Saturday, September 13, 2014

Snider: Flyers not hiding behind ‘horrible mistake’ of signing Bryzgalov


It’s been well over a year since the Philadelphia Flyers bought out goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, yet it’s still a topic of conversation for the club’s chairman Ed Snider.


The Flyers signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million contract in the summer prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season, but used a compliance buyout on the eccentric puck stopper after just two lackluster seasons.


“I’m proud of (former general manager and now team president Paul Holmgren) and our guys in the sense that they don’t hide behind their mistakes,” Snider said Saturday, as per the Star Ledger and NJ.com.


“They don’t say, ‘Oh, we’re gonna keep this guy because we’ll be criticized for making this horrible mistake.’


“The guy is not a bad goalie, but somehow or another he didn’t fit here.


“We’ve had goalie problems for some strange reason. Hopefully they’re behind us.”


After missing the post-season in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, and Bryzgalov in net for 40 of 48 games, the Flyers made it back to the Stanley Cup playoffs this past spring. They accomplished the feat with Steve Mason as their No. 1 goalie.


Mason, now 26 years old, is the Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s top rookie from 2009. But he had fallen on hard times after that in Columbus, struggling there with his game until he was traded to Philadelphia in April of 2013.


He enjoyed a bounce back season with the Flyers, posting a 33-18-7 record, but with a goals-against average of 2.50 and save percentage of .917 that ranked 25th and 21st in the league, respectively.


As it was last season, the Flyers will go with Mason and Ray Emery, with the latter under contract for one more season, according to Capgeek.com.


Mason didn’t enter into Philadelphia’s first-round match-up with the New York Rangers until midway through the series. He later revealed he had been suffering from a concussion prior to his start in Game 4.



“What I’m trying to say is I don’t know how close we are (to a Stanley Cup), but I don’t know what would have happened if we had beaten the Rangers. I don’t know what would have happened if Mason started the series and played all seven games,” said Snider, as per Philly.com.


“I’m not knocking (Ray) Emery, but I think if Mason had played all the games, we would have won the round. We’d have gone to the second round. Mason would have been the goalie.”




Flames’ prospect Bennett wants to prove he’s NHL ready


Sam Bennett can now do pull-ups. He tried, but was unsuccessful in that exercise at the NHL combine earlier this year.


Can he make the jump from the junior level to the NHL this year? That remains to be seen.


The Calgary Flames and their prospects are in Penticton, B.C., for the Young Stars Tournament, hosted by the Vancouver Canucks.


If Bennett, selected fourth overall by the Flames in June’s draft and signed to an entry-level deal in July, is to crack a roster spot in Calgary later this fall, this tournament would count as one of the first steps.


Prior to the journey out west, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said he would be “shocked” if Bennett made the team this year.


“There are a lot of guys who can play in the league. But [the real questions are] can you help the team, and is it good for you?” Treliving said, as per Sportsnet.


“I would be shocked [if Bennett sticks]. He will have to come in here and show beyond a shadow of a doubt that, not only is he ready to be here, but this is what’s best for him.”


The ball is now in Bennett’s court. It’s up to him to show the Flames brass whether he does belong in the NHL as an 18-year-old, an age he turned just a week before the draft.


“If that’s what they’re thinking right now, I’m going to do everything I can in training camp and in the exhibition games to change their mind and prove to them that I am ready to play,” Bennett said, as per The Canadian Press.


If he doesn’t make the Flames, Bennett would be sent back to the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League.


In the first game of the tournament in Penticton, Bennett didn’t record a point or a shot on goal.


He could be in line for a breakout game tonight, when the Flames prospects face the Edmonton Oilers’ prospects.


According to the lineup sheet, Bennett will centering a line that includes the skilled and dynamic Johnny Gaudreauthe Boston College product scored this beauty of a goal on Friday — and Michael Ferland, who had his 2013-14 season with the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL cut short due to season-ending knee surgery.



P.K. Subban: ‘I’m not trying to change the game of hockey’


P.K. Subban has emerged as one of the most electrifying players in the National Hockey League, playing the game at a frenetic and entertaining pace, bordering on reckless at times, one could definitely argue.


It seems like a fact of life that with star quality — on and off the ice — comes controversy. He’s a polarizing figure in the game. A difference of opinion on a player or a team isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


However, the racism directed at him on social media during the playoffs, has no place in the game or in life.


It’s next to impossible to deny his talent, considering at 25 years of age, he’s coming off a career season with the Habs, a team that upset the Boston Bruins in an emotionally charged seven-game series in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.


Subban played an integral role. He scored four times in the series, and averaged a point per game. He managed to frustrate his opponents — just ask Shawn Thornton.


And when despicable morons attacked him through social media with racial slurs because of the color of his skin, Subban handled it with the utmost class.


This summer, with his stock still on the rise following a breakout 2013-14 campaign that also saw him named to Canada’s gold-medal winning Olympic hockey team, Subban signed an eight-year, $72 million contract.


That was after an arbitration hearing, but before the presiding judge could make a ruling. And, with Brian Gionta now a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Subban could be in the running to become the Habs’ new captain.


While the 2013 Norris Trophy winner has become a star in the NHL — the league could use a few more players like him — he still strives to be himself.


“I’m not trying to change the game of hockey, I’m trying to be who I am, but the difference is when you’re an impactful player it does change things,” Subban told NHL.com.


“It does because there is a following in the NHL. Do I bring qualities that maybe the NHL hasn’t had before? Maybe. And people might find that appealing. That’s OK. But more than anything, I respect the NHL. I respect the game, the players in the game.


“That’s why I’m able to carry myself the way I do, because I have a respect for the game that the players before me, the legends before me, the superstars before me will all appreciate.”



Flyers chairman Ed Snider is cancer free: ‘I’m totally healthy’


Philadelphia Flyers chairman Ed Snider claimed a personal victory, announcing on Saturday he was free of cancer following radiation and chemotherapy treatment, as per CSN Philadelphia.


“You never want that Big C,” the 81-year-old Snider told CSN Philadelphia. “Luckily, it’s all gone. I’m totally healthy. It’s gone.”


Snider completed treatment for cancer in May, as per another report from CSN Philly that month.


He then, of course, went on to discuss in great detail the fact the Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1975. It seems like he’s really aching for another silver chalice, hockey’s Holy Grail, soon.


“Seriously, it drives me crazy. It drives me nuts. Like we’re chopped liver,” he said, detailing Philadelphia’s close calls over the years and decades.


“You know how many times I hear they haven’t won a Cup since 1975? It’s like we are chopped liver. It’s said in a way that’s a big negative. You know what I mean? I understand we haven’t.”



Oilers’ prospect Draisaitl concerned after cramping up in prospects game


There were anxious moments for the Edmonton Oilers and their fans Friday in Penticton, B.C., when Leon Draisaitl, the club’s third overall pick in June’s draft, appeared to suffer a leg injury.


It happened in the third period of a Young Stars Tournament game between the Oilers prospects and Vancouver Canucks prospects.


Draisaitl appeared to injure his right leg on a hit involving Canucks’ 2012 first-round pick Brendan Gaunce. Draisaitl immediately began favoring the leg, was tended to on the bench by members of Edmonton’s training staff and missed a few shifts in the third period.


Following the game, a 4-3 overtime win for the Oilers’ group of rookies, Draisaitl called his ailment a cramp, according to the Oilers Twitter account.


“I don’t really know exactly what it was to be honest. Every time I hit someone, I just totally froze up. My leg … I couldn’t even bend my legs,” said Draisaitl told a couple of reporters Saturday morning.


“I’m not 100 per cent sure what it was.”


He did ultimately finish the game, although it didn’t seem to make sense as to why a high-end prospect clearly not at full capacity at the time was still playing. It’s September. This isn’t a Game 7 situation in a playoff series.


The positive: Draisaitl took the morning skate on Saturday. But he won’t play later in the evening, when the Oilers prospects take on the Calgary Flames prospects. It’s the Battle of Alberta…in British Columbia!


Draisaitl admitted, however, he is concerned over the pain he experienced Friday.


“I totally was. I still am. I felt good out there but still I could feel it. I’m still really tight in my muscles,” said Draisaitl, who signed an entry-level contract with the Oilers in August.


“It’s definitely not something I don’t have to worry about.”


Last month, a report surfaced that if Draisaitl doesn’t make the Oilers, he could be sent to Europe to play over there, rather than go back to Prince Albert and the WHL.


It sounds like the Oilers very much intend to give Draisaitl a strong look at perhaps earning a roster spot in training camp.


“I’d be shocked if he doesn’t make a strong case,” Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said last month.


“Fortunately we don’t have to make that decision right now. I, in my mind, think that he’s going to make a very strong case. I’ve seen him play. He’s going to make a strong case.”



Surgery doesn't alter NHL goal for Canucks' Virtanen


PENTICTON, BC -- Jake Virtanen was relegated to spectator Friday as his Vancouver Canucks dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Edmonton Oilers in their tournament opener at the Young Stars Classic.


As teammates departed from practice Saturday, the 18-year-old remained on the ice for an extra couple of spins around the rink.


It's the tough reality the Canucks first pick (No. 6) in the 2014 NHL Draft faces as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.


"It's frustrating," said Virtanen, who was ranked the NHL's No. 24 prospect by NHL.com for the 2014-15 season. "I think when I watched the game [Friday] night, it was pretty frustrating to watch. I want to be out there real quick. I want to be back into it. It's the time of year when the season is starting up and you want to be out there with the guys. It's tough to watch.



NHL.COM'S TOP 60 PROSPECTS



Drouin highlights Top 60 prospects


NHL.com

To determine the NHL's stars of the future, NHL.com set out to come up with the 60 best NHL prospects. Three members of the NHL.com staff, Adam Kimelman, Corey Masisak and Mike Morreale, were enlisted to accomplish that task, along with three NHL scouts. READ MORE ›



"You've got to think health is first, though. It's going to be tough, just watching the first bit of the season. For me, it's just trying to get healthy. That's the most important thing right now, and being the top player I can be when I am."


Virtanen underwent the surgery in May after playing much of the 2013-14 season with the injury -- including a trip to the World Under-18 Championship where he helped Canada to a bronze medal finish.


The surgery was shortly after the tournament and with his arm in a sling, Virtanen missed the NHL Scouting Combine. He was able to pull on the Canucks jersey onstage at the NHL Draft on June 27th, though he couldn't participate in Vancouver's development camp that followed in mid-July.


But being in the Canucks' dressing room in Penticton this week has lifted his spirits.


"I think that being around the guys here and the experience of being in the dressing room is keeping that feeling that I'm not just here for practices," said Virtanen, who scored 45 goals for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen last season. "I'm feeling like part of the guys here. They took me in. I didn't get to play with them at development camp but they took me in like a family. It's good to be in here."


It'll be good too, Virtanen admitted, to be in Vancouver.


Though it's unclear if he'll be participating in the on-ice session of the team's main camp, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound right wing still has hopes of making the Canucks.


It just won't be out of camp.


"Right now, it's going to be tough if I really want to make the team this year," Virtanen said. "If the team wants me to stay up, I'd love to do that and maybe try to make that team and if not, I'll go to Calgary and have another good year there. I'm just trying to focus on developing and being the top player I can be and improve and develop as a player."


Vancouver opens the 2014-15 season Oct. 8th against the Calgary Flames. Virtanen is hoping to be cleared for contact Oct. 15th. If the Abbotsford, B.C., native has designs of cracking the Canucks roster, he'll have to do so on the fly.


Utica Comets coach Travis Green, who is guiding Vancouver and Virtanen at the Young Stars Classic, doesn't expect any problems for the power forward prospect when it comes to giving the NHL a go.


"This day and age the way surgeries are done, you go around the NHL and there are lots of guys who have had shoulders done or surgeries here and there," said Green, who logged 970 NHL games with five different franchises during a 14-year playing career. "I don't think it'll be an issue at all once he's back and healthy and ready to go."


Once cleared to go, Green doesn't expect any hesitation out of Virtanen.


"That usually happens that last month when you're actually practicing and you're taking contact in practice and you're building up to when you're game ready," he said. "Any medical staff, whether he's in junior or he's in Vancouver, he'll be over that by the time he gets into game action."


Virtanen doesn't expect hesitation either.


He just knows he has to stay patient until his opportunity comes.


"Mid-October, that's what I'm hoping and that's pretty well when the NHL season starts," Virtanen said. "I'm hoping to stay up and just try to make my dream of becoming an NHL hockey player come true.


"That's what I'm looking forward to doing."



Oilers' Nurse bonds through sport with younger sister


For Edmonton Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse, there's no shortage of family members he can turn to for advice about the rigors of being a world-class athlete.


There's his father Richard, who played in the Canadian Football League, as well as his uncle, Donovan McNabb, who was an All-Pro quarterback in the National Football League. His mother, aunt and older sister all played college basketball. But since selected by the Oilers with the seventh pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, Nurse has turned most to younger sister Kia, who is adding her own chapter to the family's impressive sporting legacy.


"She asked me what it's like to be away for the first time. There's always those challenges of not being in familiar territory, not being able to go see your friends every single day," Darnell said. "That was probably the biggest thing I told her. No matter where you are there's always the team around you that you can rely on. You can pick up the phone and call me. I'll be there just like my parents were for me. It's always different moving away for the first time."


Darnell Nurse hopes he and his sister, Kia, will meet up again in Edmonton this season, with him on the Oilers roster and her trying to help Canada qualify for the 2016 Olympics. (Photo: Getty Images, Basketball Canada)


It's a conversation Darnell has been having more and more frequently with Kia, a basketball phenom who is in her first semester at the University of Connecticut, one of the top women's programs in the country.


Nurse is busy as well right now. He's with Oilers prospects through Monday at the 2014 Young Stars Classic rookie tournament in Penticton, British Columbia, where he's playing games against prospects from the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets.


Darnell has plenty of his own experience being away from home, especially after spending the past three seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, a team located about 500 miles from his hometown in Hamilton, Ontario. Kia started traveling with Canada's women's national basketball team last year as a 17-year-old.


That remarkable opportunity has allowed her to play basketball around the world, most recently in a series of matches in Turkey. In fact, the day after Kia joined Darnell in Newark, N.J., for the 2013 draft, she left with the national team for a series of games in China.


But hearing Darnell picked by Edmonton was a great moment for Kia, and a convenient one; Edmonton is the home base for Kia and Canada's national team. Becoming an Oiler ensured that Darnell and Kia, who is only a year younger than her brother, would get a few more opportunities to spend time together.


"The NHL has always been a really big dream for him, I've always known that," Kia said. "I was excited that he did achieve it. He got drafted pretty high, which was setting the standard high for all of us.


"He hasn't stopped ever since. He didn't just get drafted and think, 'I'm going to make the team.' He works hard every single day at it. It was amazing to see one of his dreams come true. That was pretty cool for our whole family."


Prudential Center was just the next big stop for the Nurse family, which played countless hours of competitive basketball in the driveway. It's there where Darnell and Kia first started battling in spirited 1-on-1 games, matchups so rough that they eventually were abandoned in favor of safer, toned-down games of 21. But the truly competitive matchups, the ones that occasionally ended with someone angrily storming into the house, were of the 2-on-2 variety.


More often than not Darnell and Kia would be matched against dad and older sister Tamika, who played collegiately at the University of Oregon and Bowling Green State University. Despite being younger and smaller than their opposition, the brother-sister team was shown no mercy. If they wanted to claim a win against dad and Tamika, they'd have to earn it.


"We come from an extremely competitive family. That's probably our first problem," Kia said. "My mother would be the referee who wouldn't call any fouls. My sister and my father would technically cheat all the time. They would do anything to win. I think we would win but those two [Richard and Tamika] are the same person. They will never let you win, and when you win they say, 'That's it, we're never playing them again.'"


Before growing into the 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame that would help make him one of the Oilers' prized defense prospects, Darnell had to learn about toughness and competitiveness in those family games. He still can't help but smile when he thinks about them.


"Those got heated, a few elbows to the chest," Darnell said. "It didn't got too well for us, but we tried."


Eventually brother and sister emerged as top-tier athletes in their respective age groups, which meant less time for the 2-on-2 battles at home. But Darnell and Kia still found the time to occasionally play some 1-on-1. Weeks away from the start of the NHL season Darnell still was hoping to get one last game in before Kia left for school.


With each embarking on what could be a defining year in their respective athletic development, the hope is they'll meet in Edmonton this spring. If all goes well Darnell will be there as a member of the Oilers and Kia will be competing for Canada with an eye on the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.


Until then there still will be plenty of communication back and forth. And big brother definitely is hoping to make it to some of Kia's games at UConn.


"We're always really excited to see what she's going to do," Darnell said. "That's the most proud I've ever been and the most happy I've ever been for anyone, to see her be a part of that [national] team. It's really cool that I can call her my sister. Most people think we're twins. We're really tight. We talk to each other probably daily, even when we're in different countries."


The feeling is mutual.


"He's a great hockey player but he's a better person and an amazing brother," Kia said. "He's just all-around awesome."


---



Friday, September 12, 2014

NHL waiting on World Cup announcement, Olympics decision


It’s been suspected for a while now that the World Cup will return in September 2016 and be played primarily in Toronto, but the NHL has shied away from making that official.


Part of the reason for the delay is that the NHL and players’ union want to be in a position where they can also announce that World Cup will be played in regular intervals, according to ESPN. The tournament previously ran in 1996 and 2004.


The current belief is that eight countries will participate in the tournament. Canada, the United States, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic are expected to be six of them, but the other two nations remain a mystery and it’s possible that there will be a qualification process to fill the last two spots.


If the timing of the World Cup announcement works out, then the NHL might also confirm Premiere Games’ return as the league has interest in playing regular season contests in Europe next season. The NHL hasn’t held the Premiere Games since 2011.


The other big question when it comes to international hockey is whether or not NHL players will be able to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Based on ESPN’s sources, it sounds like the NHL’s plans with regards to the Olympics and World Cup might not be linked. That means that the NHL can announce its World Cup plans before coming to a decision on the Winter Games.



Report: Tootoo will join Devils’ camp on tryout basis


Jordin Tootoo’s path to redemption will take him through New Jersey, according to Sportsnet’s Josh Rimer. He’s reportedly agreed to a professional tryout offer with the Devils.


The 31-year-old forward signed a three-year, $5.7 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 2012, but he spent the bulk of the 2013-14 campaign in the minors despite Detroit’s injury woes and was bought out in June.


He’s a physical forward that recorded six goals and 30 points in 77 games in his height with the Nashville Predators in 2011-12. He’ll be competing for a third or fourth line spot in New Jersey, although he has his work cut out for him given that the Devils already have 14 forwards signed to one-way contracts as well as young forwards Stefan Matteau and Reid Boucher competing for a spot.


Fellow free agents Scott Gomez and Ryan Carter will also be participating in the Devils’ training camp, so there are no shortage of candidates vying for those final roster spots.



Trotz wasn’t sure if he’d be ‘good fit’ for Green, is excited now


A lot has been made about how new head coach Barry Trotz will handle Alex Ovechkin and Washington’s offense, but what about defenseman Mike Green? Green surpassed the 70-point mark in back-to-back seasons and was a Norris Trophy nominee twice, but he was slowed down by injuries and hasn’t been the same since.


Still just 28 years old, Green has become “an enigma,” as former bench boss Adam Oates put it. Not only have the questions about his defensive play that have followed him thorough his career persisted, but his offensive production has declined dramatically.


Getting more out of Green in his contract season could go a long way towards pushing Washington back into the playoffs, but at first Trotz wasn’t sure if he was a “good fit” for that job. More specifically, Trotz was concerned that his direct approach wouldn’t be the best for Green. His opinion has changed after talking to the blueliner.


“I’m really excited about the possibilities of what (Green’s) capable of doing,” Trotz told CSN Washington. “Once you find out about people … this summer was really enlightening for me. Talking with him on the phone and meeting with him here (at Kettler) sort of reconfirmed what my instincts were telling me about Mike, that he has the same goals that I do.”


For his part, Green wants to start producing like he used to while also being responsible without the puck. He might end up playing alongside defensive defenseman Brooks Orpik.


Of course, whether or not Trotz can get the most out of Green is only part of the equation. Green has only played in 186 of a possible 294 games over the last four seasons due to a variety of injuries. Trotz obviously can’t help him turn his career around unless he stays out of the team’s sickbay.



Mirco Mueller has added roughly 30 pounds in a year


If nothing else, Mirco Mueller looks like an NHL player at this point. The 6-foot-3 defenseman was listed at 175 pounds when he reported for training camp in 2013, but he’s up to 205 now, per CSN Bay Area.


That’s including 10-to-12 pounds added since the end of the 2013-14 campaign, but the question is if that extra muscle will be enough to push him over the edge in the battle for a roster spot. The 19-year-old forward hasn’t made his NHL debut yet and only has nine games worth of AHL experience.


“You can obviously improve everywhere, but I think if there’s one part, it’s the toughness around the net and in the corners,” Mueller said. “I think I kind of started to improve that with getting stronger. That helps a lot. Kind of being meaner around the slot, and just trying to play harder.”


Further motivating him is the fact that there is an opening for him if he proves worthy of it as the Sharks are going into training camp with just six blueliners signed to one-way contracts.


Sharks GM Doug Wilson spoke of San Jose turning into a “tomorrow team” after its latest disappointing playoff run, but the roster didn’t undergo a major turnover. Instead, the Sharks will be looking for the young players that were already within their organization to play larger roles and the Sharks need Mueller, who was taken in the first round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to be a significant part of that.



Irving picks KHL over Lightning camp invite


Leland Irving won’t be attending the Tampa Bay Lightning’s training camp after all. Although he was invited, Irving has instead opted to sign a one-year contract with the KHL’s Salavat Yulaev Ufa, per the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson.


Irving was selected by the Calgary Flames with the 26th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, but the 26-year-old goaltender has only played in 13 NHL games. However, he’s coming off of a strong season in Finland where he posted a 2.14 GAA and .922 save percentage in 55 games with Jokerit.


Although the Lightning were obviously interested in Irving, his decision to pass on their camp isn’t a serious blow to the organization. The Lightning’s NHL tandem is already set with Vezina nominee Ben Bishop being joined by 39-year-old goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Kristers Gudlevskis, who caught the hockey world’s attention with his performance for Latvia in the 2014 Winter Olympics, is projected to start the campaign in the AHL.


On top of all that, the Lightning also have a top-tier goaltending prospect in Andrei Vasilevskiy.



Stastny ready for new challenges with Blues


Paul Stastny is excited to begin the second chapter of his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues this season.


The 28-year old center, who left the Colorado Avalanche this summer to sign a four-year, $28 million contract with the Blues, participated in his first informal skate Friday and said afterwards he was a little apprehensive when arrived in St. Louis this week.



Paul Stastny



Center - STL


GOALS: 25 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 60

SOG: 150 | +/-: 9



"I think there's a little nervousness … there always is," Stastny told the Blues' website. "I think that comes with the territory, whether it's a new locker room, whether it's the start of the season. I think everyone does. If you don't get nervous, I think you lose your excitement and the love of the game. But at the same time, I'm a quiet guy so I'll sit around and fly under the radar and kind of get used to what guys have that dry sense of humor and what guys don't, what guys you can push and what guys you can't. I think once the season starts, I think you each kind of lead by example on the ice and from there everything kind of falls [into place] in the locker room and away from the rink."

A six-time 20-goal scorer, Stastny said he is looking forward to using training camp to build chemistry with his teammates on and off the ice. The Blues are slated to open camp Friday, Sept. 19; their regular season gets underway on Oct. 9 against the New York Rangers at Scottrade Center.


"I think there are a lot of good players, so you'll be able to see right away," Stastny said of working with potential linemates. "I'm a give-and-go kind of player so I'll be able to tell right away who's a give-and-go kind of player, who is, who isn't, who reads the game like I do. Whether it takes a couple of ice sessions or preseason games or it takes a couple of games in the [regular] season, it doesn't happen overnight but you slowly start building it from Day One."


Stastny, who spent the first eight seasons with the Avalanche, said he left Colorado on Wednesday. There will obviously be an adjustment for his family, but Stastny said it isn't difficult once he puts on his skates.


"For me, it's easy," Stastny said. "I told my wife once I get on the ice, I'm home again and I'm comfortable. That's what I do for a living, that's the thing I love to do most, so every time I'm out there I'm myself and for me that's easy."



Canadiens' Bozon ready to make his mark after illness


BROSSARD, Quebec -- More than five months after being afflicted with a rare form of meningitis and nearly losing his life, Tim Bozon arrived at the Montreal Canadiens' training facility as ready as he's ever been to play hockey.


Speaking to the Montreal media for the first time since his illness as the Canadiens kicked off their rookie camp Friday, the 20-year-old forward prospect reassured everyone he is in perfect health.


"If I wasn't at 100 percent then I wouldn't be here today," said Bozon, a third-round pick (No. 64) by the Canadiens in the 2012 NHL Draft. "There was no pressure from the Canadiens, but I know they won't be doing me any favors, either. That's normal; this is a sports environment and it's competitive. It's up to me to carve out a niche. As of [Saturday], I want to be a normal player, act like nothing ever happened and turn the page."


Saturday is the start of the on-ice portion of the camp after the prospects underwent physical testing Friday. In a way it will represent the final step in Bozon's rehabilitation, a day he's been impatiently awaiting for months.


