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Karlsson earned break after Senators' frenetic season

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

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TORONTO -- Erik Karlsson would like to set the record straight.

Not that he really needs to, considering everything the Ottawa Senators defenseman has accomplished over his career, but Karlsson wants to make clear he does indeed work out over the summer months.

Karlsson said at the end of August that he did his conditioning on the ice and doesn't do much training over the summer, if any. It was a surprising comment in the NHL today, when players are often working hard most of the offseason to maintain their conditioning.

When asked about his summer of physical inactivity during the NHL Player Media Tour earlier this month in Toronto, Karlsson quickly stepped in to make a correction.

"Well, that's a little bit exaggerated," Karlsson said. "I work out frequently throughout the summer. But I've been going hard now for five, six, seven summers in a row, and this summer I just felt like I was worn down a lot and decided to take a little more time off than I normally do."

Roundup: Dumba scores twice to lead Wild past Jets

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 11:03 PM / News

NHL.com

Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and Matt Dumba scored in the first period to lead the Minnesota Wild to an 8-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise scored in the second period for Minnesota and Dumba scored again at 14:01 for his second goal of the game.

Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin scored in the third period. Devan Dubnyk made 18 saves.

Mathieu Perreault scored for Winnipeg.

Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson allowed six goals on 18 shots. Connor Hellebuyck made 10 saves.

Maple Leafs agree to terms with forward Brad Boyes

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 4:51 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

TorontoMapleLeafs.com

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Sunday that the club has agreed to terms with free agent forward Brad Boyes on a one-year contract. Boyes was originally invited to training camp with Toronto on a professional try-out.

Boyes, 33, appeared in 78 regular season games last season with the Florida Panthers, collecting 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) and 20 penalty minutes. The Mississauga, Ontario native has registered 481 points (203 goals, 278 assists) in 762 career NHL games with the San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Florida. He has also appeared in 17 career NHL playoff games tallying seven points (three goals, four assists). Boyes was originally selected by Toronto in the first round (24th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Ex-NHL defenseman Woolley cherishing Hockeyville

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 2:42 PM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Jason Woolley played 14 seasons in the NHL and remembers what it's like to be a kid dreaming of playing professional hockey.

"Any time you get a chance to go out with the little guys… I was once a little kid who looked up to NHL players and now it's nice to be on the other side," Woolley said at Cambria County War Memorial Arena, where he coached kids in a youth hockey clinic as part of Kraft Hockeyville USA. "They're all out there, working hard having fun and smiling, and that's what it's all about."

Johnstown, named the winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA, will host a preseason game Tuesday between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN). The arena was also awarded $150,000 in upgrades, which were used on new lights, new glass and boards as well as on the sound system, locker rooms and scoreboard fixes.

Woolley, a retired defenseman who had 68 goals and 314 points with five teams in his NHL career, won a silver medal with Canada at the 1992 Albertville Olympics. He said for all he knows, future NHL players could be at the clinic.

Blackhawks have names engraved on Stanley Cup

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 12:06 PM / News

NHL.com

The Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning team of 2014-15 is officially etched on hockey's ultimate prize.

All 52 names from the Blackhawks team that won the Cup for the third time in six seasons were engraved on the trophy Sunday. Chicago defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games of the Stanley Cup Final in June to become champions.

Blues' Shattenkirk healthy, gaining elite status

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was so excited to implement his offseason training regimen again after the work he put in during the summer of 2014 produced noticeable results.

Following a program that included a change in diet and working with Ben Prentiss of Prentiss Hockey Performance, Shattenkirk came flying out of the gates last season.

Shattenkirk started with 16 points in 17 games and ingratiated himself into conversations about the top defensemen in the NHL. Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban, who are part of Norris Trophy talk on an annual basis, had company.

However, a seemingly innocent collision with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin early in the first period on Feb. 1 derailed a season full of promise that was destined to produce career-high stats for the 26-year-old.

An abdominal tear was the result. Shattenkirk missed 25 games and never was 100 percent despite returning in time for the stretch run.

Upstart Flames won't fly under radar this season

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

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

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames understand that in light of their surprising success in 2014-15, expectations heading into this season are considerably higher.

"It's a whole different ball game now," forward Joe Colborne said. "We had that 'everyone against us' mentality [last season], and that's easy to build around. You look at the top teams, they've learned how to win. It's easy to be second place; it's never easy to be first place. That's where we have to look at it. Now people are saying nice things about us. It's going to be a challenge to make sure we don't listen too much to it, just like we didn't listen when they said bad things last year."

The Flames were third in the Pacific Division with a 45-30-7 record, a 20-point increase from 2014-15, to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009. With an opening-series win, Calgary extended its season and advanced to the Western Conference Second Round for the first time since 2004, and the second time since winning the Cup in 1989.

The additions of forward Michael Frolik and defenseman Dougie Hamilton bolster a roster returning relatively intact.

Goaltending, young core X-factors for Flames

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Last season, the Calgary Flames returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009 and advanced beyond the first round for the first time since going to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.

The upstart Flames surprised many with their performance, which included a 20-point season-over-season increase from 2013-14 to finish third in the Pacific Division and a series win against the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference First Round.

With heightened expectations, Calgary is looking for a repeat performance.

"Last year, we believed we were a playoff team and we do again," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "We're looking forward to getting better, and on paper today, if you look at our roster, we do look like a deeper, better roster. Now, as players, we have to bring that and prove it on the ice. If you ask a lot of teams, they are going to feel like they got better this offseason as well. We have to be prepared right from Day One. I think our start last year was huge. We'll go from there."

Reloaded Penguins could still be among NHL's elite

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

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

PITTSBURGH -- Reports of the Pittsburgh Penguins' demise at the end of last season might have been premature.

After limping to a 4-9-2 record in their last 15 games and qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the final day of the regular season with a 2-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres, the Penguins failed to score more than one goal in four of their five games against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference First Round. The sound loss to New York could have dealt a significant blow to Pittsburgh's current era led by forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Instead, the Penguins responded to the lackluster performance with an aggressive offseason aimed at retooling an offense in desperate need of balance. A defensive youth movement could add further firepower back into Pittsburgh's arsenal, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury seems poised to continue the steady play he's showcased through the past two seasons.

With a reinvigorated group, led by a more experienced Mike Johnston as coach, the Penguins could rejoin the Eastern Conference upper echelon in 2015-16.

Health, young defense among Penguins X-factors

Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- This season could be pivotal for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

They are again expected to be one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, as they've consistently been for several seasons, but that level of hype hasn't panned out since they won their most recent championship in 2009. The tools are there, with a revamped offense, a more experienced coach, and a defense whose youth could make the attack more lethal.

This season must be different, however. With the core of forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, defenseman Kris Letang and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in its prime, Pittsburgh cannot afford many more seasons of early exits from the Stanley Cup Playoffs if this era is to be evaluated as successful.

Health has played an issue in seasons past, as have unexpected slumps in crucial moments. Malkin, who struggled with a sprained ankle through Pittsburgh's five playoff games in 2015, had the appropriate attitude toward last season.

"I don't remember," Malkin said. "That was last year. I'm looking to a new season."

If Malkin's teammates share his focus, Pittsburgh could re-emerge in 2015-16. Here are three X-factors that could determine if the Penguins will find success this season:

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