Canadiens’ Julien can ‘definitely’ see Drouin playing center

The Montreal Canadiens might have their first-line center position figured out after all.

Head coach Claude Julien said he was impressed with Jonathan Drouin's play in the Canadiens' final preseason game - a 9-2 win over the Ottawa Senators - and feels he could slot in at center.

"I see a player who definitely can play center in this league," Julien told reporters, according to Sportsnet's Eric Engels.

Drouin centered the club's top line alongside Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher on Saturday night and tallied three assists in the process. Julien was also complimentary of his play on the opposite side of the puck, and appears to have shut down any thoughts of Alex Galchenyuk moving to the center ice position.

The lone criticism for Drouin could be in the faceoff circle. He won just 40 percent of his faceoffs Saturday despite entering the game with a success rate of 46.7 percent in his other two preseason contests.

Still, he concluded the preseason with five points in three games, suggesting the team may have indeed found that missing link down the middle of the ice.

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Trump shares hockey anthem video on Twitter

Hockey fans often relive classic moments on the Internet over the offseason.

Donald Trump appears to be doing the same. On Saturday, the U.S. President tweeted a video showing the playing of the American anthem prior to a recent contest between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

"19,000 respecting our National Anthem!" Trump tweeted Saturday.

In the video, the arena announcer is overheard saying: "We ask all 19,000 of you fans in attendance to honor the contributions and the courage of those who have worn our nation's uniform with pride.

"Whether you bleed blue or wear the red, regardless of your political affiliation, we ask you to show both your pride in being an American and your thanks and appreciation for all of our country's veterans."

Trump's social media share comes about a week after he caused an uproar in the sports world by suggesting NFL owners fire players who choose to kneel during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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Jagr uses cat to hint at NHL opportunity

It appears Jaromir Jagr and his cat have something to celebrate.

The NHL's second all-time leading scorer, who happens to be an unrestricted free agent, tweeted a picture Saturday night of his cat nestled on the couch with a bottle of tequila and some money with the caption: "Look, I just tell my cat, there is a chance to play in NHL this year."

The post comes after Jagr told Czech publication that he wouldn't skate with a Czech club this weekend as he continues to negotiate a potential NHL deal.

On Thursday, St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong admitted the team has had discussions about signing Jagr.

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NHL hopes to ban bets on Golden Knights at neighboring casinos

The NHL wants the action left on the ice.

According to ESPN's David Payne Purdum, the NHL will submit a request to MGM Resorts that it bans gambling on the city's new pro sports team, the Vegas Golden Knights, at two of its Las Vegas Strip properties.

The request covers the Monte Carlo and New York-New York, the two casinos that sit adjacent to T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights' home rink. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has not been asked to fully ban betting on the Golden Knights.

"One of the things we're focused on is the atmosphere in the arena," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told ESPN. "We're family-friendly."

MGM will need to work in short order if it plans to rule in favor of the ban, as the new Vegas franchise will play its first-ever regular-season home game Oct. 10 against the Arizona Coyotes.

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Penguins release McClement from PTO

Jay McClement's hopes of joining the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champions have come to an end.

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced they released the 34-year-old from his professional tryout contract Saturday night.

McClement signed the tryout deal after going without a contract in free agency this summer. He was coming off his third season with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he posted five goals and eight points in 65 games.

The dismissal will certainly be tough for the veteran of 906 regular-season games, as Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford stated in August that McClement would be "given a good chance to make the team."

In three preseason games with the Penguins, McClement tallied one goal and one assist.

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Price makes incredible stop on Turris with Patrick Roy on hand

Carey Price put on a show for a legend Saturday night.

The Montreal Canadiens netminder robbed Ottawa Senators forward Kyle Turris with a desperation stop late in the first period.

The save got the stamp of approval by the Canadiens faitfhul and goaltending great Patrick Roy, who was on hand to take in some preseason action.

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Trotz calls Capitals’ lack of offense in preseason ‘disturbing’

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz hopes his club is just in a brief slump this preseason.

Through six exhibition games, the club has managed just eight goals, and was limited to one goal or less in five of those six contests. And while the preseason means very little, Trotz admits he needs to see more from his forwards.

