• How would a second Team Canada at the World Cup look? Pretty good

    Mike Brophy
    P.K. Subban. (Getty Images)

    It is often said that when an international hockey event is held, Canada could put two teams in the tournament and each would have a shot at winning.

    Such is the depth of Canada’s talent pool.

    But what about the 2016 World Cup of Hockey? What about the fact Canada has a team, but also has half-stocked Team North America made up of Canadian and American players 23-and-under?

    Is there enough talent left to put another team in play?

    Yes.

    Here is my Team Canada II:

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  • Devils’ Cory Schneider to wear star-spangled pads at World Cup

    Jared Clinton
    Cory Schneider's World Cup pads (via New Jersey Devils/Twitter)

    There was a time when Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was an oddity simply because of his bright yellow pads. But in the years since Fleury came into the league with his luminescent legs, goaltenders have started to get more colorful with their equipment, including some putting designs onto the face of their gear.

    Former NHL netminder Chris Mason, for instance, made the logo-on-pads style popular with two sets of Winnipeg Jets-themed gear, Eddie Lack followed up by rocking the Vancouver Canucks’ logo and Carolina Hurricanes’ crest across the face of his pads and Petr Mrazek has split the Detroit Red Wings with half appearing on each of his pads, too.

    But for the World Cup, New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider is making his entire pad part of the design. Check out the awesome star-spangled banner pads Schneider, who could very likely be the starter throughout the tournament for Team USA, is set to don at the competition: Read more

  • A lot of years, a lot of work went into Braid becoming first full-time female coach

    Jared Clinton
    Dawn Braid teaches Sabres players during her tenure with the team (via Buffalo Sabres/Twitter)

    Dawn Braid made history this past Wednesday, but she can’t say she ever expected it.

    When the Arizona Coyotes hired Braid, 52, as their skating coach, she became the first woman ever brought on as a full-time coach for an NHL team. Other women have held part-time jobs behind the scenes in coaching capacities, including Braid herself, but her new post is historic. And even though it’s been celebrated and written about throughout the hockey world, Braid isn’t even convinced she’s the first.

    “If I am the first, that’s great and it’s quite an honor, but I honestly don’t know,” Braid told THN. “I’ve never promoted that, neither have the Coyotes, but if (I am), that’s great. It’s an honor, but I really don’t know if that’s fact. I’m just excited and thrilled about the opportunity.”

    But Braid’s success isn’t an overnight thing and she didn’t come out of nowhere to land a full-time gig with the Coyotes. Her hiring by Arizona GM John Chayka and coach Dave Tippett is the culmination of decades of hard work. Nearly three and a half decades, in fact. Read more

  • Steen’s recovery ‘very positive,’ Blues hope he’s back for opening night

    Jared Clinton
    Alexander Steen (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Alexander Steen’s off-season shoulder surgery has already put the Blues winger out of the World Cup, but St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong isn’t expecting the injury to cost Steen much playing time when the regular season rolls around.

    According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford, Armstrong said Steen, 32, “pushed very hard” to be ready for the international tournament, but he simply couldn’t get fit in time to take part in the World Cup. The nature of his injury and the recovery time was such that Steen’s first re-evaluation post-surgery will come Oct. 3, Armstrong said, which is only days before the start of the tournament.

    But it’s not all bad news because Steen’s off-season work and rehabbing of his shoulder in an attempt to play at the World Cup could bode well for his ability to suit up when the Blues open their season against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 12.

    “We’re still quite a ways from camp, but I would think he’ll jump right into the flow drills — that’s the idea now,” Armstrong told Rutherford. “But we’re not going to be penny-wise, pound-foolish. Whether he participates in battle drills in early September or mid-September, I’m not that concerned about. (But) he looks like he’s in great shape, he’s ahead of schedule and we’re hoping that he’s ready for Game 1. If not Game 1, very early in the season, but all things are very positive.” Read more

  • Jonathan Quick pays tribute to Special Forces with World Cup mask

    Jared Clinton
    (via Jonathan Quick/Twitter)

    Jonathan Quick’s mask design has been pretty standard over the past several seasons.

    When he’s played for the Los Angeles Kings, Quick’s mask has been painted to look like a knight’s helmet. And when he’s gone off to play for Team USA, the helmet has been updated with a few details to give it that American flare. However, Quick is going an entirely different direction for the World Cup.

    With the tournament quickly approaching, Quick unveiled his World Cup lid and the design isn’t anything like the masks he has worn in the past. Instead, Quick’s going with a white camouflage base and two logos tied to the Special Forces and Green Berets. Take a look: Read more

  • Rumor Roundup: Bruins blueline needs work, but reinforcements not coming just yet

    Lyle Richardson
    Torey Krug (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Entering this off-season, Boston Bruins management made no secret of their need for a skilled, puck-moving defenseman. With September and the start of training camp fast approaching, that issue has yet to be addressed.

    NBC Sports’ Joey Alfieri reports the Bruins blueline still needs work. Captain Zdeno Chara, 39, is aging and no longer the dominant defenseman he once was. Torey Krug is their only reliable offensive rearguard.

    Alfieri notes trade chatter earlier this summer tied the Bruins to St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The 27-year-old is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency and could prove difficult for the Blues to re-sign. While there was considerable speculation regarding Shattenkirk in late-June, the talk has largely gone away.

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  • Sweden’s Lehner withdraws from World Cup to heal ankle, Enroth takes his place

    Jared Clinton
    Robin Lehner (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Robin Lehner was only able to suit up for one-quarter of the Sabres’ games in his first season as presumptive starting netminder for the club. But in an attempt to avoid that in his second campaign, Lehner is making sure he takes his time to heal the ankle injury that sidelined him late in the season.

    It was announced Friday that Lehner, 25, has decided to withdraw from Team Sweden’s World Cup team. Sabres GM Tim Murray said Lehner made the choice because he wants to be ready to go come training camp.

    “As Robin continues to progress during the off-season in his rehab from last season’s ankle injury, he felt that it was best to withdraw from Team Sweden for the upcoming World Cup,” Murray said in a statement. “Robin felt it was important to continue his rehab in Buffalo to prepare for training camp. He has been working out both on and off the ice and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with our team next month.” Read more

  • The New York Rangers have quietly changed their team identity

    Matt Larkin
    Brandon Pirri. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

    This generation’s New York Rangers have been poster children for the before-and-after of contending for a Stanley Cup for several years and mortgaging the future for the sake of the chase. Under previous GM Glen Sather, before Jeff Gorton took over, the Blueshirts shipped out their first round pick four straight years in the pursuit of Rick Nash, Martin St-Louis (he cost them two first-rounders) and Keith Yandle. They haven’t picked in the first round since 2012, when they nabbed defenseman Brady Skjei.

    There’s nothing wrong with what the Rangers brass decided to do. This team reached the Stanley Cup final in 2013-14 and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2014-15. New York was obviously close to winning it all, and it was important to take its big swing while Henrik Lundqvist remained an elite goaltender.

    Still, the degree to which the Rangers plundered their farm system reached almost comical proportions in recent seasons. They didn’t pick until 81st at this year’s draft in Buffalo. Their first selection in the draft has been, on average, 61.5 over the past four years. Our panel of NHL team executives and scouts ranked the Rangers’ prospect crop 30th among 30th teams in 2016, with just one youngster, Pavel Buchnevich, cracking the individual top 75 rankings.

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