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September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Los Angeles

IF PATIENCE is a virtue, there might be no more righteous people than fans of the Los Angeles Kings. Since 2002, they have waited to see a playoff game. Since 2006, they have waited through GM Dean Lombardi’s slow-build process and watched anxiously as the roster swelled with talented prospects. Now, for the first time in three years, they can at least realistically think about seeing the post-season. It’s far from certain, given the logjam of playoff-caliber clubs in the West. But with one of the strongest young cores in the league, at least the Kings are headed in the right direction. Lombardi’s project of rebuilding the blueline is nearly complete. Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Jack Johnson and Rob Scuderi form the heart, and none is older than 30. A squad of…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Phoenix

TIME FOR another hockey season in the desert? Just hit the rewind button. For the past seven years, it has seemed like “Groundhog Day” for the Coyotes and thus the same question: Will this team ever make the playoffs again? And as far this season is concerned, are you kidding? Well, don’t laugh yet. This could be a playoff bubble team. Then again, the Coyotes – who have had a knack for finding unique ways to lose games – could also fade into oblivion. Despite the off-season turmoil surrounding the bankrupt franchise, there are positive signs. The calming influence in the eye of the latest storm is captain Shane Doan, who is primed for the best season of a quality career, one spent entirely with the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise. Peter Mueller will be a key…

SEASON OPENER

PRIMED AND READY

“LET’S GET IT ON” is not only a famous Marvin Gaye tune, it’s also a hockey mantra repeated every year around this time. And with it being an Olympic season, there’s a lot more than normal going on. It all kicks off Oct. 1 with four games, including a visit by the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winner, San Jose, to Colorado, where the retired Joe Sakic’s No. 19 will be raised to the rafters. The next day, the NHL kicks off its European tour with games between Detroit and St. Louis in Stockholm and Chicago and Florida in Helsinki. On Nov. 9, the Hockey Hall of Fame will welcome four new members: Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and builder Lou Lamoriello. Then on Jan. 1, 2010, the fourth installment of the Winter…

SEASON OPENER

CONTENDERS CAN’T SLEEP

OLYMPIC TRACKER ROAD TO VANCOUVER 2010 CONSIDER IT A GIFT AND A CURSE. Vancouver has the distinguished pleasure of hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics this February, but the Games’ hockey tournament has the potential to wreak havoc on the locals’ NHL team and subsequent post-season dreams. The Canucks will have to break through not one but two nasty obstacles in their attempt to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history, both Olympic-based. The most obvious one stems from the fact the team won’t have access to GM Place during or leading up to the Games, meaning an eight-game road trip (beginning Jan. 30 in Toronto) before the Olympic break, followed by a six-game outing (starting in Columbus March 2) afterwards. All in all, the Canucks will be outside their friendly home…