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Bishop, young core among Lightning's five questions

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Tampa Bay Lightning faced several questions entering the 2013-14 season. And that was before their star, center Steven Stamkos, missed four months with a broken tibia and captain Martin St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers at the NHL Trade Deadline. Despite those challenges, the Lightning kept winning thanks to breakout seasons from players including goaltender Ben Bishop, defenseman Victor Hedman, and rookie forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.

With a number of veterans added this summer through trades and free agency, here are five questions the Lightning must answer in 2014-15:

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Lightning's Killorn focused on continuing to develop

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

In 2013-14, forward Alex Killorn was one of several Tampa Bay Lightning players who found their game and helped the team overcome a tumultuous season to post the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. Entering his third season, Killorn is now tasked with building on that success.

If Killorn, who turns 25 on Sept. 14, improves his possession play and continues to develop, the Lightning could be an even more challenging matchup.

Killorn emerged last season with 17 goals and 41 points in 82 games, and ranked second on the Lightning behind Tyler Johnson with 173 shots.

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Lightning's top 10 prospects led by improving Drouin

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman got his first taste of life in an NHL front office working for the Detroit Red Wings, and saw how their deliberate, patient approach with their prospects resulted in creating strong NHL players.

He's implemented that same philosophy during his tenure with the Lightning, stressing incremental growth until the players are fully developed and ready to step into an NHL lineup.

"It's mostly up to the individual," Yzerman told NHL.com. "Do they have the drive and determination to get better? Whether they're playing junior or college, you still have to get better every year. How do you do that? It's through your work ethic, improving your conditioning, improving your skills, maturing as a person. They all have to do that. The guys who figure it out tend to play."

Here's a look at the Lightning's top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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Maple Leafs CEO Leiweke stepping down

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 7:07 PM / News

NHL.com

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment announced Thursday that president and CEO Tim Leiweke will leave the company.

Leiweke will remain with MLSE until June 2015 or until a successor is appointed.

"It's an honour to lead MLSE, a world-class organization in a city and a country so passionate about sports. But with new opportunities on the horizon, it's time for me to begin the transition from sports and entertainment executive to entrepreneur," Leiweke said, according to The Canadian Press. "Right now, my total focus is here at MLSE and I look forward to working with the Board and MLSE team to continue strengthening our franchises while ensuring a smooth transition to a new leader."

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McDavid ready to 'get this crazy year started'

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 6:09 PM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Erie Otters center Connor McDavid got a taste of what it will be like to be a big star.

McDavid joined Otters general manager Sherry Bassin and coach Kris Knoblauch here Thursday for the announcement of an Ontario Hockey League game between Erie and the Niagara Ice Dogs at First Niagara Center on Oct. 22.

That's just one game in a NHL arena, but it's all part of what's to come for the 17-year-old.

"It's going to obviously be pretty different," McDavid said. "It's starting to be pretty crazy. I'm just really excited to be there and get going and get this crazy year started."

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Avalanche goalie Giguere announces retirement

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:20 PM / News

NHL.com

Colorado Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere announced his retirement Thursday after 16 seasons in the NHL.

The 37-year-old earned 262 victories in 597 regular-season games and won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2003, when the Ducks lost the Cup Final to the New Jersey Devils in seven games.

Giguere, a first-round pick (No. 13) of the Hartford Whalers in the 1995 NHL Draft, finished 262-216-50 with 25 ties, a 2.53 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and 38 shutouts for the Whalers, Calgary Flames, Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Avalanche. He went 33-17 with a 2.08 GAA and .925 save percentage in 52 playoff games.

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Rangers agree to terms with forward Kristo

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 1:01 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Forward Danny Kristo agreed to terms with the New York Rangers on a contract Thursday, the team announced. Length and financial terms were not disclosed.

Kristo, 24, comes off his first full American Hockey League season, when he led the Hartford Wolf Pack with 25 goals and had 43 points.

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Charity games honoring Demitra begin in Slovakia

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 11:36 AM / News

NHL.com

Longtime NHL forward Pavol Demitra is being honored in a series of charity exhibition games in Slovakia this week, nearly three years after he and 43 other passengers died in a plane crash in Yaroslavl, Russia.

A group of Slovakian All-Stars and alumni from the St. Louis Blues, along with others such as Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, are participating in three games to raise money for grass-roots hockey in Slovakia. The Slovak Stars beat the Blues alumni 9-8 in a shootout in the first game on Wednesday in Poprad. Game 2 will be played Friday in Trencin, followed by the final game on Saturday in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava.

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Canadiens return successful lineup mostly intact

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Montreal Canadiens lost for the fourth time in five games March 12, then watched the Toronto Maple Leafs win the following night (against the Los Angeles Kings, no less) to push three points in front of their rivals from Quebec for second place in the Atlantic Division.

What came next was remarkable: Montreal gained 16 points on Toronto in 16 days, leaving the Maple Leafs in its wake. The Canadiens won eight of nine in that stretch to effectively secure a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the Maple Leafs lost eight in a row in one of the craziest and swiftest collapses in recent NHL history.

The Canadiens finished the season on a strong note, upsetting the archrival Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Second Round before a Carey Price injury left Montreal short against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. Montreal lost high-profile NHL Trade Deadline addition Thomas Vanek to free agency, but added Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau in a deft trade and friend of the analytics community Tom Gilbert to possibly help shore up that department on the blue line.

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Canadiens' five questions revolve around new captain

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

In each of the two seasons since Marc Bergevin took over as general manager and Michel Therrien as coach of the Montreal Canadiens, they have made a significant leap forward.

Two years ago, the Canadiens went from last place in the Eastern Conference to winning their division before bowing out in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last season, the Canadiens finished third in the Atlantic Division, but reached the Eastern Conference Final before being knocked out in six games by the New York Rangers.

The next step will be a difficult one for the Canadiens, but the answers to these five questions may determine whether they are ready for it.

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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players