a notebook to practices so he could document what his coach was doing and saying that day. He thought about the drills and the daily messages he would receive and started to contemplate what he would do in those situations, what he would have said on that day.

Bylsma said his notebook wasn't necessarily a journal and not something he wrote in every day, but he compiled enough physical and mental notes as a player that when he became an assistant coach in the American Hockey League eight years ago, he had a plan and the ability to implement it.

Now, at 42 years old, Bylsma has among his fellow members of the coaching fraternity, without question, one of the most unique perspectives on the game and everything that surrounds it.

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Five Questions: MacLean recalls rise through ranks

Wednesday, 11.28.2012 / 9:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean:

Hockey fans everywhere know the mustache -- but do they know the man behind it?

Ottawa coach Paul MacLean introduced his mustache to the NHL in 1981, when he became a full-time player with the Winnipeg Jets. For 10 seasons, the first seven spent in Winnipeg, MacLean was a consistent 30-goal scorer who put up 40 or more three times.

MacLean retired from playing at 32 and quickly became a scout for the St. Louis Blues at the request of general manager Ron Caron. He soon got into coaching and made stops at various minor-league cities with one season with the Phoenix Coyotes mixed in before he got to the NHL and found a way to stay.

He hitched on with Mike Babcock with the Anaheim Ducks, rode with the championship coach to the Detroit Red Wings, won a Stanley Cup, and last year finally got his chance to be a coach in the NHL -- 18 years after he got into the business full time.

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Five Questions: Gillis talks Bure, life as agent, GM

Saturday, 11.10.2012 / 9:08 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis:

Instead of going to Toronto for the Hockey Hall of Fame celebration Monday night, Mike Gillis will be in Trinidad watching his daughter, Kate, play for the Canadian national women's field hockey team.

It's a trip any father wouldn't miss provided he could afford to get there, so there's no way anybody can argue with Gillis for choosing to go along for the ride with his athletic daughter.

However, Gillis knows better than most how important this Hall of Fame weekend and the inductions Monday night are to at least one of the inductees.

In Gillis' former life as a player agent, Pavel Bure was one of his most high-profile clients.

Gillis represented Bure from 1997 through the end of his injury-shortened career. He helped Bure through the ups and downs of a 51-goal season in Vancouver, a holdout that led to his trade to the Florida Panthers and the knee injuries that derailed his career once he got to the New York Rangers.

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Five Questions: McLellan reflects on coaching start

Thursday, 11.08.2012 / 9:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan:

Todd McLellan played five NHL games, all with the New York Islanders, in a career shortened by injury. He scored a goal in his debut at New Jersey, dished out an assist in his second game against the New York Rangers, and was part of a victory -- his lone victory -- in his third game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan says his team needs to 'look each other in the eye' and decide if it has what it takes to contend for the franchise's first Stanley Cup. (Photo: Getty Images)

That was it.

McLellan's last NHL game as a player was April 3, 1988 at Boston. He went back to the American Hockey League the following season, suffered recurring shoulder injuries, retired and never played again in North America.

Seventeen years later he returned to the NHL as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings. It took him three seasons of running the Red Wings power play to get noticed and hired by San Jose.

After retiring as a player, McLellan went on a coaching odyssey that took him to a foreign country, through the Western Hockey League, into the International Hockey League and eventually the American Hockey League. The path helped shape him into the coach he is today.

How did it happen?

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Five Questions: Ruff talks Buffalo, new challenges

Thursday, 11.01.2012 / 11:10 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With ...," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed to gain some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff:

For the past 14 seasons Lindy Ruff has been steering the Buffalo Sabres down what can only be described as an unpredictable path.

Lindy Ruff, who has led the Sabres for each of the past 14 seasons, feels extremely fortunate to be a part of the tight-knit Buffalo community. (Photo: Getty Images)

Ruff, who was brought in shortly after Buffalo hired general manager Darcy Regier in the summer of 1997, took the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999 and won the Presidents' Trophy in 2006-07. Buffalo has made four appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals under Ruff, but none since 2007.

Ruff, 52, has also survived several ownership changes, team payroll fluctuations, key defections via free agency and three playoff-less seasons since 2008.

Today, Ruff is 44 wins shy of 600 and working on a multiyear contract extension he signed after the 2010-11 season. This would be his 25th season in the Sabres organization, including 10 as a player from 1979-89, and despite his appreciation for the community he said he still hasn't been allowed to get too comfortable.

Why is that? Well, you have to read on.

Here are Five Questions With ... Lindy Ruff:

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Five Questions: Julien on challenges, facing adversity

Sunday, 10.28.2012 / 9:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com periodically will be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key movers and shakers in the game today aimed at gaining some insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien:

While maintaining a steady pace to stay ready for the start of the NHL season, Boston coach Claude Julien also has kept close tabs on what is happening throughout the Bruins organization.

As he prepares for a one-day stint coaching a local youth team, Bruins coach Claude Julien reflects on some of the challenges he's faced and the adversity he's overcome in his career. (Photo: Getty Images)

He has traveled the short distance to Providence, R.I., to check out the Bruins' American Hockey League team, the Providence Bruins. Julien went on a scouting trip with Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli to see some of the Bruins' junior-hockey prospects. He continues to show up to the office at least four days a week to work out and go over strategies they plan to implement when the players return.

And Sunday, Julien who has won a Memorial Cup and a Stanley Cup, will get a chance to keep his coaching chops fresh by getting back behind the bench to lead a local youth team that won his services as part of a charity raffle drive to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and minor hockey programs in the area.

Julien's one-day job as coach of the Winthrop, Mass., Squirt B team was not the reason NHL.com approached him for this Q&A, but it's as good a place to start as any.

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Quote of the Day

With this being the last year [at the Coliseum], we'd love to try to get back to the dance like we did against Pittsburgh and prove ourselves and go even further. It's an important year.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano