Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 9:06 PM
Training camp did not start as hoped for Calgary and Jarome Iginla
The Flames captain and leading scorer from last season only made it through 30 minutes of Saturday's session, the team's first practice of the new season. Back spasms forced Iginla to leave the ice early.
"Unfortunately, after I'd started a little bit, I had a little bit of a spasm there," Iginla told reporters. "It's nothing I haven't had before. I've had them during the season at different times.
"I thought it was better to be safe than keep aggravating it."
Iginla, though, said there was little reason for concern. As an older player, he says, he pays more attention to the messages his body sends him and did not want to take any chances so early in camp.
"Most of my training was more geared toward skating and puck skills, just to keep trying to improve in those areas and be a more efficient skater, not really so much to be necessarily bigger or stronger," Iginla said. "Also to try to use a little bit of camp and work on being ready to go when the games start as opposed to necessarily the first day of training camp.
"I feel great. It sounds kind of funny when you skate the first day and don't finish it, but I do."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 7:39 PM
The Capitals will travel up I-95 Tuesday when they open the preseason against the Nashville Predators
as part of the Baltimore Hockey Classic. The Caps last played in Charm City in 1992.
"It's unique that we're sold out for every [home] game this year," Caps general manager George McPhee
said, "and now we can go up to Baltimore for a Tuesday night preseason against a non-conference team and sell that building out."
More than 11,000 fans are expected at Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena, which housed the American Hockey League's Skipjacks from 1982-93 and later the AHL's Bandits from 1995-97.
Tuesday's game is sure to bring back memories for both Predators coach Barry Trotz
and Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau
. Trotz was the coach in Baltimore in 1992-93 when the Skipjacks were a Capitals affiliate and Boudreau played for a Skipjacks team that reached the 1985 Calder Cup final.
"We went to the finals and we lost against a guy by the name of Patrick Roy
," Boudreau recalled on the first day of Capitals training camp.
"The team in Sherbrooke that beat us, I think nine of those guys ended up graduating to the Canadiens the next year and won the Stanley Cup, so there were a lot of good Montreal Canadiens
that beat us the last year I played there."
Boudreau remembers the Skipjacks drawing crowds of 5,000 on their championship run, which were "adequate at the time for the American League."
Among Boudreau's teammates in Baltimore were future NHLers Andy Brickley
, Marty McSorley
, Phil Bourque
, Bob Errey
and John Casey.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 6:11 PM
-- Buffalo finally got to see the real Brad Boyes
on Saturday -- or, at least how he'd define that term.
Boyes was back at his natural position of right wing, skating with Jochen Hecht
and Matt Ellis
. After the Sabres acquired him from St. Louis last season, injuries to Derek Roy
and Hecht forced Buffalo to try Boyes at the much less familiar position of center. He contributed five goals and nine assists in 21 games.
Boyes stressed versatility over personal preference, but sounded like he's leaning right.
"I got pretty comfortable on the wing (previously). Moving to the middle changes your mindset. I'm looking forward to getting back,'' he said. "I'm not worried at all where I play. If they want me to play middle all season, I have no problem with that -- or vice versa."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 6:05 PM
– Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky
is slightly limited with his shoulder but he said it feels better after a summer of rest.
Visnovsky badly injured the right shoulder April 2 against San Jose (he also injured his other shoulder by the end of the season) but surgery wasn't needed.
"It's better and better every day," Visnovsky said.
Visnovsky's defensive partner, Toni Lydman
, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum after the season and has not been cleared for contact.
Forward Matt Beleskey
underwent the same procedure and is also wearing a no-contact red jersey.
"We're going to be extra cautious with those players coming back," coach Randy Carlyle
said. "Beleskey is further along than Lydman, and Beleskey is very close."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:59 PM
– Overall, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco was pleased with what he saw Saturday while watching the team's first day of camp from a perch above the ice.
"I was impressed," he said. "I saw depth in today's scrimmages. I saw good, competitive games out there. I thought, looking up and down the roster, there weren't a lot of negative things. I liked the pace. Certainly you can see the depth in the organization; it showed out there on the ice today."
Sacco also liked what he saw of the five goalies who took part in scrimmages. That would include newcomers Semyon Varlamov
, who signed a three-year, $8.5 million contract following his July 1 acquisition from Washington, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere
, who signed a two-year, $2.5 million deal as a free agent.
The Avalanche is counting on the duo to fill what was a gaping hole in goal a year ago when the team allowed a NHL-worst 288 goals and finished No. 29 in the League standings.
