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Canucks believe they're better equipped for playoffs

Sunday, 08.23.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

VANCOUVER -- After entering the offseason vowing to get younger, the Vancouver Canucks confused many of their fans this summer with some unpopular trades that left them older at several positions.

General manager Jim Benning said the moves will open spots for young players and address shortcomings identified in a six-game loss to the Calgary Flames in the Western Conference First Round.

The Canucks traded two popular players, goalie Eddie Lack and defenseman Kevin Bieksa; cost-effective center Nick Bonino; promising but inconsistent power forward Zack Kassian; and defense prospect Adam Clendening. Coming to Vancouver are center Brandon Sutter, forward Brandon Prust and draft picks.

Matthias excited to play for Babcock, Maple Leafs

Saturday, 08.22.2015 / 9:17 AM / NHL Insider

Center Shawn Matthias is excited to play for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs this season.

"Any new team you come to, you want to do your best," Matthias told the Toronto Sun on Friday. "But for me to come here and play in front of friends and family ... I don't want to play awful because there will be lots of people critiquing my game. In the other markets, you wouldn't have had all these cameras here today, (reporters) asking me questions. But it's special to be home. I don't take it for granted. I have to be responsible and accountable."

Capitals added players with playoffs in mind

Saturday, 08.22.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Katie Brown - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals spent this offseason trying to fix what went wrong in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they were eliminated by the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round after holding a 3-1 series lead.

Since selecting Alex Ovechkin with the first pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, Washington has been one win from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final three times (2009, 2012, 2015), but the Capitals haven't been able to earn that victory.

Ovechkin turns 30 on Sept. 17, so the time for Washington is now.

"I felt the window to win with him was 10 years old," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in July. "He's a fantastic player. He plays hard all the time, and I feel I haven't met my commitment to him, that we would build a team that would be able to win Stanley Cups."

Backstrom's health among questions facing Capitals

Saturday, 08.22.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Katie Brown - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- By adding forwards Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie this offseason, the Washington Capitals hope they've completed a team that can withstand the rigors of playoff hockey and is good enough to win the Stanley Cup.

But there are plenty of lingering issues for the Capitals, from the way their lineup will be constructed to who will be in it.

Here are three questions facing the Capitals this season:

Washington Capitals fantasy hockey outlook

Saturday, 08.22.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

As part of's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin should be the first player taken in every fantasy draft this fall, and deservedly so. His 53 goals last season were 10 more than Steven Stamkos (43); his 25 power play goals were six more than Joe Pavelski (19); and his 395 shots on goal were 91 more than Rick Nash (304). He led the league with 15 multi-goal games, 27 multi-point games and had at least one shot on goal in each of the 81 games he played in. In 2013-14, Ovechkin's major flaw was his minus-35 rating, but he certainly corrected that under new head coach Barry Trotz and finished with a plus-10 rating last season. And with T.J. Oshie potentially lining up alongside Ovechkin, he could end up with even better statistics this season. Over the past five seasons, Ovechkin leads the NHL with 206 goals, 85 power play goals, 1,671 shots on goal and his 366 points are second (Claude Giroux has 376). His 209 penalty minutes during that span are 33rd most. Anything outside of being Yahoo's top fantasy player next season would be a disappointment for Ovechkin. If you're lucky enough to land the No. 1 pick in your draft, you should select Ovechkin with confidence.

Holtby, new forwards have Capitals optimistic

Saturday, 08.22.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Katie Brown - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- In Barry Trotz's first season as coach of the Washington Capitals, he got them back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after they missed the year before.

This season, there are many reasons to believe they'll be a legitimate contender to win Stanley Cup.

Here are four reasons the Capitals can be so optimistic:

Vrana, Bowey among Capitals' top five prospects

Saturday, 08.22.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Katie Brown - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals bulked up their prospect pool by selecting goaltender Ilya Samsonov in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, a surprising move considering how deep they are at the position.

Several prospects, notably Jakub Vrana and Madison Bowey, will play for Hershey of the American Hockey League this season, on what could be the youngest Bears team in 10 years.

Young talent in the AHL means the Capitals will have options for recalls.

Here is a look at the Capitals' top five prospects, according to

Wild assistant coach Sydor arrested

Friday, 08.21.2015 / 6:18 PM / News

Minnesota Wild assistant coach Darryl Sydor was arrested Thursday in Fridley, Minn., on suspicion of drunken driving.

The Wild issued the following statement Friday afternoon:

"We are aware of the reports regarding Darryl Sydor. We are continuing to gather information and will have further comment at the appropriate time."

2015 NHL preseason begins Sunday, Sept. 20

Friday, 08.21.2015 / 12:00 PM / Schedule

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League announced today the composite schedule for the 2015 preseason, which opens on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Among the highlights of the 15-day, 104-game slate is the New York Islanders launching the first season in their new home, Barclays Center, in Brooklyn. The Islanders will play host to three Metropolitan Division rivals: the Philadelphia Flyers Sept. 21, New Jersey Devils Sept. 23 and Washington Capitals Sept. 28.

The people of North Saanich, B.C., winners of the Canada-wide Kraft HockeyvilleTM competition, will celebrate the grand prize when the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks visit their community on Sept. 21. The Sharks and Canucks will face off that night at the nearby Q Centre. The game will be broadcast in Canada on Sportsnet at 7:30 p.m., PT/10:30 p.m., ET.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning will square off in the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA matchup in Johnstown, Pa., on Sept. 29. The game will be broadcast in the United States by NBCSN at 7 p.m., ET.

Senators to hire Alfredsson for front-office role: report

Friday, 08.21.2015 / 11:48 AM / News

Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is close to accepting a position in their hockey operations department, TSN reported Friday.

Alfredsson spent 17 seasons with the Senators before playing the last season of his career with the Detroit Red Wings (2013-14). He officially announced his retirement during a ceremony in Ottawa in December 2014.

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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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