"We need a little more offense out of our forwards, there's no question," Trotz said, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. "We've scored three five-on-five goals (in six games). So, that's disturbing for the quality of forwards that we have. We've got nothing from our top guys to this point in terms of production and points, but I trust that their skill and their pedigree will come out.

"Fortunately, they don't count right now. But still, you want to start feeling good about yourself."

After finishing with the third-ranked offense last season, chances are the Capitals will find a way to turn the tide. In the meantime, Trotz suggested that part of the reason for the early struggles could be the mindset the club entered camp with after falling short once again last season - bowing out to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round after claiming a second straight Presidents' Trophy.

"If you talk to players, it's been a little bit harder to get the energy this year based on how it ended and the summer," Trotz said. "So, in some ways, in lack of another way to say it, we got stuck in last year's energy or lack of at the end. It took a piece of us and now we've got to dust ourselves off here and go, 'Hey, you know what? It's for real. Let's get going. We're professional. Let's quit with the self-pity and all that. Whatever's holding us back, let's go play because we can play.'"

The Capitals will play one last preseason game against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon before they open the regular season Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.

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Fact or fiction: Which preseason trends will last?

Mercifully, the NHL's preseason will soon come to an end.

Coming to determinations based on the exhibition slate can be a dangerous course of action, but for the sake of living on the edge, let's take a look at the trends formed this preseason, and if they'll last once the games really matter.

Basement-dwelling Canadiens

The sky in Montreal was emphatically falling until the Habs pulled out a 3-1 win Friday over the Panthers, bringing their preseason record to 1-6.

The Canadiens have a -14 goal differential, but are you going to put stock in Carey Price mustering an .870 save percentage through October? Didn't think so.

Verdict: Fiction

Matthews' scoring binge

Last season's Calder winner looks poised to continue his assault on opposing defenses through his sophomore year, producing five goals in four preseason showings, including a hat trick.

Matthews and linemate William Nylander feed off each other and have great potential to amass lofty offensive totals for the Maple Leafs.

Verdict: Fact

Vegas 'Goalden' Knights

If anybody's destined to be let down by the stark differences between preseason and regular-season hockey, it's the fan base of the NHL's 31st franchise.

Vegas is 3-2-1 in six exhibition games, averaging a blazing 3.8 goals per contest. However, with some very shallow digging, it's easy to see the Golden Knights' offense likely won't continue to produce at such a high clip in their inaugural season.

The Golden Knights' totals are boosted by a nine-goal thrashing of the Canucks in Game 1, and haven't scored more than three in three of their last four games. Elsewhere, their leading scorer is defenseman Brad Hunt with six points. The preseason can be pretty weird.

Verdict: Fiction

Hischier lighting it up

No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier has excelled in his first taste of the NHL, barging his way to the top of the Devils' attack plan.

Hischier's recorded seven points in four games, and hasn't looked a touch out of place in letting his offensive ability shine. His pace is sure to slow down, but right now, it looks like New Jersey found a good one.

Verdict: Fact

1st-place Avalanche

Your early leader of the vaunted Central Division? None other than the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avs are 4-2, led by six points from Nathan MacKinnon and a .948 save percentage through three starts from Semyon Varlamov. Encouraging signs, for sure, but this is virtually the same roster that was historically inept a season ago - a campaign that started with an undefeated preseason record.

Verdict: Fiction

(Photos Courtesy: Getty Images)

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Upshall skates with Blues, will meet with Armstrong, Yeo

Scottie Upshall could be on the verge of officially reuniting with the St. Louis Blues.

The veteran forward took the ice with the club Saturday morning, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford, and the team announced earlier Saturday that Upshall will meet with Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and head coach Mike Yeo later in the day.

The Vancouver Canucks released Upshall from his tryout contract Friday.

He spent the last two seasons with the Blues before becoming a free agent this summer.

St. Louis has been looking to fill the void left by the season-ending injury to Robby Fabbri, and Armstrong revealed Thursday that the club has had internal discussions about signing Jaromir Jagr, among others.

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