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Canucks' Bieksa used to taking calculated risks

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Jon Lane - Staff Writer continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

As a teenager Kevin Bieksa had to step back and evaluate his place in hockey.

While playing minor hockey Bieksa was offered a roster spot with the first-year Mississauga (now Niagara) Ice Dogs, the Ontario Hockey League team that selected him in the 19th round of the 1998 OHL draft. A native of Grimsby, Ontario, Bieksa was tempted by, as he put it, the "glitz and glam" of immediately playing in the OHL.

Also on the table was a chance to pursue a full scholarship to Bowling Green State University. While the dream of playing in the NHL was very much alive, so was the desire to have a fallback plan.


Upgrades could push Islanders into playoff mix

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

For more than four decades, the New York Islanders have called Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum home. The 2014-15 season will be their last at the outdated facility on Hempstead Turnpike; the Islanders will be moving into Barclays Center in Brooklyn next fall.

And that's just one of several changes on the horizon.

Team owner Charles Wang is in the process of entering into a new partnership. The Islanders announced Aug. 19 that a group led by former Washington Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and London-based investor Scott Malkin reached an agreement, subject to NHL approval, to purchase a substantial minority interest in the team. Under the terms of the agreement, Wang will continue as majority shareholder and governor of the Islanders, with the Ledecky/Malkin group transitioning to majority ownership in two years.


Okposo, play at home keys to Islanders success

Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

The New York Islanders know they have to be better than they were a season ago, when they lost 13 games in which they led by two goals en route to missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Entering their final season at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, it's important the Islanders have some momentum heading into Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season.

"The time's upon us," captain John Tavares said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's a new year and obviously we've got a lot to prove."


Ryan hopes Senators have a captain this season

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 11:47 PM / News

Bobby Ryan
Right Wing - OTT
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 25 | PTS: 48
SOG: 190 | +/-: 7
The Ottawa Senators have been without a  captain since center Jason Spezza was traded to the Dallas Stars on July 1.

It appears they're in no rush to name a replacement for Spezza, but Senators right wing Bobby Ryan said Wednesday he hopes one is named sooner rather than later. Defensemen Erik Karlsson and Chris Phillips, and forward Chris Neil appear to be the logical candidates.

Spezza wore the "C" for Ottawa last season after longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson opted to sign with the Detroit Red Wings in July 2013.

"I'm a big believer that you should (have a captain)," Ryan said, according to the Senators website. "I think at the same time you've had two captains in two years leave and you don't want that kind of thing to happen a third time or whatever that may be. You want to make sure that captain is a guy you're building around and is a guy who's going to stay a long time, whether it's a Karlsson or Philly who could be leaving in two years or Neiler who could be leaving in two years, you never know."


Thornton says Sharks will have '23 captains:' report

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 11:13 PM / News

Joe Thornton is no longer captain of the San Jose Sharks, but said he will be one of many.

"We're going to have to have 23 captains on the team this year. It doesn't matter who has it or who doesn't have it. We all have to come together and be leaders," Thornton told the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday. "It's up to Todd and Doug who they pick and we'll end up supporting whoever they choose as captain."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson stripped Thornton of the captaincy on Aug. 20, about four months after San Jose blew a 3-0 lead to the Los Angeles Kings and lost its Western Conference First Round series in seven games.

Thornton said he did not plan to alter his approach after the demotion.

"You've just got to compete hard every day and I've always done that," the 35-year-old center told reporter David Pollak. "I'm not changing a thing."


Wild goalie Harding out indefinitely with injury

Bryzgalov given tryout with Kuemper unsigned

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 6:37 PM / News

Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding is out indefinitely with a fractured right foot, the team announced Wednesday, further complicating a muddled situation at the position.

Josh Harding
Goalie - MIN
RECORD: 18-7-3
GAA: 1.65 | SVP: .933

Harding was injured Sunday and it occurred away from the ice, the Wild said. Harding's injury, combined with the lack of a signed contract for restricted free agent Darcy Kuemper, leaves the team without its top two goaltenders when training camp begins Thursday.

"I'm frustrated and I'm disappointed," coach Mike Yeo told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I'm disappointed for our guys that we're here before Day One of camp, and we've got a lot of guys that put in a lot of work, and this is what we're sitting around talking about. I'd rather us talk about the excitement around our team and the work that these guys put in."

The Wild were expected to have a crowded situation in net at the start of the 2014-15 season, but now they could be short. Niklas Backstrom is the only one of the three veteran goaltenders who will be available, along with John Curry, who has played six NHL games. On Wednesday, the Wild invited Ilya Bryzgalov to camp on a pro tryout. Minnesota traded for Bryzgalov late last season when Harding and Backstrom were injured.


Blue Jackets ready to open camp without Johansen

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 6:36 PM / News

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Restricted free agent Ryan Johansen, the Columbus Blue Jackets' leading scorer last season, left the city Wednesday on the eve of training camp.

Coach Todd Richards said he won't let those contract negotiations be a distraction.

"Right now he's not here," Richards said. "I'm treating it like the regular season when you deal with an injury. He's not in the lineup. You move past it. If he's in the lineup, great; if not, I've got to find somebody else that'll do it.

"The one thing that will become an issue from what I've seen in the past, just based on my history and what I've been through as a coach, is when you miss time in training camp you try to play catch-up and a lot of times you can't catch up."


Braun signs five-year extension with Sharks

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 2:30 PM / News

Defenseman Justin Braun has signed a five-year contract extension with the San Jose Sharks, the team announced Wednesday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Braun's agent, Neil Sheehy, tweeted that it is worth $19 million, an average annual value of $3.8 million.

Braun, 27, is now under contract through the 2019-20 season.

"Justin has emerged as one of our most well-rounded and dependable defensemen," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He's an excellent skater who excels in matching up against the opponents top players on a nightly basis and fits in well with our core group of younger players. We feel Justin has just scratched the surface of his talent and we are excited to have him under contract for the next six seasons."


Mantha, Wennberg among Traverse City best

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 9:51 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Columbus Blue Jackets player development coach Chris Clark had a good feeling about the team the Blue Jackets had for the 2014 Traverse City Prospect Tournament.

The Blue Jackets had six players on the roster that were selected in the first or second round of recent NHL drafts. They lost forward Sonny Milano, a 2014 first-round pick (No. 16), to a fractured cheek and orbital bone in the second period of the opening game, but the Blue Jackets won their first tournament championship in eight years with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

"Looking at the rosters before we went into the tournament, I thought we had a good team and a good chance but you never know until you get on the ice," Clark said. "I thought our guys responded well; we trailed by at least one goal in every game, but [we] still responded."


Predators' Jones has help navigating life in Nashville

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NOTE TO READERS: Over the Boards is undergoing a format change for the 2014-15 season and transitioning into a blog that will be updated several times per week by Dan Rosen. It will feature news and information, quotes and anecdotes similar to what you have been able to find here in the weekly notebook. Rosen's Mailbag will still appear in the Over the Boards blog every Wednesday.

If Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones gets into an argument with his roommate about cleaning up, doing the dishes or taking out the trash, he can count on one thing being true:

He won't win.

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Quote of the Day

We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think. With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good.

— U.S. goalie Brandon Halverson after a 6-0 win against Germany in the World Junior Championship on Sunday