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Blackhawks GM Bowman eyes trades to add cap room

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 7:06 PM / News

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Wednesday that he's spoken with some general managers about potential trades that could help alleviate another tight squeeze against the NHL salary cap.

"I'm not going to really go into detail on the trade talks," Bowman said. "It's typical of this time of year. We had the [general managers'] meeting [Tuesday], which is a new wrinkle. Normally we have it during the [Stanley Cup Final], so there was a lot of discussion with other managers about what they're looking to do."

The NHL announced the salary cap ceiling would rise from $69 million to $71.4 million for 2015-16. Chicago has about $64 million committed to 14 players for next season, meaning that Bowman almost certainly has to orchestrate a trade or trades to carve out enough cap room to fill out his roster.

Board of Governors OKs start of expansion process

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 7:04 PM / News

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- The NHL Board of Governors gave approval to the League to begin accepting applications as part of a formal expansion process, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday

There are no guarantees the process will lead to the granting of an expansion team, but it will allow interested ownership groups to make a formal presentation.

"The Board ultimately will determine whether or not there is any interest in expanding," Commissioner Bettman said after the Board met here earlier Wednesday. "If the conclusion is there is interest, from the League's perspective, then they will focus on what the terms will be and who the successful or likely successful candidates might be.

"The fact that we're going through this process doesn't mean we're going to expand. All it means is that we're going to stop just listening to expressions of interest and take a good hard look at what they actually mean and represent."

Eichel won't reveal decision about turning pro

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 6:36 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

MIAMI -- Boston University center Jack Eichel said he has decided whether he will turn professional after he's selected in the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

He just isn't making his decision public yet.

Eichel, who was with five other top NHL draft prospects at Marlins Park on Wednesday, spoke to the media after taking his turn at batting practice prior to the Miami Marlins' game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I mean, I'm kind of set on what I want to do, but I guess you'll find out in the few days that follow the draft," Eichel said. "I have an idea what I want to do. I sat down and had dinner with [Boston University coach] David Quinn and spoke with my parents, so I have a good idea of where I want to be next year."

The first round of the draft will be held Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); rounds 2-7 are Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA Sports).

Crouse chose hockey despite baseball upbringing

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 6:21 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

MIAMI -- Kingston Frontenacs left wing Lawson Crouse looked pretty comfortable Wednesday in the right-handed batter's box at Marlins Park, wearing a No. 67 Miami Marlins jersey.

Crouse was the only one of the six 2015 NHL Draft prospects to hit a home run during batting practice, clearing the fence in right field.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward could be a top-five pick when the first round of the draft is held Friday in Sunrise, Fla. (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports). But if Crouse's grandfather had his way, Lawson would be swinging a baseball bat full time, not a hockey stick.

Crouse shares a first name with his grandfather as well as a passion for sports. But for the elder Lawson, his sport was baseball and his favorite team was the Montreal Expos. Mike Crouse, the younger Lawson's father and elder Lawson's son, said as a youngster vacations with his father would include ballpark trips, including one road trip to Riverfront Stadium, former home of the Cincinnati Reds.

Board of Governors approves 2015-16 rules changes

3-on-3 overtime, coach's challenge introduced

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 5:31 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

LAS VEGAS – The National Hockey League Board of Governors today approved rules changes for the 2015-16 season that will change the overtime format to 3-on-3 for five minutes, expand the use of video review to include a Coach's Challenge within a limited scope of scenarios and amend face-off protocol.

The Board acted on the series of recommendations it received from the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee and the NHL General Managers.

Board of Governors OKs 3-on-3 OT, coach's challenge

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 5:25 PM / News

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- A change to the overtime format and the expansion of video replay to include a coach's challenge were approved by the NHL Board of Governors on Wednesday.

The change in overtime will see the League go to a 3-on-3 format for a five-minute period in regular-season games tied at the end of regulation. Previously, the League played 4-on-4 overtime. Regular-season games tied at the end of overtime will continue to be decided by a shootout.

The coach's challenge will be limited to goals scored on potential offside or goalie-interference plays.

The Board also approved a change to faceoff procedures that will have the defensive player place his stick on the ice first in all faceoffs not held at the center-ice dot. In the past, the visiting team player had to declare first; under the new rule, the only time the visiting player must declare first will be on center-ice faceoffs.

Board of Governors authorizes formal process to evaluate all expressions of team interest

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 4:35 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

LAS VEGAS -- The National Hockey League Board of Governors today authorized the undertaking of a formal process to evaluate expressions of interest from markets and ownership groups interested in obtaining NHL clubs. To the extent parties may be interested in applying for an expansion team, the League will make applications available starting on Monday, July 6, and applications should be filed no later than Monday, August 10.

"Over the past several years we have received numerous expressions of interest from potential markets and ownership groups that have indicated an interest in joining the National Hockey League. The Board decided today to examine those expressions more formally and also to welcome any other groups or markets that may be considering pursuit of an NHL team," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The fact that we are beginning this process does not necessarily mean that any expansion teams will be granted as a result of this process."

Penguins plan to sign Plotnikov, eye Tikhonov: report

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 3:08 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

The Pittsburgh Penguins plan to sign Russian forward Sergei Plotnikov when free agency begins on July 1, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Penguins also have interest in Viktor Tikhonov, who played for the Arizona Coyotes during the 2008-09 season and has spent the past four seasons with St. Petersburg of the KHL, the Tribune-Review said.

Blue Jackets sign McElhinney to two-year contract

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 2:23 PM / News

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.

McElhinney, 32, went 12-14-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 32 games during the 2014-15 season. He recorded career highs in victories, games played, minutes (1,710) and saves (867). He played in his 100th career NHL game on October 31, 2014 vs. Toronto and made a personal best 48 saves on a career-high 52 shots faced in a 5-4 shootout victory on April 11, 2015 at the NY Islanders. The netminder posted a 10-11-1 record with a 2.70 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and 639 saves in 28 games in 2013-14.

"We are pleased to have signed Curtis for the next two seasons," said Kekalainen. "He is a hard-working, high-caliber individual who provides the team with a veteran presence in goal and had played very well for us when called upon the past two seasons. We look forward to his continued contributions to the Blue Jackets both on and off the ice."

To read more from the Blue Jackets website, CLICK HERE.

Home openers highlighted by Blackhawks vs. Rangers

Wednesday, 06.24.2015 / 1:00 PM / News

The Chicago Blackhawks will raise another Stanley Cup banner to the rafters at United Center on Wednesday, Oct. 7, when they host the New York Rangers in their home opener on the first night of the 2015-16 season.

The NHL announced the home openers for each team Wednesday. The full schedule for the upcoming season will be released Thursday.

There will be three other games on Oct. 7: the Toronto Maple Leafs and new coach Mike Babcock will host the Montreal Canadiens; the Los Angeles Kings will host the San Jose Sharks and new coach Peter DeBoer; and the Calgary Flames will host the Vancouver Canucks, a rematch of a Western Conference First Round series of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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