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Luongo optimistic about Panthers' playoff chances

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 12:25 PM / News

The thought of a full season with forward Jaromir Jagr in the lineup has Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo optimistic about making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2015-16.

The Panthers finished strong last season, and one reason was the play of Jagr, the leading scorer among active NHL players (722 goals, 1,802 points), who had six goals and 18 points in 20 games after being acquired in a trade from the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 27. Jagr, 43, formed an effective line with two young players, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, helping Florida go 12-6-2 after the trade.

The Panthers re-signed Jagr on April 12, and Luongo said having him back is vital to the Panthers' hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

"He played unreal," Luongo told the Panthers website. "The whole first line played really well together as a three-man unit. If we can get that kind of production every night for the upcoming season, I think we're in pretty good shape."

Penguins sign Gonchar to pro tryout contract

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 12:24 PM / News

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar signed a professional tryout contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

Gonchar, 41, spent five of his 20 NHL seasons with the Penguins, from 2005-10, and was a member of their Stanley Cup-winning team in 2009. He has played for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens.

Gonchar had one goal and 14 points in 48 games with the Stars and Canadiens last season.

“The Penguins were the only team that I was looking at,” Gonchar told the Pittsburgh website. “We’ve been talking for a while now. We had to wait for them to finish making all of their moves.”

Gallagher pleased with Canadiens' additions

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 10:51 AM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

Brendan Gallagher has high hopes for new Montreal Canadiens forwards Alexander Semin and Zack Kassian.

The Canadiens signed Semin to a one-year contract reportedly worth $1.1 million July 24, a little more than three weeks after the Carolina Hurricanes bought out the final three years of the 31-year-old's five-year, $35 million contract.

"Semin is a guy that other teams have to be aware of," Gallagher said Wednesday at his charity softball game at Vancouver's Nat Bailey Stadium. "He's dangerous every time he's on the ice. He doesn't need much time and space to put the puck in the back of the net."

Coyotes captain Doan, nearing 39, in no rush to retire

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 10:24 AM / News

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan will be 39 years old shortly after the 2015-16 NHL season begins, and is entering the final year of a four-year contract, but said he hopes to play beyond this season.

"I'd like to have a good year. If I feel I can still help the team and they still want me, we can go from there," Doan, who has been the captain since the 2003-04 season, told FOX Sports Arizona on Wednesday. "I always want to approach it that way until I know I'm done."

Nugent-Hopkins says Oilers power play will be better

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 9:31 AM / NHL Insider

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins expects the Edmonton Oilers to improve on the power play this season.

The addition of forward Connor McDavid, who was the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, and a successful final 35 games of last season are the 22-year-old center's biggest reasons for optimism.

"I think as the year went on and near the end of the season, we really picked up our power play," Nugent-Hopkins told the Oilers website Thursday. "We started scoring and just had the confidence to go out there and get the job done. For whatever reason, that was something we were lacking at the start of the year.

"With a guy like [McDavid] coming in too, that will ignite us a little more hopefully. We should be a team with a really strong power play and we've got to get back to that."

Bruins hope changes get them back into playoffs

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

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

BOSTON -- It's been an offseason of change for the Boston Bruins, who missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years.

The first significant change came April 15, when general manager Peter Chiarelli was fired and replaced by assistant GM Don Sweeney. After a couple weeks on the job, Sweeney decided to retain coach Claude Julien and his staff once Sweeney felt comfortable they were on the same page about making the Bruins more aggressive.

"They had teed up some clips in meetings and stuff before I even had a chance to sit with them, where we can get up ice and create a little more anxiety in really all three zones, where we defend the blue line and we create some turnovers and get back on offense," Sweeney said. "I think our breakouts have to have a little more flow to it and our forwards are going to have more ownership to have some guys in motion to be able to get back on offense. And that's going to be a work in progress. That's not something you just change overnight."

Bruins facing questions about gaps in lineup

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- An offseason of change for the Boston Bruins began April 15 with the firing of general manager Peter Chiarelli.

Don Sweeney, who was promoted from assistant GM to replace Chiarelli on May 20, traded defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Milan Lucic on June 26, then made two moves July 1 aiming to improve Boston's youth and depth and get the Bruins back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs after they failed to qualify for the first time since 2007.

Here are three questions facing the Bruins entering the season:

Elite Rask, Bergeron keeping Bruins optimistic

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Despite all the issues the Boston Bruins had last season, they finished within two points of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

A win here or there, especially if they fared better than 4-10 in shootouts, and the Bruins would have extended their postseason streak to eight seasons. Instead, they went home at the end of the regular season for the first time since 2007.

The Bruins are banking on a few new faces in the lineup to get them back in the playoffs.

Here are four reasons the Bruins should be optimistic:

Subban, Heinen among Bruins' top five prospects

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- When Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was hired this offseason, he decided he had a mandate to get them back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs while replenishing their prospect pool so they'd be able to have sustained success beyond.

The Bruins restocked at the 2015 NHL Draft by making 10 picks, including five in the first two rounds. Some of those came in trades for defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Milan Lucic.

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

Boston Bruins fantasy hockey outlook

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: Tuukka Rask

Rask had a bit of a disappointing season last year after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14. His win total fell from 36 to 34 despite starting nine more games. His goals against average went from 2.04 to 2.30, his save percentage decreased from .930 to .922, and his shutout total dipped from seven to three. Despite the decreases in each category, Rask was still the 11th best fantasy goalie in Yahoo leagues last season and was the 74th best player overall. Since the 2012-13 season when Rask became Boston's full-time starting goalie, he has the best save percentage (.926), second best goals against average (2.14), fourth most shutouts (15) and fourth most wins (89) among goalies who have appeared in at least 100 games. Despite the Bruins trading defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Milan Lucic this offseason, Rask remains a Vezina Trophy candidate in 2015-16.

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Quote of the Day

That's today's game. That's one of the things you have to deal with when you're a championship team. Guys are going to earn more money based on their performance and what they've achieved, [and] deservedly so. [Saad] falls into that category.

— Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Brandon Saad, who was traded by Chicago to the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason