• Taylor Hall says the honest thing, not the ‘right’ thing, about trade to Devils

    Matt Larkin
    Taylor Hall. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Taylor Hall belonged to an Edmonton Oilers core often derided among hockey pundits for its lack of on-ice maturity. The group, which included first overall picks Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, dazzled with offensive skill but was criticized for a lack of defensive awareness, particularly Hall and Yakupov. They were paid like star players and honored as celebrities in Edmonton despite never making the playoffs.

    But a conversation with Hall after his trade to the New Jersey Devils, however, bursts that bubble of supposed entitlement. He addressed a group of reporters in a scrum at BioSteel’s 2016 Pro Hockey Camp Tuesday in Toronto, and the one word he evoked: maturity. He spoke with a world-weariness, choosing frank answers to questions instead of cliches.

    Was the stunning 1-for-1 trade sending left winger Hall to the Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson “just part of the game”? Not for Hall. He took it personally. It did not roll off his back by any means. He made that clear when one reporter asked him if the trade felt like breaking up with a lover.

    “Yeah, in the sense that, in a breakup, you just try to forget about it as quick as you can, right?” Hall said. “And that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s not easy.”

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  • Alex Pietrangelo is up for the challenge of captaining the Blues

    Jared Clinton
    Alex Pietrangelo (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Alex Pietrangelo’s growth has been steady over his career with the St. Louis Blues as he’s gone from first-round draft pick to all-star calibre defenseman in six short seasons. And as of Thursday, Pietrangelo’s growth has officially taken the next — and arguably biggest — step as he was appointed the 21st captain in Blues history.

    “I’m up for this challenge, and I think I’ve surrounded myself with a group of guys in this locker room that can support me, no matter what happens,” Pietrangelo said in a release. “Personally I want to keep growing as a player and lead by example on the ice. All I’ve known is the St. Louis Blues and the city of St. Louis. To be in this position to represent not only the team but the organization as a whole, it means a lot to me.”

    Pietrangelo was the obvious frontrunner for the captaincy, but he wasn’t the only possibility. Teammates Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and even relative-newcomer Paul Stastny all had somewhat legitimate claims to the ‘C’ that was vacated when David Backes left town for the Boston Bruins. However, each of Steen, Tarasenko and Stastny, as well as defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, will take on alternate captaincies this coming season with the top job going to Pietrangelo. Read more

  • Canada names Sidney Crosby World Cup captain; happy with J-Bo

    Sidney Crosby (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

    It was the most obvious choice, but there was also a pretty good reason for it. Team Canada named Sidney Crosby captain of the upcoming World Cup of Hockey squad, with Jonathan Toews and Shea Weber earning ‘A’s on their sweaters as alternate captains. So what went into the decision?

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  • Report: Las Vegas’ AHL affiliate to be decided by late-December

    Jared Clinton
    Bill Foley (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    The Las Vegas franchise has been steadily introducing members of its front office, continues to push towards a name, logo and jersey design and is no doubt keeping its eye on players as they look to build for the 2017-18 campaign.

    But one other important piece of business is in line to be taken care of by the time the calendar flips over to 2018, says senior vice president Murray Craven: the AHL affiliation for the NHL club.

    According to SinBin’s Ken Boehlke, Craven said the expectation is the team will know where it will be placing it’s AHL affiliate — a team it appears Bill Foley is planning to own in addition to the NHL club — by December 2016.

    “We’ll know by Christmas where we are going to be,” Craven told Boehlke. “It’s a process, it’s a little bit tricky. The AHL is such a good league now, probably the second best league in the world. It’s such a big part of what teams are now.” Read more

  • Avalanche name Jared Bednar coach after Calder Cup-winning AHL campaign

    Jared Clinton
    Jared Bednar (Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Avalanche are hoping an AHL and ECHL title can cross over to NHL success as they’ve hired now-former Cleveland Monsters coach Jared Bednar to take over as bench boss in Colorado.

    Bednar, 44, is coming off of a tremendously successful season in the AHL in which he coached the Monsters to a Calder Cup in just his second year behind the bench. During the post-season run with the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, Bednar’s Monsters club lost just two games, with both defeats coming at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins in the second round. Cleveland, then known as Lake Erie, swept both the conference and Calder Cup finals.

    “After profiling the type of coach I wanted for our team and going through an interview process with several good candidates, I believe that Jared Bednar is the best person to lead this team behind the bench,” said Avalanche GM Joe Sakic. “Jared’s track record of success as a head coach in the American Hockey League speaks for itself and he is considered to be one of the top up-and-coming coaches in our business.” Read more

  • Tomas Jurco undergoes back surgery, ‘not sure’ he’ll be ready for season

    Jared Clinton
    Tomas Jurco (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Detroit Red Wings are running into some injury problems and training camp, let alone the regular season, hasn’t even started.

    In the same week that it was announced defenseman Niklas Kronwall is still battling a knee injury and can’t compete at the World Cup and that prospect Vili Saarijarvi will miss three months following wrist surgery, the Red Wings have also announced that winger Tomas Jurco may not be ready to go come opening night.

    According to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, Red Wings GM Ken Holland has confirmed that Jurco, 23, injured his back while training in Slovakia and there are concerns about his ability to hit the ice in time for training camp, the pre-season and even the start of the regular season.

    “He needs 4-6 weeks of rest, then start slow. Need to see how he feels,” Holland said, per Khan. “Don’t think he’ll be on the ice playing in 4-6 weeks. Not sure he’ll be ready to open the season. Won’t know for another month down the road.” Read more

  • Coyotes flex cap space again, take on Bolland to land Crouse from Panthers

    Jared Clinton
    Lawson Crouse (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

    Life as a budget team hasn’t been bad for the Arizona Coyotes this summer.

    At the draft in June, the Coyotes swung a deal to land a prospect they were targeting — defenseman Jakob Chychrun — and all that was required of Arizona GM John Chayka was ensuring he had room to store Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million salary for the coming campaign. That was no problem for the Coyotes, who had a mountain of cap space, and Chayka was at it again Thursday, utilizing his club’s cap space to further bolster his prospect stock.

    The Coyotes used the team’s nearly $8 million of wiggle room under the cap to take on Dave Bolland’s awful five-year, $27.5-million contract from the Panthers, but Chayka wasn’t doing Florida any favors. In exchange for taking on the Bolland deal, Arizona also landed the Panthers’ top prospect, Lawson Crouse. And outside of taking on the salary, all it took for Chayka to land one of the 20-best prospects in the league was one second-round and one third-round pick. Read more

  • Detroit Red Wings have a “tank” in prospect Givani Smith

    Givani Smith (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)

    Givani Smith didn’t have an enviable situation in his draft year. The physical left winger played for literally one of the worst teams in all of major junior – the Guelph Storm – and watched coach Bill Stewart walk out on his troops after Guelph won just two of its first 27 games. But scouts saw Smith’s unique combination of brawn and skill and knew he’d be a good one. Detroit nabbed him in the second round this summer and now he’s already impressing NHLers.

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