"When I left the hospital, this is what I was thinking about. It was my goal to be here," he said. "I won that battle and I'm very proud of that. … Many people helped me a lot over the past five months to help me realize this dream, and they're the people I'm thinking about now that I'm here."


One day after helping the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League to a road victory against the Saskatoon Blades on Feb. 28, Bozon was taken to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, where he was placed into a medically induced coma. He was in critical condition after being diagnosed with Neisseria meningitidis. He was taken out of the coma March 19 and was released from hospital nine days later.


Bozon admitted he is not the same person he was before that day in Saskatoon.


"It changed my life, for sure," he said. "I'm a different person now. When you're placed in a life-or-death situation at 20, you start to see life differently. I'm more mature now … and I look at it as something that made me stronger."


Bozon has been hard at work since his release from the hospital. Despite numerous temptations near his home in the south of France, Bozon did everything he could to make it to Montreal in time for rookie camp.


"It was long," he said. "They were five intense months, every day, twice a day. As I often say, I live in the south of France near the beach, but in five months I didn't go once."


Most hockey players use their summer workouts to improve their game. Bozon spent his summer trying to reach the same level of conditioning he had before the illness. It was no small task.


"I keep saying I lost a summer in the sense that I wasn't able to improve physically, I didn't get bigger than I was before," he said. "But that's a small detail. I'm happy with my training. I even beat my record from last year in the beep test."


Bozon comes from a hockey family. His father, Philippe, became the first player born and trained in France to reach the NHL when he played for the St. Louis Blues in 1991; he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame for his play with the French national team. His grandfather Alain also played for France internationally.


Tim Bozon was confident in his chances to play in the NHL, as his father had. But the enormous obstacle placed in his path put things in perspective. It also might have given him the extra little motivation he needed to push harder to reach his dream.


"I've always said that everything in life happens for a reason, and maybe this will make me realize how hard you have to work to reach the NHL," he said.


Bozon is fully aware that he is lucky to be alive. That is why over the coming days, and hopefully for the rest of his career, he is going to try to take full advantage of every opportunity he is given.


"What's happening to me here is a bonus," he said. "I'm not paying attention to numbers; I just want to have fun and try to reach my dream. I know that five months ago I was in a hospital bed half dead, and I'll never forget that. It's motivation for me, and now, I'm going to have some fun."



Subban's star shines brightly as he enters his prime


As if Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban wasn't already going to light up the red carpet at the 2014 NHL Awards with his gregarious and convivial personality, he turned it up a notch when he arrived in a bright orange linen suit with a glitzy gold watch on his left wrist and his lavish new Olympic championship ring on his right hand.


Subban didn't need a big slap shot or a wild goal celebration to grab the attention of the crowd outside the Encore Theater in Wynn Las Vegas on June 24. He was as flashy as ever.


But no one should have been surprised at Subban's suit and bling, or that he was there in a dual capacity -- as a finalist for the EA Sports NHL 15 cover vote and as a roving reporter for NHL Network to interview the stars on the red carpet and backstage.


Subban embraced his evening in front of the camera the same way he embraces everything in his life, on and off the ice, on and off camera -- he jumped into the spotlight, felt it warm him up and let his big, bold personality burst through.


According to Subban and some people who know him best, none of it was an act. None of it ever is.


"This is who I am," Subban said.


Subban is a rare commodity in the NHL, arguably one-of-a-kind. He's a crossover superstar, a player who is as comfortable on the ice as he is in orange suits, with a microphone in his hand, interviewing his peers and Hollywood stars, mingling in the fashion world, snapping photos with Magic Johnson and going out to dinner with Novak Djokovic.


While most of the stars wore black, blue or gray on the red carpet, Subban wore orange. The average ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video from NHL players involved a small bucket and a smartphone; Subban's featured a dump truck full of ice and a live television shoot.

Nothing about him is understated.


"Our League has never seen anything like him," said NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, who is one of Subban's closest confidants. "We have a fully black superstar with Caribbean parents, and he's one of the best players in our League, can play in any situation, against any player.


"Not only that, but I saw the way Djokovic was with him. Milos Raonic, same thing. Magic Johnson, same thing. We're talking stars in different sports, in entertainment, Hollywood, and he always handles himself well, reflects the League well, represents the Montreal Canadiens heritage well. He does it with class and with flair."


Weekes compared Subban's crossover appeal to that of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.


"He may be a little more outgoing and a little more high-energy than [Lundqvist], but just know you're getting a lot of the same character," Weekes said.


Subban's star is only getting brighter as he enters the prime of his career.


He's 25 years old and has a Norris Trophy on his resume and an Olympic gold medal he can wear around his neck. This season he's starting an eight-year, $72 million contract that binds him to a city he has adopted as his second home, a team he loves to play for and a tradition he admires and respects.


Subban basically has the world at his fingertips and an audience for everything he does.


"I'm not trying to change the game of hockey, I'm trying to be who I am, but the difference is when you're an impactful player it does change things," Subban said. "It does because there is a following in the NHL. Do I bring qualities that maybe the NHL hasn't had before? Maybe. And people might find that appealing. That's OK. But more than anything, I respect the NHL. I respect the game, the players in the game. That's why I'm able to carry myself the way I do, because I have a respect for the game that the players before me, the legends before me, the superstars before me will all appreciate."


Subban doesn't need to be told that his way isn't the traditional way and how that can be a turn-off to some.


He's not deaf to Don Cherry getting on his case for his goal celebrations or former Montreal forward Alexei Kovalev saying, as he did in an interview with RDS, that Subban isn't worth the money he's going to make because he's capable of scoring five goals and allowing five goals.


Subban is image-conscious enough to be up-to-date on what people think about him and what they're saying about him. Like anyone else he doesn't like it when people say negative things about him, but he chooses not to debate his detractors because he's not going to change his ways.


Like his personality, Subban's confidence is big -- big enough, in fact, that he feels he can always, as he said, "just skate past the noise."


"To be honest, if I cared about every little thing that somebody said about me I'd be spending a lot of time talking about a lot of other people, and I don't have that time," Subban said.


"If people choose to follow me, they're going to choose to follow me because they believe in who I am and what I do and how I carry myself," he added. "That's all I want. I'm not trying to attract people who don't believe in who I am. I'm not trying to fool people. What you see is what you get. For me, I'm happy to embrace followers. I'm happy for people to follow me. I want to win. I want to be the best hockey player I can be. The one thing that I'll promise people is what you see is what you get. I'm not hiding anything from anybody. I'm not trying to be somebody I'm not."


He never has, according to Weekes.


"This guy came to my hockey school as an eight-year-old," Weekes said. "I could see him through the full visor on the Cooper helmet with the same grin, the same eyes, the same hyper energy. As you see him now is as he was then. He's as authentic in every way."


Montreal forward Max Pacioretty said there is just one difference in the Subban he knows now and the one he met in 2007, when they were drafted together (Pacioretty at No. 22, Subban at No. 42).


"He's the same person, but he's really grown up a lot," Pacioretty said. "He's a lot more mature and he picks his spots now much better."


George Burnett concurs with Weekes and Pacioretty. As Subban's coach when he played for the Belleville Bulls in the Ontario Hockey League and someone who remains close with the Subban family, Burnett said he has seen the defenseman mature from a cocky 16-year-old to a supremely confident star at 25.


Burnett, who is still the coach and general manager in Belleville, wishes everyone else can see the Subban he sees, even though he knows it's impossible because there aren't many people who know Subban and the Subban family the way he does.


Since Subban left Belleville, Burnett has gone on to coach his brothers, Malcolm and Jordan.


"He's very unique and he wants to be the guy, wants to be in the tough situations and wants the pressure placed on his shoulders," Burnett said. "He continues to show that. He has always been a very confident young man and sometimes that rubs people the wrong way, but I think in the bigger picture he's clearly put himself in a situation where his confidence makes the people around him probably better. There are not too many guys like him that have come through our program or any program I would think."



P.K. Subban



Defense - MTL


GOALS: 10 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 53

SOG: 204 | +/-: -4



Burnett said people who criticize Subban misunderstand him.


"When he came here, did he rub people the wrong way?" Burnett said. "Well, it wasn't his fault that I played him on the power play as a 16-year-old. He's just doing it because that's what has been asked of him and he earned the opportunity or took advantage of the opportunity and did a great job, so why not?


"I think once everybody [in Belleville] had a chance to respect him for how hard he worked off the ice, to see him in the gym and how committed he is, he gained the respect of the older players at this level. I'm sure that's somewhat like his transition into the National Hockey League. Those that get a chance to know him recognize how much he cares and that there are a lot of special things about him. If you have an opportunity to do that, you realize there's more than just the flash you see on the TV.


"Sometimes he's maybe outside the standard clichés, the pro athlete you would see in many cases whether it is through interviews or his work on the ice, but I give him a lot of credit for sticking with his beliefs."


Pacioretty indicated the uniqueness of Subban is appreciated in the Canadiens dressing room, where the pressure can rise and the media scrutiny can be large. Subban usually stands in front of it all, deflecting some of it from his teammates in the process.


"I love having a guy like that on my team, especially on a team in a market where the face of the franchise is huge," Pacioretty said. "It's what brings people to our sport and to our games, but at the same time it's good for our team chemistry. You don't want to have 25 robots on your team. Getting jealous of P.K. for getting attention? It's not like that at all. P.K. is his personality and the other extreme would be [Andrei] Markov and his personality. We're glad we have both and we are glad we have people in the middle, because that helps us all gel together as one."


Subban would love the chance to marry his personality with the prestige of being the Canadiens' next captain. There is an opening now because Brian Gionta signed with the Buffalo Sabres this summer.


Getting the "C" would put Subban on the same list as legends Toe Blake, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Yvon Cournoyer, Bob Gainey and more. That means something to Subban.


"Being just a great player isn't good enough," Subban said. "Being a great teammate and being a great leader; now you're talking about an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup. I pride myself on being a good teammate first and foremost, but becoming a great leader, now your value to your team is so much higher than just being a great player."


Regardless if he's given a letter to wear on his sweater this season, Subban will still be more than just a face in the crowd or someone who speaks in clichés and keeps his emotion in check on the ice.


He will wildly jump into teammates' arms and tug on his jersey during goal celebrations, even if the unwritten code in hockey says players shouldn't do that. He will talk trash on the ice, dress well and speak loudly off it. He will be bold and big, flamboyant and expressive.


What he won't be is boring. What he won't do is change.


"I'm not trying to be someone I'm not," Subban said. "I would never ask a player to talk the way I talk or walk the way I walk or play the way I play, because that's the way I am. That might not be who you are. I believe people should be who they are. If people don't believe this is me, well that's your prerogative, but you're going to see over time that I'm not changing. I am who I am. I can't change who I am."


---



Tickets for home games on sale Sept. 19 … or earlier for preferred customers




rangers report logo



From the NYR:


INDIVIDUAL TICKETS FOR RANGERS 2014-15 REGULAR SEASON GAMES TO GO ON-SALE


Available on Friday, Sept. 19 at 12 p.m. at NYRangers.com


NEW YORK, September 12, 2014 – The New York Rangers announced today that individual tickets for the team’s 2014-15 regular season home games at Madison Square Garden will go on-sale to the public on Friday, Sept. 19 beginning at 12 p.m. Limited tickets will be available on Ticketmaster via NYRangers.com, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone, 866-858-0008 and Ticketmaster outlets.rangers report logo


Chase cardholders will have access to a special pre-sale beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 2 p.m. There will also be a pre-sale for Blueshirt fans that follow the Rangers on Twitter (@NYRangers), like the team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nyrangers), or are members of members of the Rangers Insider community beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 12 p.m. Fans will be limited to a maximum of four (4) tickets per game.


The Rangers will play their home opener at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Oct. 12 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.






Rick Carpiniello, 26, was born and raised in Harrison and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002.




LoHud.com Copyright 2014 | Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, updated September 2010.



Red Wings' Mantha could be exception to team rule


Following one of the most prolific careers in recent Quebec Major Junior Hockey League history, Detroit Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha, 19, could be ready to make the jump straight to the NHL.


To do that with any NHL team would be impressive. To do it with Detroit would be unheard of.


Despite an organizational philosophy that considers time in the American Hockey League a prerequisite to wearing the winged wheel, Detroit management thinks Mantha, who turns 20 on Sept. 16, could be an exception to their rule.


He'll get a chance to start impressing his future bosses this week when he joins other Red Wings prospects at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament, which runs Sept. 12-16.


"Obviously I want to play for Detroit next year. I'm going to go to [training] camp and try to make the team. If I'm cut, I'll go to [AHL] Grand Rapids and show that I can dominate that league and get called up as fast as I can," Mantha said. "To go somewhere you want to go you need to see yourself there. I'm going to go to camp and try to make my place."



NHL.COM'S TOP 60 PROSPECTS



Drouin highlights Top 60 prospects


NHL.com

To determine the NHL's stars of the future, NHL.com set out to come up with the 60 best NHL prospects. Three members of the NHL.com staff, Adam Kimelman, Corey Masisak and Mike Morreale, were enlisted to accomplish that task, along with three NHL scouts. READ MORE ›



The Red Wings' first-round pick (No. 20) in the 2013 NHL Draft, he led the QMJHL with 50 goals in his draft year; in fact the Val-d'Or Foreurs forward was the only draft-eligible player in Canadian junior hockey to score 50 in 2012-13. He was even better last season; in 57 games he led the league in goals (57) and points (120) and won the Michel Briere Trophy as league MVP. He also led Canada with five goals and 11 points at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.


"Anthony was a guy a lot of us were watching. There are things he does that are just special," said Kris Draper, Detroit's special assistant to the general manager. "His size, his knack for scoring, his puck protection, the way he can skate. That's why he had such a dominant junior year last year."


That dominant season continued through the playoffs, where Mantha had 24 goals and 38 points in 24 games to help Val-d'Or win the league title. He saved one of his finest performances for Game 7 of the final against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.


After the Drakkar scored three times in the third period to erase a 3-0 Val-d'Or lead, Mantha scored the championship goal with 52 seconds left in regulation. Mantha's third point of the night gave him 24 playoff goals, the highest QMJHL playoff total in five years.


The Red Wings were hoping to get a look at the 6-foot-4, 217-pound forward in the AHL last season but the QMJHL title meant a spot in the Memorial Cup, where, Mantha had one goal and three assists in four games.


"I can't be disappointed about my season," Mantha said. "Not having the experience in Grand Rapids is a little bit negative. But at the same time I got some experience in junior."


Mantha's apprenticeship in Grand Rapids may not be coming anytime soon.


"Ken [Holland, Red Wings GM] will be the first to say that goes against his managing philosophy," Draper said. "Because of what he's done in major junior he's kind of accelerated [his path] and given himself an opportunity to legitimately be a Detroit Red Wing and an opportunity to crack our top six."


Players occasionally do go directly from junior hockey to a top-six forward spot on an NHL roster. They just don't do it on the Red Wings. In fact, the last Red Wings player to go directly from junior hockey to the NHL lineup was defenseman Jiri Fisher in 1999.


That franchise philosophy paid dividends last season when the Red Wings were decimated by injuries. After being groomed in Grand Rapids by coach Jeff Blashill, key members of the AHL team arrived in Detroit and helped the Red Wings make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 23rd straight season.


Having won the Calder Cup together in 2013, players like Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan established themselves as NHL players. Mantha could do the same without playing a single AHL game.


"He'll get an opportunity, whether it's playing on the wing with [Pavel Datsyuk] or [Henrik Zetterberg]. But he's going to get an opportunity to play with one of those guys. Then it's really up to him," Draper said. "We all feel Anthony is a special player and somebody who has earned an opportunity to make the big club."


It won't be easy for Mantha after so many young players established themselves as potential NHL players last season.


"Tatar, Jurco, Sheahan, Nyquist, they all came up last year and they made their names up there. If I want to do the same thing I have to beat one of those guys out this year," Mantha said. "The team had ups and downs this year but I think they had a lot of potential on that team. I can't wait to maybe help them out."


It would be quite the accomplishment for someone who as a kid would stroll through the hallways at Bell Centre in Montreal with his grandfather, Andre Pronovost, who played in the NHL for parts of 10 seasons and won the Stanley Cup four times with the Montreal Canadiens.


"We feel that we have something special in Anthony Mantha," Draper said. "We want him to make the team. We want him to come out and light it up in training camp and preseason games. We open up against Boston and can put a guy out there who is 6-foot-4 on our first line. We would love that. The opportunity is going to be there and it's up to him to embrace it."


---



Rangers prospect Halverson at home in Traverse City


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Not only will goalie Brandon Halverson have a chance to wear a New York Rangers jersey and represent the organization that drafted him when the 16th annual Traverse City Prospect tournament is held this week, he'll do so in front of a very large fan base.


Halverson, who was born in Traverse City in 1996, is a mere 10-minute drive from Center ICE Arena where the eight-team event is held each year.


"He's always been able to watch this tournament, and now here he is, participating in it," said Paul Halverson, Brandon's father. "I'm almost in a dream state right now because I'm saying to myself, 'Is this really happening?'"


As a youngster, Brandon played at Center ICE Arena for six years until he moved away from home as a 13-year-old in order to further his career at the position. He acknowledged being a big fan of the Traverse City Prospect tournament each year.


"Playing for the Rangers in my hometown is going to be such a surreal feeling," Halverson said. "Growing up watching this tournament, I always thought it was the coolest thing and dreamed about having the opportunity to play in it."


Playing alongside and against players with aspirations of one day starring in the NHL, Halverson is hoping to make a good impression in his first big tournament as a representative of the Rangers.


"I definitely think this tournament is going to be huge for me in terms of showing the Rangers what I can do," Halverson said. "I feel that playing in my hometown will be a good test of my focus and mental toughness during a game. This will be my first time playing a game in a Rangers jersey and I'm really excited."


Paul Halverson recalled the days when he took Brandon to nearby Thirlby Field, the original home of the local football team, the Traverse City Trojans.


"There was a skating rink there and I took him when he was 7, put skates on him and gave him a baseball glove and helmet," Paul said. "We used to serve as a host family for a hockey team of 16- and 17-year-old kids from Detroit and Canada that played in a tournament at Center ICE, and Brandon used to ask questions about the goalie equipment all the time."


Some feel Halverson, selected in the second round (No. 59) of the 2014 NHL Draft, could turn out to be one of the finer puck-handling goalies at his position since Martin Brodeur.


"Playing the puck is something that I know separates me from other goalies, and that motivates me to work hard at it," Halverson said. "Growing up, I watched Marty Turco play the puck and I wanted to be a great puck handler. It's something that I work on and off the ice."


Not surprisingly, Halverson, who stands 6-foot-4, 179 pounds, is usually playing forward in the summer when he plays pick-up hockey with friends, allowing him to work on his hands and vision.


"Those skills carry over when I'm in net and sometimes I want to get out of my net, so I like to come out and pretend I'm a forward and quarterback some plays to help my defense," he said.


Dad could sense Brandon's desire to play the puck more often than most goalies at a young age.


"He was the only goalie during his Pee Wee years [11 and 12 years old], so he'd always look to play the puck and work on those skills," Paul said. "I always told him not to be afraid and learn from mistakes."


He has yet to score a goal while serving as a goalie in his career, something he'd like to change.


"I haven't scored a goal, but it's a goal of mine to accomplish one day," he said.


Entering the 2014 draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Rangers director of player personnel Gordie Clark and his staff were determined to select a future starting goalie.


"With the speed of the game and the forechecking involved, we believe we need a goalie who can, number one, stop the puck and, two, can handle the puck; that's the future of the game," Clark said. "Brandon is like a third defenseman and his skating is outstanding."


Despite receiving limited action as a rookie for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League in 2013-14, Halverson did go 4-0-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in his five games in March. He finished the season 12-6-1 with a 2.96 GAA and .904 save percentage.


Halverson was also one of four goaltenders invited to USA Hockey's summer evaluation camp in August in Lake Placid, N.Y. The camp is an audition for possible members of the United States National Junior team at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto.


Halverson allowed five goals on 51 shots in parts of four games in Lake Placid. His best performance came against Finland, when he stopped 16 of 17 shots in a 9-1 win.


NHL Network analyst Jamie McLennan, a former NHL goalie himself, liked what he saw in Halverson.


"When play was coming down to his end, even though he wasn't facing shots, he was set in the net," McLennan said. "You could see him set his position; he was very locked in and focused. That's tough to do when you're blowing out a team. It's 5-0 and you're not facing high-quality chances, and you come down and there's a broken play and he makes a save."


---



Thursday, September 11, 2014

NHL Rule Changes: Like or Dislike? Be Heard. Vote

This afternoon, shortly after 3pm, the NHL put out the following press release regarding a wide variety of rule changes....what are your thoughts on them. please vote on each rule change if you wish...

NHL ANNOUNCES RULES CHANGES FOR 2014-15 SEASON


NEW YORK (September 11, 2014) -- The National Hockey League announced

today a series of rules changes for the 2014-15 season, following approval

earlier in the summer by the League's Board of Governors and the National

Hockey League Players' Association:


Rule 1.8 – Rink - Goalkeeper’s Restricted Area


The trapezoid will be expanded by two feet from the goal post on both sides

of the net.


Rule 23 – Game Misconduct Penalties


A new Game Misconduct category will be created. Clipping, charging,

elbowing, interference, kneeing, head-butting and butt-ending move from the

general category into the same category as boarding and checking from

behind (“Physical Fouls”), whereby a player who incurs two such game

misconducts in this category would now be automatically suspended for one

game.


Rule 24 – Penalty Shot


The 'Spin-O-Rama' move, as described in Section 24.2 of the 2013-14 NHL

Rule Book, will no longer be permitted either in Penalty Shot situations or

in the Shootout.


Rule 38 – Video Goal Judge


Video review will be expanded in the following areas:


* Rule 38.4 (viii) has been modified to allow broader discretion to Hockey

Operations to assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all

potential goals (e.g., to ensure they are “good hockey goals”). The

revised Rule will allow Hockey Operations to correct a broader array of

situations where video review clearly establishes that a “goal” or “no

goal” call on the ice has been made in error. The new expanded rule will

also allow Hockey Operations to provide guidance to referees on goal and

potential goal plays where the referee has blown his whistle (or intended

to blow his whistle) after having lost sight of the puck.


* In reviewing “Kicked in Goals,” Hockey Operations will require more

demonstrable video evidence of a “distinct kicking motion” in order to

overrule a “goal” call on the ice, or to uphold a “no goal” call on the

ice.


Rule 57 – Tripping


The rule relating to “Tripping” will be revised to specifically provide

that a two minute minor penalty will be assessed when a defending player

“dives” and trips an attacking player with his body/arm/shoulder,

regardless of whether the defending player is able to make initial contact

with the puck.


But, in situations where a penalty shot might otherwise be appropriate, if

the defending player “dives” and touches the puck first (before the trip),

no penalty shot will be awarded. (In such cases, the resulting penalty will

be limited to a two-minute minor penalty for tripping.)


Rule 64 – Diving / Embellishment


The supplementary discipline penalties associated with Rule 64.3

(Diving/Embellishment) will be revised to bring attention to and more

seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in

an attempt to draw penalties. Fines will be assessed to players and head

coaches on a graduated scale outlined below.


Incident # Player Fine(s) Head Coach Fine(s)

1 Warning N/A

2 $2,000 N/A

3 $3,000 N/A

4 $4,000 $2,000

5 $5,000 $3,000

6 $5,000 $4,000

7 $5,000 $5,000

8 $5,000 $5,000


Rule 76 – Face-offs


To curb delay tactics on face-offs after icing infractions, in situations

where the defending team is guilty of a face-off violation, following an

icing, the defending player who is initially lined up for the face-off will

be given a warning, but will be required to remain in the circle to take

the face-off. A second face-off violation by the defending team in such

situation will result in a two minute minor bench penalty.


Rule 84 – Overtime


* Teams will switch ends prior to the start of overtime in the regular

season.

* The entire ice surface will undergo a "dry scrape" prior to the start of

overtime in the regular season.

* The procedure requiring the head coach to submit a list of the first

three shooters in the shoot-out has been eliminated.


Rule 85 – Puck Out of Bounds


There have been further rule changes made relating to face-off location to

avoid penalizing teams for plays intended to create bona fide scoring

opportunities. Specifically, the following are "categories of plays” where

face-offs will remain in the attacking zone despite the fact that the

attacking team was technically responsible for the stoppage in play: Shots

at the net by a player on the attacking team where: (i) the shot breaks

the glass; (ii) the shot goes off the side of the net and deflects out of

play; (iii) the shot goes off the dasher boards or glass and deflects out

of play; (iv) the shot is tipped or deflected out of play by a teammate;

and (v) the shot becomes wedged in or on the exterior of the goal net.




* * *

In addition, the following rule change will be enacted for the 2014

preseason and may be continued for the 2014/15 regular season if approved

by the League and the NHLPA.


Rule 1.9 – Rink – Face-off Spots and Circles – Ice Markings/Hash Marks


The hash marks at the end zone circles will be moved from three feet apart

to five feet, seven inches apart (international markings).



Nino Niederreiter inks 3-year deal with Wild after KHL flirtation



May 13, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save against Minnesota Wild right Wing Nino Niederreiter (22) in the third period of game six of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. (Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)