Check out the latest NHL headlines for the final day of August. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: A brief look at the rise of Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith into an elite NHL blueliner.

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist believes his team is close to taking the final step toward a championship.

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist believes his team is close to taking the final step toward a championship.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist believes his club is very close to taking the final step toward a Stanley Cup championship.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It won’t get any easier for the Ranger this season. Lundqvist and company will face stiff challenges from potential Eastern Conference playoff opponents like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and New York Islanders.

STLTODAY.COM: After a busy summer that included marriage and a lucrative new contract, St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko is looking forward to the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko enjoyed a breakout performance last season. He’s now the Blues highest-paid player,  so he’ll face heightened expectations in 2015-16. 

TSN.CA: With Mike Richards being charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, Eric Macramalla explores how it could affect Richards’ upcoming grievance case against the Los Angeles Kings over his contract termination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macramalla observes it could take a couple of months for the grievance case to be resolved, meaning it’ll carry over into the upcoming regular season. No word yet as to when the case will be heard. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars GM Jim Nill spending about $69 million in payroll for next season will be worthwhile if it turns the club into a winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As long as the Stars reach the playoffs, no one will quibble with how much Nill invested in the roster. If they miss the cut again, however, Nill will receive considerable criticism. 

JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens legend Henri Richard is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Several former teammates claim his condition is worsening.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sad news indeed about the “Pocket Rocket”, who is among the few surviving members of the great Canadiens dynasty of the late-1950s. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins is proceeding slowly, which isn’t unusual.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche rookie camp opens on September 12, while the veteran camp opens on September 17.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know what I like about the end of August? It means it will soon be September and NHL training camps open in a little over two weeks time.