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Carlsons celebrate spirit of 'Slap Shot' at Hockeyville

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 5:33 PM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - Staff Writer

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- The city of Johnstown, Pa., is synonymous with the film "Slap Shot."

Based on brothers Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and Jack Carlson, who played here for the Johnstown Jets in the mid-1970s, parts of "Slap Shot" were filmed at Cambria County War Memorial Arena and around town, with Jeff and Steve, and David Hanson, in the film making up the Hanson brothers.

So when Johnstown submitted its application for Kraft Hockeyville USA, it's not surprising that Hanson and the Carlsons were front and center.

"We really felt moved to try and help the effort," said Hanson, who played Jack Hanson in the movie. "We did that and of course the history of Johnstown before and after the Hanson brothers is pretty great. It's pretty good to be a part of it.

Senators sign defenseman Fraser to one-year contract

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 4:36 PM / News

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators announced today that the club has signed defenseman Mark Fraser to a one-year, two-way contract. The contract will carry an annual value of $800,000 in the National Hockey League and $125,000 in the American Hockey League.

Fraser, 28, spent time with both the New Jersey Devils and the AHL's Albany Devils last season, recording four assists and 55 penalty minutes over 34 games with New Jersey. He registered three points (one goal) and 45 penalty minutes in 18 games with Albany.

USA Hockey coach thrilled to run Hockeyville clinic

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 1:00 PM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - Staff Writer

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Roger Grillo knows a thing or two about developing young hockey players into NHL stars.

Grillo, who has coached high school and college hockey for more than 20 years, was the coach at Brown University from 1997-2009 and an assistant with Vermont from 1990-97. During his time at Vermont he coached two future Stanley Cup winners in forward Martin St. Louis and goalie Tim Thomas.

"Marty and Tim were both a real treat and pleasure to coach," said Grillo, a regional manager for the American Development Model with USA Hockey who was at Cambria County War Memorial Arena here Sunday to run a clinic for kids. "Both were very high-end, talented players who helped those teams at Vermont have a ton of success. To see both of them do what they did in NHL was a real thrill."

National passion made Hockeyville a win in U.S.

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 10:00 AM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- For nine years Kraft Hockeyville allowed Canadian cities to host an NHL preseason game and win money to upgrade their arenas; 2015 marked the first time the event also came to the United States.

The inaugural winner of the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA went to Johnstown, Pa., which held events this past weekend, including skating clinics for children at Cambria County War Memorial Arena with former NHL players and a FanFest at a local park with the Stanley Cup. The main event will be Tuesday, when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning play at the arena (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN), which received upgrades to the lights, sound system, boards and scoreboard with some of the $150,000 that went to the winning city.

"Kraft Hockeyville has been a success in Canada for the last nine years. It was something that the NHL was an integral partner with us saying, 'Why don't we try and bring it to the U.S. market?' What it is is a hockey program, and more importantly it's a community program and it allows communities to show their passion for the sport of hockey," Julian Franklin, Director of Consumer Relations and Brand Activation for Kraft, said Sunday.

Johnstown legend calls Hockeyville defining moment

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 9:00 AM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - Staff Writer

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- It was fitting Don Hall was the first person to step onto the ice at Cambria War Memorial Arena since the city was named the winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA.

Hall is a legend in Johnstown and has been for more than 60 years. He played for the Johnstown Jets of the Eastern Hockey League for 11 seasons from 1950-1962 and had 424 goals and 1,056 points. When Hall retired, he was the all-time leading scorer in organized hockey. So when Johnstown was announced as the winner, Hall was front and center.

The city was awarded a preseason game to be played Tuesday between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and received $150,000 for arena upgrades.

"I was very excited. I'm a big Penguins fan and Eddie Johnston who played in the NHL, he and I are good friends," Hall said on Sunday after he put on the skates and was in a chair being escorted around the "Kraft Hockeyville" logo at center ice, his skates the first markings in the ice. "I know a lot of the Penguins and it's very exciting for me. I was here when they made the announcement and the crowd was very excited. The building was excited. It's the most incredible thing that's ever happened in Johnstown since the flood (of 1889). And that's not counting 'Slap Shot.'

"When 'Slap Shot' came (to film) in 1976, everyone got into it. It was a big affair. This is much bigger. This is our celebration."

Five backup goalies to handcuff in fantasy

Eric Goodman - Fantasy Staff Writer

When considering goaltenders in head-to-head fantasy leagues, owners can hardly go wrong with drafting top-tier talent like the Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price or Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne in the early rounds and a solid starter like Vancouver Canucks veteran Ryan Miller in the middle of their respective drafts.

But after settling on a dependable tandem, grabbing a third goalie who is projected to be a backup on his respective NHL team can give owners the edge in taking their fantasy matchup on any given week.

In addition to the bonus statistics, handcuffing a team's backup goalie to the superstar that you drafted early provides much-needed insurance in the case that a starting goaltender sustains a long-term injury.

Jets' success depends on progress of young players

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Patrick Williams - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.

WINNIPEG -- The long-term mindset for the Winnipeg Jets is a draft-and-develop plan to build an organization able to compete on a yearly basis.

The Jets' short term could be a bit different, however, for a coaching staff and locker room that has sampled the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Balancing short- and long-term goals will be one of the many tasks facing coach Paul Maurice this season.

Winnipeg reached the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007, setting a franchise record with 99 points and tying a franchise record with 43 wins. Even a four-game sweep by the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference First Round did not dampen the enthusiasm of Maurice and his players.

"I think we came into the season last year expecting to be one of the hardest-working teams and go through the process of being a team that is hard to play against [each] night, and I thought we did that," captain Andrew Ladd said.

With unrestricted free agency looming for Ladd and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, there is pressure for the Jets to navigate the Central Division and reach the postseason again. After an offseason when veteran forwards Michael Frolik, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Tlusty and Jim Slater left Winnipeg, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will trust that his prospects-oriented approach is ready to provide homegrown solutions to fill the lineup vacancies.

Right wing Nikolaj Ehlers, the ninth pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, highlights the group of prospects pushing for a spot on the Jets roster.

Goaltending, youth movement among Jets' X-factors

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets set franchise records of 43 wins and 99 points last season to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007 before being swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference First Round.

After a quiet offseason when the Jets lost four regulars from last season's lineup, they will rely on an infusion of youth to fill in the gaps.

Here are three X-factors that will have an impact on whether Winnipeg can duplicate or surpass last season's performance:

Ryan rebound leading X-factor for Senators

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators were 14 points out of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Feb. 10. A historic finishing kick of 23-4-4 vaulted them into the postseason.

Not even the most optimistic Senators fan is expecting them to come close to that kind of performance for an entire season, but here are three X-factors that will help make them a playoff team again in 2015-16:

Senators aim to pick up where historic rally left off

Monday, 09.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators head into the 2015-16 season hoping to pick up where they left off last season.

The Senators were the hottest team in the NHL over the final months of 2014-15. It's not realistic to expect them to continue to win 23 of 31 games, which they did for a historic rally that carried them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Senators believe a better start and a little more consistency will make them a playoff team again in 2016.

"It's a new season. It's going to be totally different," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. "Hopefully it's going to make us realize we need to start off better than we did last year. If it's Game 1, 2, 5 or 10, or 72, it still matters the same.

"For us, we need to be a little bit more consistent. That showed us a lot last year."

The Senators are back with much the same cast of young players who sparked their rally. The hopes in Ottawa are the experiences of last season will help the 2015-16 Senators find that consistency.

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