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2010-2011 Season Preview

Wings still have talent to remain among NHL's best

Sunday, 09.26.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

They are the oldest team in the NHL and as a result there are some that believe the Detroit Red Wings' reign as the NHL's model franchise is running on borrowed time. In reality, the signs don't appear to be pointing in that direction at all.

Detroit will enter yet another season as one of the NHL's elite teams, and within the organization, the expectations are to win it all in June. Anything short would be, as usual, deemed a disappointment.

The thing is, this season the Red Wings will have extra motivation due to all the naysayers calling for an end to their run, and with people harking back on the "disappointment" of last season when they "only" earned 102 points and make it into the second round of the playoffs.

Volchenkov, Tallinder revamp Devils' defense

Sunday, 09.26.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Phil Coffey - Sr. Editorial Director

While the addition of Ilya Kovalchuk dominated the headlines for the New Jersey Devils during the summer months, General Manager Lou Lamoriello also radically changed the look of his defense corps, adding two veteran backliners who figure to make life all the more pleasant for goalie Martin Brodeur in Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder.

"We're trying to make us harder to play against in our own end and make it more difficult on the (opposing forwards)," Lamoriello said after the signings.

As the 2010-11 season takes shape, four defensemen who earned minutes in New Jersey last season have moved on. Paul Martin signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mike Mottau wasn't re-signed. Johnny Oduya was part of the package that went to the Atlanta Thrashers to pry Kovalchuk away, and veteran Martin Skoula signed in Europe.

Eriksson, Benn, Neal have big roles on Stars

Saturday, 09.25.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen and Sergei Zubov were major components, while goalie Marty Turco was soaking up the excitement as a top prospect for the club.

Over the ensuing decade, those players personified what the Stars were about. But time slows for no one, and with each player having celebrated his 35th birthday, it's time for them to step aside and see if the next generation of Stars can develop into stars.

Zubov left for Russia a year ago, Lehtinen is home in Finland considering retirement, and Modano and Turco were told this summer they would not be offered new deals.

Joe Nieuwendyk -- also a part of the '99 Cup team -- is the general manager charged with making the hard decisions and helping turn around a team that has missed the playoffs two straight seasons. He says those decisions weren't easy, but were necessary.

Canadiens bank on Price to build on playoff success

Saturday, 09.25.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

After a magical postseason run to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Montreal Canadiens will enter this season without the player who was most responsible for getting them there.
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak was traded to St. Louis and signed a four-year deal with the Blues in June. The 25-year-old Halak had a 2.55 goals-against average and .923 save percentage as he almost singlehandedly defeated the top-seeded Washington Capitals in the first round and the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.
With Halak gone, the Habs will turn to the 23-year-old Carey Price, who has had his ups and downs since his stellar rookie season in 2007-08.

Price's experiences in Montreal run the gamut

Saturday, 09.25.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

If Carey Price was your normal 23-year-old, he'd be fresh out of college this fall, taking his first full-time steps into the work force.

Price still would have the innocence and blissful naiveté of someone who has yet to see how the real world actually works. But Price is not that hypothetical figure, because in his three NHL seasons, he essentially has run the gamut of emotions, successes and hardships one can go through in the NHL.

In that sense, at age 23, Price is a grizzled veteran.

"I've kind of been at both ends of the spectrum. I've kind of seen it all already," Price said. "That's pretty good after my first contract, after finishing my entry-level deal I've already seen everything the NHL can dish at me."

Subban has to prove he can play defense too

Saturday, 09.25.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- When all was said and done, when he had finished dominating the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs and served notice to the entire NHL that he was coming with a tremendous playoff performance with the Montreal Canadiens, P.K. Subban was spent.

He didn't want to reflect on everything he had accomplished in his first pro season and didn't want to look forward to how he might be able to top it in his first full NHL season.

But once he had his rest and was mentally prepared to do it, Subban looked back to those tremendous playoff experiences with the Canadiens, to beating the mighty Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 situations -- and he liked what he saw.

Underrated Richards not starved for attention

Saturday, 09.25.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

What do the following NHL scorers all have in common -- Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Kane, Marian Gaborik and Zach Parise?

They all finished with fewer points last season than Dallas Stars center Brad Richards.

In 2009-10, Richards had one of the best seasons of his career. His 91 points were the sixth-highest total in the League, and tied his personal best. He also had 67 assists, fourth-most in the League, and 24 goals, the most he's scored since 2006-07.

Richard has two 90-point seasons, he's scored at least 20 goals seven times in nine seasons, and he had 26 points in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games en route to winning the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy and helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup. He's also won the Lady Byng Trophy (2004) and was a finalist for the award last season. Richards is about a point-per-game scorer (639 points in 700 games), and his 362 points in 374 games since 2005-06 ranks him 20th among all players.

Comfortable Lehtonen ready for big season in Dallas

Saturday, 09.25.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When the Dallas Stars acquired goaltender Kari Lehtonen from the Atlanta Thrashers in February, GM Joe Nieuwendyk said his team was getting "a proven elite goaltender."

As the Stars prepare to start the 2010-11 season with Lehtonen as the team's full-time starter, Nieuwendyk's months-old optimism today has become a unanimous feeling throughout the organization.

"He's put a big commitment into training this summer," teammate Brad Richards told "I've seen him play at the top of his game at a young age. He'd steal games for Atlanta, and that's what we're expecting."

"He's battled through an injury-plagued season," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "He's so determined to make this a great year for him."

2010 first-rounders still sticking around

Friday, 09.24.2010 / 6:22 PM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

As the NHL continues to see younger and younger players grab the spotlight, 2010 draftees are poised to seize their own time in the limelight.

As the start of the regular season grows closer, 11 of the 30 players selected in the first round this past June remain with their teams, with as many as eight of them holding legitimate shots at making an opening-night roster. Among those remaining are the first five players picked in Los Angeles.

The first pick, Edmonton forward Taylor Hall, is no surprise. The centerpiece of the Oilers' hope to climb out of 30th in the standings, Hall made his Edmonton debut at left wing on the team's top line Thursday, scoring an unassisted goal in the third period and skating alongside center Sam Gagner and right wing Ales Hemsky.

"I was actually a lot less nervous than I thought I was going to be," said Hall, who played just over 17 minutes and finished with three shots. "For the first five minutes, it took me a little while to settle in, but then I got going from there."

Arniel hoping up-tempo style leads to success

Friday, 09.24.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

It may seem like eons ago, but it has been only one full season since the Blue Jackets turned Columbus into a hockey town. But they followed up their first playoff berth with the disappointment of last season, which included the firing of coach Ken Hitchcock.

Now, new coach Scott Arniel brings new blood into a team that is looking to regain the relevance they had two seasons ago, when they turned more than just a few heads around the NHL.

Arniel comes to Columbus with instant credibility. He played for Scotty Bowman during his 11-year NHL playing career that included eight trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he coached with Lindy Ruff for four seasons in Buffalo (2002-06). He also is a former coach of the year in the American Hockey League.
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