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Avalanche excited for outdoor game vs. Red Wings

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

DENVER -- Persistence paid off for Colorado Avalanche president Josh Kroenke, who for several years had been lobbying for a Coors Light NHL Stadium Series Game.

It will happen on Sunday, Feb. 27 at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, when the Avalanche and longtime rival Detroit Red Wings meet in the first NHL outdoor game to be played in the state.

The League made the official announcement in January, and on Monday NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held a news conference with officials from the Rockies, Avalanche and Red Wings on a sun-splashed morning under blue skies with a hockey rink configuration stretched across portions of the dirt infield and outfield grass.

In addition, alumni from the Avalanche and Red Wings will play at Coors Field on Friday, Feb. 25. The teams faced each other five times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs from 1996-2002 and combined to win the Stanley Cup five times during that span.

Oilers' McDavid expecting 'special' preseason debut

Monday, 09.21.2015 / 3:49 PM / News

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid will make his preseason debut at Rexall Place in a split-squad game against the Calgary Flames on Monday.

The Oilers and Flames are playing two games simultaneously in Edmonton and Calgary to begin their preseason.

McDavid will center the Oilers' top line between Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell in the game in Edmonton.

"I'm excited. Obviously, anytime you get a chance to do something like this, it's pretty special," McDavid said. "It's going to be fun, and hopefully the building is excited."

Ducks sign goaltender Gibson to three-year contract

Monday, 09.21.2015 / 2:21 PM / News

The Ducks have signed goaltender John Gibson to a three-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gibson, 22 (7/14/93), appeared in his second NHL season with Anaheim in 2014-15, going 13-8-0 with one shutout, a 2.60 goals-against average (GAA) and .914 save percentage (SV%). He established career highs in wins, saves (616), appearances (23) and starts (21). The Pittsburgh, PA native ranked fourth among NHL rookie goaltenders in wins, saves and shots faced (674). The 6-3, 216 pound netminder won six of seven starts from Feb. 20-Mar. 4, compiling a 6-1-0 record with a 1.84 GAA with a .942 SV%. He had a pair of career-tying three-game win streaks within that seven-game stretch (Feb. 20-23 & Feb. 27-Mar. 4) and also won three straight for a third time from Mar. 13-18. On Oct. 28, Gibson made the most saves (38) by a Ducks rookie goaltender in a shutout performance for a 1-0 win at Chicago. Gibson also played 11 games with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) last season, posting a 6-3-2 record with a 2.07 GAA and .935 SV%.

Avs reveal Coors Light NHL Stadium Series sweater

The Colorado Avalanche revealed today the club's 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series jersey to be used at the outdoor game at Coors Field on Feb. 27.

The sweater was donned by Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who put it on during a press conference for the event.

This special concept, to be used solely during the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium SeriesTM Game, incorporates the same Colorado 'C' design that was added to the Avalanche jersey designs earlier this year. It also features larger numbers on the back and on the shoulders, so fans in attendance will be able identify their favorite players.

Hockeyville USA telecast to exhibit 'Slap Shot' theme

Monday, 09.21.2015 / 1:16 PM / News

Elements of the old-time hockey made famous in the 1977 Paul Newman classic "Slap Shot" will be on display Sept. 29 when Johnstown, Pa., hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning in the first edition of Kraft Hockeyville USA (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

The preseason game will be played at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, where the iconic film was shot. Bob Costas, who anchors the coverage, will have a live interview with Jeff Carlson and Steve Carlson, the real-life inspiration for the Hanson brothers. Play-by-play commentator Mike Emrick will pay homage to Jim Carr, the legendary broadcaster of the Charlestown Chiefs.

In addition, segments with analyst Jeremy Roenick will feature memorabilia from "Slap Shot" and chronicle the history of Johnstown hockey, which dates to 1941, while current NHL players will discuss their favorite memories of and scenes from the film.

Spezza, McDonagh among bounce-back candidates

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was the Fantasy MVP last season and no doubt helped many who owned him to fantasy championships.

But it takes more than a great season from a goalie to win. You also need to be able to identify when to drop a player who is playing below his draft value. It's not easy dropping Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, who had 38 points one season after winning the Calder Trophy, but holding on to a player and waiting for them to turn the corner during a rough year can be costly.

Here are 10 players you can expect to have bounce back fantasy seasons:

Upstart Oilers face challenge shoring up defense

Monday, 09.21.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- After an eventful offseason highlighted by the selection of center Connor McDavid with the No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers are a much different team than the one that was 28th in the NHL standings last season.

Not only did the Oilers win the NHL Draft Lottery on April 18, they also made sweeping changes to the front office and coaching staff before drafting McDavid on June 26.

Two days after their fourth lottery win in the past six years, Edmonton put former Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson in charge, naming him CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group.

Letestu, Draisaitl among X-factors for Oilers

Monday, 09.21.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Although most of the attention will be on Connor McDavid and the rest of the young core, the Edmonton Oilers' success could hinge on the supporting cast.

Here are three X-factors that will determine whether the Oilers can compete for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season:

Finding No. 1 goalie an X-factor for Maple Leafs

Monday, 09.21.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- It is the dawn of a new era in Toronto.

With the addition of coach Mike Babcock, along with general manager Lou Lamoriello and team president Brendan Shanahan, the feeling is the Maple Leafs are headed in the right direction.

However, it is going to take time for the Maple Leafs to meet their ultimate goal of being a Stanley Cup contender. It is important to note the management team has not put a timeline on reaching that goal.

Here are three X-factors that can help the Maple Leafs be the disciplined, hard-working team Babcock aspires to coach:

Babcock's focus getting Maple Leafs to follow system

Monday, 09.21.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

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

TORONTO -- Success for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season won't necessarily be measured in victories.

Rather, new coach Mike Babcock will be pleased if his players buy into his system, which basically requires dedication on and off the ice as well as simple hard work.

"All we're going to do is build a process here, and I will make it very clear to the guys that I will be happy," Babcock said as he began his first training camp as coach of the Maple Leafs. "I like being happy, period. The two things that irritate me the most are lack of preparation and lack of compete. That's not happening."

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