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Stars' Jamie Benn poised to pick up first Hart Trophy

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Jamie Benn did everything he could last season to will the Dallas Stars to stay in the Stanley Cup Playoff race. Eventually, their defensive deficiencies and average goaltending got the best of them and they fell short. It didn't stop Benn from leading and from scoring.

Benn closed last season with 10 points in his last three games, including a hat trick in his final game. It was enough to nudge him past New York Islanders captain John Tavares for the Art Ross Trophy with 87 points. Tavares had 86.

It was just a prelude to what's in store for Dallas' captain this season.

Price, offense keys as Canadiens ready to chase Cup

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

The window is wide open.

It's up to the Montreal Canadiens to walk through it.

The Canadiens are not a clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup this season, but their roster is primed to contend for one.

Led by goalie Carey Price, the Canadiens have a star player at each position, with left wing Max Pacioretty's place as one of the NHL's top goal scorers now cemented and P.K. Subban proving he is among the five best defensemen in the League.

All three are in the primes of their careers, seemingly ready to make a run to the Cup. The question is whether the supporting cast surrounding them can do enough to lift the Canadiens into true contender status.

Power play, Galchenyuk among Canadiens' X-factors

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

The Montreal Canadiens have a glaring need for offense, but it's not yet clear where it will come from.

In order to improve on their 20th-ranked 2.61 goals per game from last season, the Canadiens made a number of offseason tweaks without a big splash.

General manager Marc Bergevin signed free agent forward Alexander Semin and acquired Zack Kassian from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade for Brandon Prust.

Each player comes with a checkered history, but they also have clear offensive talent.

The ability of one or both of those players to bounce back and take full advantage of his skills would help the Canadiens offensively, but that might not be enough to solve the problem.

Here are three other X-factors that will impact Montreal's offensive issues:

Who's on the hot seat in the Western Conference

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off

John Kreiser - Managing Editor continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which begins Wednesday, Oct. 7.

With the start of another NHL season just a couple of days away, the pressure is already starting to build for some players who know they'll have to be big-time producers for their teams to push for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth or contend for the Cup.

Here's a look at a player from each of the 14 teams in the Western Conference who will be under pressure to perform as soon as the puck drops:

Rangers feel parts are in place for Stanley Cup run

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.

NEW YORK -- Keith Yandle barely had time to adjust his body clock, let alone his playing style to adhere to a new team, before he was in meaningful games with the New York Rangers last season. He was acquired March 1, one day before the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline.

Now, with time to reflect on a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and a Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Final, as well as take stock in who is back and what type of team he's playing for, Yandle offered the following assessment of the Rangers:

"I definitely wouldn't want to play against us," he said. "We're a team that can play in all three zones really well, and we're fast. It's only exciting things for this group."

No team in the NHL has played more combined regular-season and playoff games than the Rangers the past two seasons (208), but the only banners they have to show for it inside Madison Square Garden is one for winning the Eastern Conference in 2014 and another for winning the Presidents' Trophy last season.

The Rangers again have high expectations this season and an abundance of hope that on a warm June day they will parade the Stanley Cup down the Canyon of Heroes in New York City.

Miller, Kreider, Raanta are X-factors for Rangers

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The New York Rangers have raised banners in Madison Square Garden for accomplishments in their first two seasons under coach Alain Vigneault. But neither of them are for a Stanley Cup championship.

The Rangers won the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference champions in 2014 and the Presidents' Trophy as the best team in the regular season for 2014-15. They have won 98 regular-season games and 24 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons.

Vigneault set the tone for this season on the first day of training camp when in referencing the Rangers being a team capable of winning the Stanley Cup said, "Failure is not an option."

Before the Rangers can get there, they'll have to make it back to the playoffs. Here are three X-factors that could have an impact on their fate:

Roundup: Senators, O'Connor defeat Canadiens

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 12:38 AM / News

Kyle Turris had four assists, and Mark Stone had a goal and two assists in the Ottawa Senators' 5-4 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.

Matthew O'Connor, with the Senators because Andrew Hammond (groin) is injured, made 33 saves.

Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist for the Senators, who finished the preseason 3-3-2. Chris Neil, Chris Wideman and Codi Ceci also scored.

Dale Weise, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal. Nathan Beaulieu had three assists.

Stempniak, Devils agree to terms on one-year contract

Saturday, 10.03.2015 / 4:56 PM / News

The New Jersey Devils agreed to terms with forward Lee Stempniak on a one-year, $850,000 contract Saturday.

Stempniak was with the Devils on a professional tryout contract, having signed Sept. 16, prior to training camp.

Hurricanes agree to extension with goalie Lack

Saturday, 10.03.2015 / 4:39 PM / News

RALEIGH, NCRon Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Eddie Lack on a two-year contract extension. The deal will pay Lack $2.5 million in 2016-17, and $3 million in 2017-18.

"Eddie has been a great addition to our locker room," said Francis. "We feel that we have a very solid tandem in net for this season and are excited that Eddie will remain a part of that picture beyond this year."

Bickell on waivers part of Blackhawks' shakeup

Saturday, 10.03.2015 / 3:06 PM / News

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It was no secret there would be a number of changes to the Chicago Blackhawks roster heading into this season, but a couple of decisions made in the past 48 hours were unexpected.

It started Friday, when 20-year old forward Marko Dano, a key piece in the offseason trade that sent forward Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets, was among the players assigned to Rockford of the American Hockey League.

Around the same time, reports surfaced that Chicago placed veteran forward and three-time Stanley Cup champion Bryan Bickell on waivers.

Bickell, who comes with a $4 million NHL salary-cap charge, wasn't claimed Saturday. He can be sent to Rockford without having to go through waivers any time in the next 30 days, or before he plays in 10 games with the Blackhawks, who plan to keep him to start the season.

"I'm just taking it as an awakening, to set a fire," said Bickell, who will play left wing on the third line at United Center on Saturday in Chicago's final preseason game. "I look at the clock [in the locker room]. It's 11:16 (a.m.), so I'm still here and looking to play tonight, to really show them I can get that game back. I want to be a Blackhawk forever and [it's a] second opportunity."

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