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Top prospect Matthews to play '15-16 in Switzerland

Friday, 08.07.2015 / 5:07 PM / News

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Auston Matthews, a frontrunner to be the top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, announced Friday that he will play for Zurich in the Swiss National League in 2015-16.

The announcement came after months of speculation that the 17-year-old center might instead play for Everett of the Western Hockey League. Matthews was selected in the third round (No. 57) by Everett in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

Matthews, who signed a one-year contract with Zurich and said he will join the Lions after he turns 18 on Sept. 17, is with 32 other U.S. prospects at United States National Evaluation Camp. The U.S. will play Finland on Saturday.

"I am deeply grateful to the ZSC Lions for the opportunity to be a part of their wonderful organization and look forward to joining them next month," Matthews said in a statement. "For now, however, my commitment is to my teammates and USA Hockey as we prepare to win tomorrow’s game."

Penguins, Cullen agree to terms on one-year contract

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 5:24 PM / News

The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with veteran center Matt Cullen on a one-year contract for $800,000, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Cullen, 38, is a 17-year NHL veteran who played the past two seasons with the Nashville Predators. He played under Rutherford for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-06 and again from 2007-10, helping the Canes win the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Crosby praises Penguins GM for offseason moves

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 3:08 PM / News

Sidney Crosby praised Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford for the work he's done this offseason, including a blockbuster trade that brought in wing Phil Kessel.

"It's difficult. It's not easy to make moves," Crosby told the Penguins website, speaking from his hockey camp in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. "He's found a way to make our team better and improve our team. As players, you want to respond. So I think it's up to us to come to camp ready and make sure we get a good start and start things on the right foot. But like last year, with a little bit of change, you really have to focus on that and be aware of it. It's not easy just to bring in new guys and have everything be smooth. So we'll all be together in that, whether it's players or coaching staff, and we'll find a way to make sure we're ready for Game 1."

Avalanche sign goalie Pickard to one-year contract

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 2:00 PM / News

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed goaltender Calvin Pickard to a one-year contract for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

Pickard, 23, spent most of this past season with Lake Erie (AHL) but also saw his first NHL action with the Avalanche, appearing in 16 games. He posted a 6-7-3 record with a 2.35 goals-against average and .932 save percentage for Colorado.

Wild forward Vanek expected to be ready for camp

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 11:40 AM / News

Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek has resumed skating following June surgery to repair two hernias and is expected to be ready for training camp, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Although the injury bothered Vanek for much of the second half of last season, he said Wednesday that he is progressing and feeling great.

Crosby, MacKinnon give Worlds checks to hometown

Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 7:50 PM / News

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche have donated their shares from winning the 2015 IIHF World Championship with Canada to the youth hockey organization in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.

With an assist from MacKinnon, also a Cole Harbour native, the Penguins captain is hosting the first Sidney Crosby Hockey School in his hometown this week.

Hockey Canada president and CEO Tom Renney visited the school Wednesday to present World Championship checks to Crosby and MacKinnon, who helped Canada win all of its games in regulation on the way to the gold medal in the Czech Republic in May.

"Obviously, this is where Nate and I started, so to have the opportunity to give back and … to be able to have it go directly to the minor hockey associations that we were a part of means a lot to us," Crosby said, according to The Chronicle Herald.

Stars' Benn skating more often after hip surgeries

Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 6:28 PM / News

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Jamie Benn, the NHL's reigning scoring champion, is skating three times a week and could be ready for Dallas Stars training camp in September after offseason hip surgeries.

"Workouts are picking up, but it's still controlled," Benn told The Dallas Morning News for a report published Wednesday. "I get pretty antsy at times, but the trainers remind me that I've got plenty of time and just take it slow."

Benn, who had 35 goals and 87 points last season, had surgery on one hip in late April and on the other in early May. The Stars said his expected recovery time was 4-5 months.

The Dallas captain hopes to be back on the ice for opening night Oct. 8 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Canucks sign Brandon Sutter to five-year extension

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 10:56 PM / News

Forward Brandon Sutter on Tuesday signed a five-year, $21.875 million contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks.

The contract has an average annual value of $4.375 million and runs through the 2020-21 NHL season.

Sutter, 26, was traded to the Canucks by the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 28 for forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

"I'm comfortable with [the term]," Vancouver general manager Jim Benning told The Province on Tuesday. "He's a solid two-way player and throughout his career he's been pretty resilient and hasn't had a lot of injuries."

Senators' Hoffman says no negativity from arbitration

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 10:38 PM / News

Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman was awarded a one-year, $2 million contract by an arbitrator in Toronto on Monday.

Hoffman submitted a request for a one-year, $3.4 million contract; the Senators offered a one-year, $1.75 million contract. The hearing was held Friday.

"It is a little bit [difficult], but you know yourself as a player you can evaluate yourself," Hoffman told the Ottawa Sun. "At the same time, I didn't take it too bad. We still have a good relationship with management and everything. I don't think any negativity came from arbitration."

Avalanche, Red Wings alumni to face off outdoors

Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 6:30 PM / News

The Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings of the late 1990s and early 2000s will reignite their rivalry in an alumni game Feb. 26 at Coors Field in Denver, one day before the 2015-16 Avalanche and Red Wings play outdoors in the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

The alumni game will begin at 7 p.m. ET.

Former Colorado captain Joe Sakic will be joined by fellow Hockey Hall of Fame members Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake and Patrick Roy in the alumni game, according to the Avalanche website.

Playing for the Red Wings alumni will be Brendan Shanahan, forward Igor Larionov and defensemen Chris Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom.

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Quote of the Day

I'm a hockey player and that's what I love to do. That is what I am here for. Everything else is just a side note.

— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL