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2013-2014 Season Preview

30 in 15: Blues look to turn lessons into results

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2013-14 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

The past two seasons have traveled similar paths for the St. Louis Blues -- strong regular seasons followed by losses to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We ran into a buzz saw in Los Angeles two years ago," Blues president of hockey operations Doug Armstrong told NHL.com. "A team that sort of was in playoff mode the last month of the season just to get in the playoffs, they were a dominant team throughout that run [and] we weren't a match for them that season. I thought last season was a much more competitive series. Still, we weren't able to find the necessary goals to push that in our favor. I think we have learned."

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30 in 15: Opportunity knocks as Paajarvi joins Blues

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When the Edmonton Oilers selected Magnus Paajarvi with the 10th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft, they thought the scoring touch he showed growing up in Sweden eventually would follow him to the NHL.

It did for a time in 2010-11, when he had 15 goals and 34 points in 80 games. However, with the additions of more explosive offensive teammates in Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, Paajarvi was shifted into more of a lower-line, defensively oriented role, making his offensive opportunities harder to find -- he had 11 goals in 83 games over the past two seasons, each of which included stints in the American Hockey League.

"I was accepting," Paajarvi told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of his changed role. "There's so much offensive talent there it's ridiculous. I took a different role last year and I liked it. I got to play more and I found my role better. It was a good thing for me. That's why I'm here."

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30 in 15: Blues bolster lineup in seeking next step

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2013-14 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

After losses to the Los Angeles Kings the last two years in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the question surrounding the St. Louis Blues is if their core group is ready to take the next step.

"I think last year there was a feeling that we were a team that could be competitive deep into the playoffs," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told NHL.com. "We ran into the defending Stanley Cup champs and we were out early. But I think our goals and our mindset is still the same -- we should be competitive with all the teams with an opportunity to be a strong playoff team."

The Blues added playmaking center Derek Roy for depth up the middle, but otherwise left intact a team with the hope of not just advancing past the second round of the postseason, but bringing a Stanley Cup to St. Louis for the first time.

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30 in 15: Halak hopes focused summer sparks revival

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Going back to his days with the Montreal Canadiens and continuing a common theme with the St. Louis Blues, Jaroslav Halak always remained consistent in one regard: Once an NHL season ended, it was time to head home.

Home always has been Bratislava, Slovakia.

The 28-year-old wants to spend as much time in familiar surroundings as possible, and in the process would go through a workout regimen that would get him ready for the upcoming season before returning to St. Louis late in the summer.

But this year Halak changed course. St. Louis would be home for the summer and for good reason.

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30 in 15: Bruins have several new faces to assimilate

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2013-14 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

While the Los Angeles Kings did something extremely rare in 2012-13, bringing back every player who dressed for a postseason game during a Stanley Cup-claiming run, the Boston Bruins also had an incredible amount of continuity for two seasons after winning a title in 2011.

Of the 21 players who appeared in a Stanley Cup Playoff game for the Bruins in 2011, 16 were still on the roster last season. Much of the core from the 2011 team remains, but there was more turnover again this offseason. Three key forwards (Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley) and a top-four defenseman (Andrew Ference) have departed who won the Cup in 2011, and a fourth forward (Jaromir Jagr) who joined the cause prior to the 2013 trade deadline is also no longer available.

Still, the list of questions about the Bruins as the 2013-14 campaign beckons is certainly shorter than for most teams in the NHL. There have been competitions during training camp, and those who will get the initial chance to fill holes in the lineup have essentially been determined.

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30 in 15: Eriksson hopes for chemistry with Bergeron

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- It's the Holy Grail for all scoring wings at every level of the sport.

"I think we've always played the same type of game, which was high-tempo with being good on the forecheck and causing some turnovers. So we're obviously going to, I guess, keep that going and I think he's going to help us doing that."
-- Patrice Bergeron on Eriksson

Everyone wants a center he can jell with that helps him light the lamp on a consistent basis throughout a season.

Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson has had a pair of 30-goal seasons as a professional in North America. With the Iowa Stars of the American Hockey League, the native of Goteborg, Sweden scored 31 aided by the play of center Toby Petersen (and fellow wing Junior Lessard). With the Dallas Stars in 2008-09, Eriksson meshed with center Brad Richards and finished with a career-high 36 goals.

Eriksson hasn't exceeded 29 goals since, and scored at a pace last season (12 goals in 48 games) that would've translated to just a tad more than 20 goals in an 82-game season. So as he tries to boost his production to prior levels in his first season in Boston, Eriksson is hoping he can get on the same page with one of the game's best all-round centers: Patrice Bergeron.

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30 in 15: Blues want more 'O', but won't sacrifice 'D'

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The pieces are in place for the St. Louis Blues to have prolonged success.

The foundation begins with goaltending and filters through a solid cast of defensemen, and then to forwards that don't have the elite names in the game but are certainly capable of carrying a sizeable offensive load. It's all led to the Blues being among the top teams in the NHL standings the past two seasons.

It is a team that had a goaltending duo (Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott) win the Jennings Trophy two seasons ago and has a group of defensemen (led by Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jay Bouwmeester) that has helped them rank in the top 10 the last two seasons in goals allowed and goals-against average, including first overall in 2011-12.

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30 in 15: Svedberg pushing for Bruins' backup role

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2013-14 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Niklas Svedberg is the man in the middle for the Boston Bruins.

Not in the way being "in the middle" is typically associated with hockey, of course. Svedberg is a 24-year-old goaltender who has built a strong resume in his native Sweden and the American Hockey League, but his path forward with the Bruins remains murky.

Svedberg is competing with Chad Johnson, who was signed to a one-year, $600,000 contract in the offseason, to be Tuukka Rask's backup for the Bruins this season.

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NBCSN bringing exciting slate of NHL games, programs starting Oct. 1

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 6:24 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

NHL.com Staff

The Chicago Blackhawks' six-game series win over the Boston Bruins was the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record. Now that the 2013-14 season is set to begin, NBCSN is returning with a full slate of games and additional programming.

The season kicks off Oct. 1 when the Blackhawks host the Washington Capitals. NBCSN will be there, and Mike "Doc" Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire will assume their customary duties of calling the game. In addition, Liam McHugh, Keith Jones and Mike Milbury will be back on NHL Live, the cable channel's signature pregame and postgame show.

"The Washington Capitals, oddly enough, will be in Chicago on Saturday evening for their last exhibition game to take on the Blackhawks, so they'll get a pretty good look at each other. They'll have everything ready to go for Tuesday" Olczyk said in a conference call. "How many times do you get stars front and center on opening night like Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith. And then have the banner raising to celebrate what happened last year. You couldn't ask for a better way to start the season."

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Hurricanes focused on finding supplemental scoring

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 9:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- First, the good news: The Carolina Hurricanes had one of the top lines in the NHL last season.

Jiri Tlusty, Eric Staal and Alexander Semin spent nearly the entire season together, combining for 54 goals. Even better, they're back for an encore in 2013-14.

Now the bad news: The rest of the Carolina forwards, 20 in all last season, combined for 55 goals. Among the players who skated mostly on the third and fourth lines, no one scored more than four. Coach Kirk Muller knows he has to find some find some supplemental offense.

"Yeah, that and chemistry," Muller said. "You want a line you can go out and feel real confident with, that can play hard on the road. It's easier at home to make your matchups, but on the road, it's like, can these guys go out and play consistently against any type of players?"

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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure