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Eastern Conference

Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews Says Teams Will Be Prepared For Their ‘Firepower’



The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t expecting to catch any teams off guard this upcoming NHL season.

Toronto shocked the league when they made the playoffs for the second time since 2004. But for the 2016-2017 season, they know that the expectations have been raised a couple notches.

“Only 16 teams make it and it’s not going to be easy,” Toronto’s Auston Matthews said, according to the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby.

Matthews and the Leafs are determined to prove that they indeed belong in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and that last season wasn’t a fluke.

“We surprised some teams last year. That doesn’t really matter now. It’s a new season, they’re going to know that we have some firepower and they’re not going to take us so lightly.”

Toronto added Patrick Marleau in free agency, which will certainly bring some added depth to the roster.

“He‘s played 19 years, he’s been in the Stanley Cup finals, he knows how to win,” Matthews explained.

“When I talked to him he was pretty excited to be here.”

“All three of those guys we picked up are veterans who can definitely help us now, as a young team. They’re guys who’ve been there. Ron Hainsey won a Cup last year (in Pittsburgh), Dominic Moore is a Toronto native and been in the league a while.”

But Matthews said that Toronto’s goals, like his, are crystal clear.

“As an individual and as a team, we all want to take a step forward this season.”

Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings’ Jeff Blashill Has Doubts that Henrik Zetterberg will Return this Season



Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill has his doubts when it comes to the potential of Henrik Zetterberg suiting up this season, uncertain that the 37-year old will be healthy enough to do so and admitting that his status is currently in the air.

“He’s had a hard summer and I don’t think his back is reacting great,” Red Wings’ head coach Jeff Blashill said earlier this week, according to Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News. “Certainly we’ll know more in a month (at training camp), but as of today, there’s a lot of doubt as to whether his back will be healthy enough to play.”

Zetterberg did play in all 82 games for Detroit last season, but it was a tough task to enable he could do so.

“As you know, Hank wasn’t able to practice for half the year,” Blashill said. “He was able to gut it out through those last two months where he wasn’t able to practice. There were nights I didn’t think he’d able to play and he did play.”

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski Hoping to be Ready by Season Opener



Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is hoping to avoid missing the start of the 2018-19 regular season as he continues to recover from undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year, according BlueJackets’com’s Brian Hedger.

“My goal, ultimately, is to be there for Game 1,” Werenski said. “You never want to miss time, you never want to miss games, so my goal going into training camp and into the season is to be ready for Game 1.

“If it’s later, like Game 5 or Game 10, whenever that is, I’m going to work to miss as few games as possible and be ready to help the team.”

Werenski, 21, has begun skating but hasn’t progressed to contact drills as he continues his journey back.

“I feel great out there,” Werenski said. “There’s no problems right now. I’m just kind of ramping it up here, trying to get my timing back. Everything feels good on the ice. I haven’t had any contact yet. That’s not until later. I probably won’t do that until probably halfway through training camp, but everything is good. Everything’s on pace. I actually don’t know what my timeline is, to be honest, but I’m hoping to be back toward the start of training camp – probably not Day 1, but as soon as I can be.”

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Eastern Conference

Capitals Add Scott Arniel, Reid Cashman to Coaching Staff



The Washington Capitals have added Scott Arniel and Reid Cashman as assistants to the staff of head coach Todd Reirden, according to a team announcement made on Monday.

Arniel played in 730 NHL games with the Winnipeg JetsBuffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins throughout the 80s and early 90s, and served as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from the 2010-2011 season until the 2011-2012 season.

Cashman, 35, was the assistant coach at Quinnipiac University, his Alma mater, for four seasons before being promoted to associate coach in his final year, and spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.

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