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NHL Scouting Combine to add new testing, technology

Friday, 05.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The top prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft will be put to the test June 1-6 at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo.

Dan Marr, the Director of NHL Central Scouting, said he anticipates having 120 players, 99 North American prospects and 21 from Europe, at the Combine, which will be held at HarborCenter and First Niagara Center.

"The Combine not only is moving to the new HarborCenter but it is also implementing a new format and testing as a result of a Combine review that was conducted with the 30 NHL clubs," Marr said. "The fitness testing will be moved into an arena offering an increased viewing area, better sight lines and live result monitors, allowing for the testing to be captured on video."

Edmonton Oilers head amateur scout Stu MacGregor, whose team has the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, said he looks forward to the Combine each year.

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Dan Bylsma hired as coach of Buffalo Sabres

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 8:23 PM / News

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres got the experienced, Stanley Cup-winning coach they were looking for to help them move their rebuild into the next stages.

The Sabres on Thursday introduced Dan Bylsma as the 17th coach in their history. Bylsma spent 5 1/2 seasons coaching the Pittsburgh Penguins and led them to the Stanley Cup in 2009. He's eager to turn the NHL's 30th-place team in each of the past two seasons into a winner again.

"The developing, the winning, the culture of winning and developing that with your group and your team is going to be something I learned with the Pittsburgh Penguins, something you developed," Bylsma said. "It wasn't something that we had because you had certain players on your roster, and that's something that we have to immediately get into the Buffalo Sabres organization, get into our DNA, get into who we are and how we play and develop that culture with this group.

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Lightning's Stamkos relishes chance for Game 7 glory

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning were a Game 7 win from reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, an opportunity most players never get in their careers.

Stamkos will get his second opportunity to advance to the Cup Final with a Game 7 win when the Lightning and New York Rangers play the decisive game of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final on Friday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Lightning lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final.

"For us, you just never know where hockey is going to take you next," Stamkos said Thursday after the Lightning arrived in Manhattan. "[Brenden Morrow] has been to the Finals before, Brian [Boyle] has been to the Final before. When I was one game away, you think you're going to be right back there next year.

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Peter DeBoer hired as coach of San Jose Sharks

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 7:08 PM / News

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Peter DeBoer was one of three finalists from a pool of 21 candidates when the San Jose Sharks hired Todd McLellan as their coach seven years ago.

DeBoer was the last candidate standing this time after San Jose general manager Doug Wilson conducted a lengthy search to replace McLellan, who left the Sharks on April 20.

Wilson introduced DeBoer as Sharks coach at a press conference at SAP Center on Thursday.

DeBoer had no NHL coaching experience seven years ago but was a decorated junior hockey coach. Since then, he has coached six-plus seasons in the NHL, the first three with the Florida Panthers and the next three-plus with the New Jersey Devils. The Devils reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, DeBoer's first season with them, but lost to the Los Angeles Kings in six games. He's been fired twice, first by the Panthers after 2010-11 season and then by the Devils in December following a 12-17-7 start.

"He went to Florida, a challenging situation. Never an excuse," Wilson said. "He goes to New Jersey and takes every experience and builds on it and says, 'OK, how can I be better?' I really admire that. I really do."

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Ducks believe they can avoid third Game 7 heartbreak

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 6:21 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The psychological aftermath of two Game 7s the past two years is not the favorite topic for the Anaheim Ducks, but they acknowledged the pain Thursday.

"You know," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said, "losing those last two Game 7s has been hard on everybody."

Left wing Andrew Cogliano said, "[The] last Game 7 took a toll on us."

Cogliano and Beauchemin went on to say the Ducks are a different team going into Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Rangers feel Game 7 experience gives them edge

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers are a close-knit team with a core that has seen a lot and won a lot when the stakes have been high. They're together, all on the same page. You get the picture.

The point is that the Rangers are so harmonized that even when they don't all agree with a concept they return to the same message. That much is true heading into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Even though some players disagree with how their experience in these winner-take-all situations comes into play, if it gives them a psychological edge on the Lightning, there's no doubt the Rangers at large believe they have an advantage going into Game 7 because they know better than Tampa Bay how to prepare for, play in, and win Game 7s.

No team in recent history has been better in Game 7 or potential elimination games than the Rangers.

"There's a lot of experience in this dressing room and we have a lot of confidence," center Derick Brassard said.

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Coaches hired 'haven't affected' Devils' search: report

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 4:52 PM / News

NHL.com

The New Jersey Devils could be the only NHL team looking for a coach with two of the three other remaining openings filled Thursday.

The San Jose Sharks hired Peter DeBoer, and the Buffalo Sabres hired Dan Bylsma to fill those vacancies.

Other than the Devils, the Detroit Red Wings are likely to promote Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill, according to reports.

"What's transpired around the League really hasn't affected me," Devils general manager Ray Shero told Northjersey.com on Wednesday.

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Ducks, Blackhawks vie for Cup Final in Game 7

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 4:06 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks will decide the Western Conference Final in Game 7 Saturday night at Honda Center (8 p.m., ET, NBC, CBC, TVA). The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Final and face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final, also tied 3-3, between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Both Conference Final series have extended to a Game 7 for just the second time during the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68). In 2000, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to capture the Eastern Conference title, while the Dallas Stars topped the Colorado Avalanche to win Western Conference honors.

The Ducks-Blackhawks showdown will be the fifth Game 7 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 17th since the start of the 2013 postseason - the most frequently-occurring series length in that span (4 games: 5; 5 games: 9; 6 games: 13).

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Chabot: Ducks must be better at both nets in Game 7

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:30 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

Part of the Anaheim Ducks' identity is using their size to play a physical, in-your-face brand of hockey. It begins with the Ducks' top forward line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon, three players with an average size of 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.

It's part of what helped the Ducks win the net-front battles against the Chicago Blackhawks through the first five games of the Western Conference Final. But in Game 6 on Wednesday it was the Blackhawks who flipped the script, according to Frederic Chabot, winning the battles in the trenches en route to a 5-2 win that evened the best-of-7 series at 3-3 and forced Game 7 on Saturday in Anaheim (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Blackhawks back in Game 7 with Cup Final at stake

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:30 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The marketing slogan for the Chicago Blackhawks for the past several seasons has been "One Goal."

The Blackhawks were one goal short of the reaching the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. They want to avoid that feeling again in 2015.

"I was on the left side. [Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec] Martinez shot it from the other side and it got deflected and went in," Sharp said of the Kings' Western Conference Final-clinching overtime goal in Game 7 last season at United Center. "You could just feel the air kind of go out of the building. You feel your heart drop a little bit, being that close, and we had a couple leads in that game as well. Battling back from being down in that series to the Kings, it was a tough way to go out on home ice. You kind of learn from it and use it as hunger to get back to the same situation."

Chicago is back in Game 7 of a Western Conference Final after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday. When the Blackhawks arrive at Honda Center for this series-deciding contest Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), they will be hoping to inflict the same pain the Kings delivered to them a year ago with a 5-4 loss.

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Quote of the Day

I'm here to develop a winning culture and a winning team. There is a bright future ahead of this team.  A lot of young, great hockey players here and on the way … a fan base that's passionate about the game of hockey.

— Dan Bylsma after being introduced as new coach of the Buffalo Sabres