"I thought the goalies were good, especially in games like this," Sacco said. "There are a lot of breakdowns and scoring chances. Guys are trying to show what they can do with the puck, so there were some mistakes and some turnovers."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:54 PM
-- Free agent signee Roman Hamrlik
did not complete the Capitals' mandatory conditioning test on the first day of training camp because of tightness in his groin.
"I wanted to be safe," Hamrlik said. "It was a hard practice and I had some tightness in my groin. It was a good move by Bruce."
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau
said he was being "overly cautious" with his 38-year-old defenseman, who did take part in practic
"I just said ‘Hey listen, I don't want you to do this,'" Boudreau said of his conversation with Hamrlik. ‘"Let's be precautionary. We'll do the test in a week when you feel better.'"
Hamrlik arrived in D.C. on Wednesday after spending the first two weeks of September skating with his former teammates in Montreal.
"When you get older everything is harder for you," he said. "I have a few weeks to get in better shape and be ready for the season."
Hamrlik has proven durable during his career, appearing in at least 75 games in each of the past five seasons. He was also a minutes-eater in Montreal and led the Canadiens in time on ice last season.
"I wanted to make sure that - on his first day out with us - that he wasn't trying to be overly brave and do something," Boudreau said. "Once he said, they're a little tight, I said, 'OK, fine, shut it down.' "
Hamrlik plans to return to practice tomorrow.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:53 PM
– Stefan Elliott
, one of the Avalanche's prized prospects, scored a goal in Saturday's second scrimmage with a wicked wrist shot from high in the right faceoff circle.
"Me being slated as an offensive defenseman, you're expected to put up numbers," he said. "It was nice that I scored today."
Elliott, 20, should be used to raising his arms in celebration after a goal. He was named the Western Hockey League's Defenseman of the Year last season after collecting 31 goals and 81 points in 71 games for the Saskatoon Blades.
A second-round pick (No. 49) in the 2009 Entry Draft (behind Avalanche centers Matt Duchene
and Ryan O'Reilly
), Elliott completed his junior career as the highest-scoring defenseman in Blades history with 241 points (82 goals, 159 assists) in 282 games.
"He's very skilled," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "He's very good with the puck and he has a really good, quick shot – a nice, quick snap shot – a good release of the puck. He has high-end skill. I thought as the games went on with him he started to get more comfortable. You could see the confidence. He was rushing the puck up ice and joining in the attack – all the things that he does well as a young player."
This is Elliott's third camp, and he wants to make the most of it, knowing there appears to be an opening for an offensive defenseman following the June trade of John-Michael Liles
"I felt pretty good, first day," he said. "I was sucking wind a little bit in the first scrimmage, but the second one I started to get a little more comfortable as it went on. I remember my first camp, I was pretty nervous in practices and things. I think now you just kind of settle down and just worry about playing.
"My expectations are higher than in my first camp coming in. Obviously I want to make the team this year. I want to play my best and see how things go. There's a lot of good competition, and that makes for a lot of hard battles."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:49 PM
– Head and neck injuries limited Kyle Cumiskey
to just 18 games a year ago, but the speedy defenseman is healthy again and took part in Saturday's scrimmages.
Cumiskey missed the final 29 games with whiplash after sitting out 34 earlier games with a head injury.
The Avalanche is all too familiar with head ailments. Left wing Peter Mueller
, who looked good while scrimmaging Saturday, missed all last season to recover from post-concussion syndrome, and 2010 first-round pick Joey Hishon
remains sidelined with the same issue after getting hurt in the opening game of the Memorial Cup playoffs last spring.
"It's always tough," Cumiskey said of missing games. "You're sitting there and waiting and thinking about it all day. So it's awesome to be back out here again. I'm excited about it.
"I guess as players we have to respect each other a little more and watch the hits to the head. I'm just trying to protect myself a little more and be smarter that way."
Cumiskey was able to resume skating in May, about a month after the Avalanche missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A restricted free agent, he wasn't signed until Sept. 9 when he agreed to a one-year, $708,000 contract.
"I've been working out all summer and feeling good," he said. "I'm not really worried about (getting hurt again) or thinking about it. It's one of those things that you can't worry about or else you won't play your game.
"It was good to be out there again with the guys. I got to camp a little late so I didn't have a lot of time to skate with them before."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:49 PM
-- Capitals general manager George McPhee
confirmed on Day One of training that defenseman Tom Poti
did not pass his physical. The 34-year-old remains sidelined with a groin injury that limited him to just 21 games last season. Poti will begin the year on long-term injured reserve.
"He failed the medical but we'll try a different program to see if we can get him back to a hundred percent," McPhee said. "He's worked really hard in trying to get ready and he's still unable to do it. We'll see if the new program works. If he can play at some point this year, he would help us a lot."
McPhee did not elaborate on the new program, but said that it would not include surgery. Poti's inability to begin the season comes as no big shock after McPhee suggested at last year's exit meetings that the defenseman's career "could be in jeopardy."
"I was concerned whether he'd be able to play again," McPhee said. "It's why we went out and signed [Roman] Hamrlik. We didn't want to be short. Unfortunately, he's no further along."
If Poti is indeed placed on LTIR, it will relieve the Capitals of his $2.875 million salary cap hit. Poti signed a two-year extension during last year's training camp that is for this campaign and next. He was not made available for comment.
"I met with him yesterday and he's certainly frustrated and we're disappointed because he's a good player," McPhee said. "He played very good hockey and made us better."
While Poti remains sidelined, other Washington defensemen are chomping at the bit to return from their own injuries.
missed the final five games of the regular-season and all of the playoffs with a leg hematoma. Wideman now sports a six-inch scar above his knee but the 28-year-old says he's good to suit up in the pre-season.
"As far as the practice went, I felt pretty good," Wideman said. "When we got to the conditioning I felt like I was a little bit behind where I would like to be at this point. But the good news is we still have a couple more weeks… As far as strength and skating go, I'm 100 percent."
Wideman was acquired from the Panthers at last year's trade deadline, but the offensive-minded defenseman never had the chance to play with Mike Green
Green missed the final 19 games of the regular-season with a concussion and Game 4 of the Capitals second round series against Tampa Bay with a hip flexor.
The two-time Norris Trophy nominee had an off-year by his standards with eight goals and 24 points -- his lowest totals since he was a rookie in 2006-07.
But with Wideman and Green both healthy, and John Carlson
set to begin his second full NHL season, expectations are high for the Capitals' puck-moving defensemen.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:48 PM
A week after traveling but not playing with the Blackhawks' team in the prospects tournament held in Oshawa, forward Jeremy Morin
(concussion) is still not healthy enough to get back on the ice for a game.
Saturday marked the opening of training camp for the Hawks and Morin, 20, was noticeably absent in scrimmages. In fact, he's been sidelined since last January, when he was hurt playing for the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.
Morin was a second-round pick by the Atlanta Thrashers (No.45) in the 2009 Entry Draft and came to Chicago as a key part of a deal that sent former Hawks star Dustin Byfuglien
and several others to Atlanta.
Morin, a right wing with a knack for offense, made a good first impression at Chicago's prospects camp last summer. He then opened eyes in the Hawks' training camp last year before nearly opening the season with the team. He eventually played nine games with Chicago before heading to the World Junior Championships – where he suffered a shoulder injury.
It wasn't long after that his season was cut short by the concussion, which is believed to have happened after being flipped on his head, helmet on, after a hard check.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville
said Morin's status is "day-to-day."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:44 PM
-- Patrick Kane
is being held out of contact drills for the Blackhawks while he continues to recover from surgery this summer to repair the scaphoid bone in his wrist.
That means no scrimmaging, which is why he didn't take part in either of the two scrimmages held at Chicago's Training Camp Festival Saturday at the United Center. He did, however, go through two practice sessions and also participated in a shootout for his team following the second and final scrimmage of the day.
The shootout didn't impact the score of the scrimmage and was just done to entertain fans at the sold-out event. Kane didn't fail to deliver, either. After telling a video crew beforehand what move he was going to use – backhand, top shelf – he went out and potted a goal to the delight of Hawks fans hoping he has a big season.
"I was just kind of joking around like, ‘Get me out there for the shootout,'" Kane said. "They said, ‘Do you want to?' And I was like, ‘Sure.' Next thing I know, they're filming me in here beforehand and I was saying I was like Mariano Rivera going in to close. It would've been nice if it was actually for the win, but it was pretty cool nonetheless. It's fun to actually get out there and score a goal."
As for how the injury is healing, Kane said his hand felt a little stiff after taking off the brace but loosened up to the point where he started stickhandling and shooting a little more during the practice sessions.
"This is probably the best I've felt as far as my hand," Kane said. "I was actually shooting a lot more. I felt really good out there. I'm kind of begging the trainers to scrimmage right now, but I don't think they're going to let me just yet."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:41 PM
– For better or for worse, the Winnipeg Jets
should have a quieter experience Sunday when they begin their second day of on-ice workouts.
The club will shift from its practice facility on the outskirts of Winnipeg to its downtown home, the MTS Centre. Sunday’s practice sessions will not be open to the public as the club continues preparations leading up to a pair of split-squad games Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets
** Right wing Eric Fehr
, who underwent shoulder surgery this summer, will not participate in preseason competition and does not expect to be ready for the club’s season-opening game on Oct. 9 against the Montreal Canadiens
. The Jets acquired Fehr, a Manitoba native, July 8th from the Washington Capitals
in a deal for a prospect Danick Paquette
and a fourth-round pick.
** The Jets have a heavy Manitoba Moose flavor. The Moose, Winnipeg’s pro hockey club in the American Hockey League between 1996 and this past season, occupied the MTS Centre before giving way to the Jets. Former Moose attending training camp with the Jets are forwards Jason Jaffray
, Shawn Weller
and Winnipeg native Jason Gregoire
, along with defensemen Mark Flood
and Travis Ramsay. Former Moose Marco Rosa
is in camp with the Jet, but sidelined by injury.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:38 PM
– First-round pick Gabriel Landeskog
, 18, made quite an impression on coach Joe Sacco when the Colorado Avalanche
opened training camp Saturday before about 500 fans at the Family Sports Center.
"He did more than hold his own," Sacco said of Landeskog, a 6-foot-1, 204-pound left wing. "He was very good today. It was the first time I've gotten to see him play in live action. He's not that fancy from what I saw today, but he was always around the net. He's in the hard areas of the ice, he's in front of the net, he's in the corners, he's along the boards. He just seems to be doing a lot of the little things well for a player of his age."
Landeskog, selected with the No. 2 pick in last June's Entry Draft, also made some slick passes and launched some dangerous shots while skating mostly with center Jay McClement
and right wing Kevin Porter
in two scrimmages.
"Every time you go on the ice you want to make an impact on the game," said Landeskog, who wears jersey No. 92, his birth year. "You want to go out there and show the people in the stands and in the press box what you can do. I feel like I had an OK two games. First day and I'm glad to have it under my belt."
Landeskog gave the Avalanche a bit of a scare in the second scrimmage when he took a hit on his left knee and left the ice for the locker room. He managed to return after missing a couple of shifts and didn't look the worse for wear.
"I just got a little hit on my knee there, but it's all fine," he said. "It felt good when I got back on the ice. It's good."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:37 PM
received big cheers from the crowd when he stepped on the ice. He will be a big focus during camp as the team closely monitors his ability to return to form after a bout with vertigo-like symptoms ended his season.
Hiller faced NHL shooters during the summer in his home Switzerland and said his confidence is back.
"The first time back on the ice and I'm already feeling a lot better than the last time I skated here at the end of the season," Hiller said. "I felt like it was more a timing issue, which wasn't right, because I haven't seen the puck properly for a while but (through) practice it starting getting better and I feel comfortable with where I'm at right now."
The biggest cheers of the day came for Teemu Selanne
when he stepped on the ice in a blue jersey, two days after he announced he will return for a 19th season at the age of 41.
Selanne has pronounced his surgically-repaired left knee healthy but he acknowledged that he needs to skate back into top form. He took part in all the drills but appeared to be holding back in terms of explosive bursts up ice.
"Right now every day is going to be important," Selanne said. "The first couple of days are always going to be hard. Obviously you've got to be smart. But at the same (time), you've got to push it harder and harder and harder, and that's what training camp is so important, especially for me because I'm a little bit behind the schedule. I didn't do much in July. I'm excited to be back on the ice and I'm pain free. That's the bottom line."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:32 PM
-- Star forward Marian Hossa
missed the beginning of training camp for the Blackhawks while mourning the loss of close friend Pavol Demitra
– whose funeral was Thursday in western Slovakia.
Demitra, a former captain of the Slovakian national team, was among the 37 players, coaches and staff of Kontinental Hockey League club Yaroslavl Locomotiv killed in a plane crash last week shortly after takeoff near the town of Yaroslavl, Russia.
Hossa attended the funeral with fellow Slovakian players Zdeno Chara
and Marian Gaborik
. Hossa's wife also gave birth to their first child recently.
"He's going to be here in a couple days," Chicago Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman said. "Marian's gone through a tough time here. That was one of his close friends. I spoke to him the other day and it's a real tough situation for him to deal with. On a more positive note, he had his first child a couple days ago as well, so he's getting that settled with his wife and we certainly want to give him time to be ready to step on the ice. So, in a couple days he'll be back here. Our thoughts are with him."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:31 PM
Despite allowing three goals in his first scrimmage appearance with the Blackhawks, veteran goalie Ray Emery
looked good to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville
Emery, who made a comeback last season with the Anaheim Ducks
after a rare hip condition threatened his career, is in camp on a tryout offer. If he shows Chicago's coaches and front office what they want to see, Emery, 28, could stick as the team's backup to starter Corey Crawford
His main competition for the spot is 24-year old goalie Alexander Salak
, who was one of the best goalies in the Swedish Elite League last season.
"I like him," Quenneville said of Emery. "I thought he did well. He looked big in the net and looked very composed and confident, as well. He came in at a real important time in Anaheim's season last year and did a great job for them and I likes his approach going into this camp. We'll definitely keep an eye on him because we like what we're seeing."
Emery was beaten on goals by Hawks captain Jonathan Toews
– on a partial breakaway – along with scores by center Brandon Pirri
and defenseman Shawn Lalonde
"I'd give myself a B-minus maybe," Emery said, when asked to assess his performance. "I thought I was pretty solid. I'd like to have the last one back, but you have to get your hands back at the start of the year and there's a whole bunch of things going through your head as far as playing the puck and covering rebounds and working through traffic and different things that (are) tough to brush up on over the summer. That's what training camp is for, to work out the kinks. So, overall, things went pretty well."
Emery had surgery to repair a condition called avascular necrosis, which in layman's terms was the deterioration of the top of the ball in his right hip. The surgery could've ended his career and still left him with a long and painful recovery filled with moments of doubt.
Eventually, he made a comeback with the Ducks midway through last season and played in 10 games of the regular season – going 7-2-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average while replacing injured Ducks starter Jonas Hiller
, who was battling vertigo.
"I think I'm the only professional athlete missing a fibula right now," Emery quipped. "I was fortunate to have access to the doctors that I did and kind of nip it in the bud before my hip collapsed. I'm really fortunate and excited that I've got another chance."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:29 PM
– Mark Streit
was sweaty but smiling.
Nearly a year after his 2010-11 season was ended before it began because of a shoulder injury sustained during an intrasquad scrimmage, Mark Streit
took the ice Saturday on the opening day of New York Islanders
training camp. Not even a workout that forward Matt Mouston tweeted was "hardest training camp day in my 6 years of pro.... no messing around this year," could take the smile off Streit's face.
"It was a good short-but-hard first day. Everybody's in shape, and it was a good atmosphere out there," Streit said. "I can't wait to skate tomorrow and Monday."
The Isles' No. 1 defenseman said he's been skating for "five or six weeks" before camp and said he had "the same rust" that he usually does when starting out a new season.
"I'm in good shape and great spirits," he said. "As you can imagine, I'm very excited for training camp, for the first preseason game and for the first regular-season game."
He did admit he expected to have a few butterflies when he steps on the ice for his first game – the Islanders start their preseason schedule Friday night in Boston, then host New Jersey the next night.
"For sure," he said. "It's always special to play the first preseason game, and obviously the first regular-season game. For me, it's going to be even more than that because I didn't play for so long. It was painful – it was torture not to play and help out the guys.
"I worked really hard, so I'm really, really excited finally to practice with the guys, to be in the locker room, to play in training camp and then to start the new season."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:25 PM
-- Peter DeBoer
is a new coach surrounded by coaches who were with the Devils last season. Perhaps others would feel threatened by that situation and prefer to work in a different way, but DeBoer said he has no problem with working alongside Jacques Lemaire
"I'm secure enough in what I do that I think I'd be crazy not to utilize a resource like Jacques," said DeBoer, who has Lemaire on his staff as a special assignment coach. "He won Stanley Cups as a player and as a coach. I just don’t understand the rationale of having a guy like that around and not using him. It wouldn't make sense to me."
Lemaire took over last year after the Devils fired rookie coach John MacLean
. DeBoer spent three seasons coaching the Florida Panthers
, so he's hardly a rookie, but he's still getting to know his new team in New Jersey. Having Lemaire around is helping DeBoer learn about everyone, something that's key on a team that has a lot of roster spots in play.
"I think there's jobs up for grab. I think when you look at our board, there's lots of opportunities on this team," said DeBoer, who also mentioned that first-round pick Adam Larsson
has looked "outstanding" so far. "I'm excited to see who comes out at the end."
DeBoer also said Zach Parise
looked 100 percent and that he doesn't expect there to be too much of a learning curve with his fast-paced style he's installing during training camp.
"We're not re-inventing the wheel," DeBoer quipped.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:02 PM
– Winnipeg Jets
right wing Blake Wheeler
has had quite an education in the past calendar year.
A trade from the Boston Bruins
to his current organization Feb. 18 cost Wheeler a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Then Wheeler found himself on the move again after his club relocated during the summer to Winnipeg. The move has meant a new home. But while Wheeler has registered back-to-back 18-goal seasons, he has another new coaching staff and management team to impress.
"I'm just trying to earn my spot here. I was given the opportunity to take on a bigger responsibility, more minutes, when I was traded, and I'm just trying to earn that same role, hopefully," Wheeler said.
"At this level, words don't really mean much. It's how you go out and play. I learned that in Boston. You've got to fit in wherever (needed) in order to accomplish the ultimate goal. Those guys won the Stanley Cup this year, and I missed out by a month or two. It was a very tough lesson, but a very valuable one."
Wheeler came to the club along with defenseman Mark Stuart
, and they were a pair of new faces in the dressing room. Now the entire club is in new surroundings with new coaching staff.
"This is all new faces, all new systems, all new everything," Wheeler said. "Coming over here as a team, as a group, it's new to everyone. I think it helps. We're kind of all new. We're all in this together, and I think it brings the team together (more quickly)."
But the challenge also presents an opportunity for a young club to begin the process of molding itself into an elite-level organization.
"It's weird, and it's exciting. We get the opportunity to make this NHL franchise what we want it to be," Wheeler said. "To be accountable to one another, to pay attention to detail, to make this a place where you want to be."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:57 PM
-- One of the new faces inside the Blackhawks locker room belongs to 25-year-old left wing Rostislav Olesz
after Chicago acquired him this off-season in a trade that sent defenseman Brian Campbell
to the Florida Panthers
Olesz, Florida's top pick (No. 7 overall) in the 2004 Entry Draft, never lived up to his lofty draft slot in six seasons with the Panthers. Last season he logged just 44 games before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee – ending his year with six goals and 17 points.
After getting his official medical clearance to participate in camp drills and scrimmages Friday, Olesz hopes to have the same kind of career spark as former Panthers teammate Michael Frolik
seemed to get by coming to the Hawks in a trade last season.
"It's an honor for me to be here," Olesz said, after playing on a winning scrimmage team at Saturday's annual Training Camp Festival. "I will do anything they need from me. My best hockey's coming. Everything will be new for me and I'm looking forward to it. Anything I need to do I'll do. Whatever it takes."
As for his knee, he said this is the first time it's really felt 100 percent healthy since injuring it.
"There's no limitations," Olesz said.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:57 PM
–As opposed to previous years when they invited players on pro-tryout contracts, Ducks' camp is different this year.
There are no players on tryouts, and the competition is focused on the young forwards competing to fill out the third and fourth lines.
"Every player in our organization that we deemed has earned an opportunity for training camp – they're here," coach Randy Carlyle
"We feel that there are people in this camp that are going to surprise (you) to make our hockey club. There are jobs open, and because you were here last year, it gives you an advantage to some degree. But don't think that that's going to pave the way for a spot that should be given."
The Ducks have also switched venues, from their Anaheim practice facility, to Honda Center for the first three days, and there is an urge to develop chemistry before they open the season Oct.7 in Helsinki, Finland.
"I think in the past few years we've gotten off to bad starts and maybe that's why we're switching things," forward Bobby Ryan
said. "We've got a long time to come together before making that trip to Europe. I think this is a better way to do it. Instead of scrimmaging and battling against each other, we're actually playing together and getting used to one another."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:54 PM
Pronger was named the 18th captain in Flyers history on Friday. Crosby has worn the 'C' in Pittsburgh since the start of the 2007-08 season.
"I guess yes and no," Talbot said. "Sid was a young leader, but such a mature leader. From the first day he put a shirt on with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was the leader of the team. It's been six years and he's not only been a young leader, he's a pretty mature leader. And Chris has been playing forever. It's going to be great to have a new captain."
Talbot, who signed a five-year deal worth $9 million with the Flyers in July, agrees with Pronger that leaders don't all have to wear a letters on their jersey.
"Yeah, it's just a letter," Talbot said. "You need leadership on this team even though some guys don't have letters. In this room, you need everybody pushing in the same direction. Chris doesn’t need to be captain to be a leader. He'd be the same guy if he didn't have the captain, so everybody's pushing in the right direction. That's how we’re going to win some games."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:52 PM
It was an understandably emotional opening day of camp for Anaheim Ducks
defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky
, who had returned after attending the funeral of fellow Slovakian and longtime friend Pavol Demitra
Visnovsky flew into Orange County at 9 p.m. Friday night and was at practice 12 hours later.
"This last week was tough for me and my family and for people in Slovakia," Visnovsky said, his voiced tinged with emotion. "It's hard to say something. He was one of my best friends. I know his family. I know his kids and it's tough for the whole family. His wife is a very strong wife. Before I left I told her, 'I'll help you anytime.'"
Demitra was a member of the KHL team that died in a plane crash earlier this month. Visnovsky knew Demitra since he was 14 years old and his wife is good friends with Demitra's wife.
"I remember he was a very talented guy – one of the very best for his age," Visnovsky said. "It's unreal. It doesn't matter what he played – soccer or hockey – he was very talented. The last time I played with him was the world championship. He was our captain. I've got great memories of him."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:47 PM
-- Fans in Chicago got their first chance to see not one, but two guys named Toews wearing Blackhawks gear as teammates on Saturday. Well, sort of.
Now that 21-year-old David Toews
, younger brother of captain Jonathan Toews
, are part of the same organization, they're teammates. However, they were put on different teams for Blackhawks training camp, with the siblings facing each other in the first official scrimmage of the 2011-12 season.
Jonathan's team won 3-1 with the Hawks captain scoring a goal against veteran goalie Ray Emery
-- who's in camp on a tryout offer. David, whom the Hawks acquired in a Sept. 9 trade with the New York Islanders
, has seen better days. He played well, but his team lost both scrimmages and scored just one goal in each -- which clearly bothered him.
He also had a potential scoring chance thwarted by his older brother, who skated down into low slot and lifted his stick before he could get a shot off. At least, that's Jonathan's side of the story.
"He had a good chance in the slot there and I'm like, 'I can't let him have this one,' " the elder Toews said. "He just hung onto it too long. You've got to get rid of it. So, I had the time to go down there and kind of lift his stick before he got the shot off – but it was a good start for him. It's good to see that hard work's paid off.”
David apparently has the same competitive fire as his older brother, however, and he refuted the stick-lift claim.
“I had a lot of time, I knew that,” he said. “I was waiting for the goalie to go down and I just bobbled it. I'm not going to give him the credit for getting the stick on me, because I think that was my fault for bobbling the puck. But I had a good chance there. The puck just wasn't going in today.”
After spending two seasons playing for North Dakota, where Jonathan starred, the younger Toews played last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League – scoring 20 goals and adding 28 assists in 60 games before adding two goals and tallying five assists in six playoff games.
Now he's got a new opportunity with a team that's led by a very familiar face.
“I'm excited to be here and be with my brother,” said David, who's staying at Jonathan's place while he's in camp. “It's an exciting time. When we leave the rink, we do stuff together all the time. Sometimes we get sick of each other and sometimes we have those brotherly battles, but when it's all said and done we love each other as brothers and family and we're always there to support each other.”
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:41 PM
– A hoarse voice was an indicator that Paul MacLean
had much to say to his new team on the first day of training camp with the Ottawa Senators
. However, the head coach seemed pleased with the results Saturday.
"I enjoyed the day," MacLean said. "I might not be able to talk much tomorrow. Today was a good day; I thought it had great energy. The players were ready to go fast, and I think we did go fast. Sometimes (we did it) to the point of not executing as well as we wanted to, but the fact that we got up and down the ice and that the scrimmage went well, I was pleased with the whole day."
After the first day, both veterans and rookies stood out to MacLean.
"I thought [Daniel Alfredsson
] was great," he said. "I thought [Milan] Michalek was too, but I expected them to be very good. I thought [David] Rundblad was good again today, as was [Mika] Zibanejad."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:21 PM
KANATA, Ont. -- Mika Zibanejad
is experiencing his first taste of training camp with the Ottawa Senators
, and has yet to look out of place.
"The scrimmage was fun," Zibanejad said. "It was maybe the next level (compared to the Oshawa Rookie Tournament). It was really high-paced."
The young center confessed to having stars in his eyes while playing alongside one of his idols, Daniel Alfredsson
. Zibanejad skated on the same line as the captain and Milan Michalek
for both the practice and scrimmage.
"You have to pinch yourself in the arm every time you see him out on the same ice as you," Zibanejad said. "It was a dream come true, for sure."
Alfredsson admitted Saturday to being impressed with the 18-year-old.
"He's a powerful skater and strong on the puck," Alfredsson said. "It's fun to be out there with him. He's quite a bit younger than I am, so I'm going to hopefully let him do the backchecking."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:17 PM
SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Evgeni Nabokov
looked at the tumult around him in the New York Islanders
locker room and smiled.
Nabokov, the winningest goaltender in the history of the San Jose Sharks
, is trying to re-start his NHL career at age 36 after a season that began in the KHL and ended with him signing with Detroit, being claimed on waivers by the Islanders and opting not to report.
The Islanders retained his rights for this season. Now he's one of six goaltenders – and easily the oldest – looking for a job. It's something he hasn't had to do for more than a decade, but he said the pressure to perform is nothing new.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:16 PM
Certainly Winnipeg Jets
head coach Claude Noel
had some obstacles to overcome on his first day guiding his club.
Noel has a new roster to learn, the distractions inherent in playing in a Canadian market, and a fan base that has 15 years of pent-up NHL energy to release.
After three on-ice sessions, Noel had a new obstacle -- his hoarse voice. The chatty Noel can fill a notebook, and the loud crowd on hand forced Noel to raise his voice to be heard.
"I thought (the players') work ethic, their attention to detail, their attitudes all looked real good," Noel said. "I know it's the first day and there hasn't been any adversity, but I thought it was a tremendous first day for us."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:15 PM
The Bruins like to boast that they have two No. 1 goaltenders at their disposal.
To start this year's training camp, they at least have two healthy high-caliber netminders. In addition to Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas
, Tuukka Rask
is back and ready to go after offseason knee surgery.
Rask, who as Thomas' backup posted a .918 save percentage and 2.67 goals-against average in 29 games, had his meniscus scoped early in the summer and started off camp on a healthy note by getting through a 90-minute on-ice session without a problem.
"I feel good," he said. "It's a little, the range of motion is not perfect yet, but there's no pain. So that's a good sign."
There are no limitations on what Rask can do, so as long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks he should be ready for game action once the preseason schedule kicks off.
"I felt good out there. It's only one practice, but we'll see when game time comes how it goes," Rask said.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:14 PM
VOORHEES, N.J. --
So what does Jaromir Jagr
remember most about the Philadelphia Flyers
-Pittsburgh Penguins rivalry when he played for 11 seasons in the Steel City?
"I remember I always had a tough time to play," Jagr told the media following the opening day of Flyers training camp at the Virtua Flyers Skate Zone on Saturday. "Nobody wanted to play the Flyers back then. You knew it was going to hurt to play against them -- that's what I remember. They had the big guys and they always drafted strong guys who played physical."
Jagr was asked if he feels he betrayed the fans of Pittsburgh by signing a one-year contract with the rival Flyers.
"First of all, when I was making the decision, I never thought the Pittsburgh fans would want me back," he said. "Every time I played there and touched the puck, they were booing me … I didn't think it was going to be such a big deal if I'm not going to sign with Pittsburgh.
"On the other side, it was my decision. I've only been a free agent twice and I had to do what is best for me. If I hurt somebody, I apologize because I didn't want to, but I don't understand why people can be that mad about my decision."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:12 PM
KANATA, Ont. --
It took an overtime period to end the Ottawa Senators
' scrimmage on Saturday morning, but it was Team Kyte who came out on top against Team Marsh, 3-2.
Team Kyte led off the scoring, with Milan Michalek
dishing off a feed to captain Daniel Alfredsson
, who put one past Brian Stewart
. Team Kyte would wrap up the first period with another goal, when Shane Prince
capitalized on a giveaway from Louie Caporusso
. Prince then found Maxime Gratchev, who squirted the puck past Stewart, for a 2-0 lead. Stewart prevented Team Kyte from going up 3-0 late in the period, when he made a highlight-reel glove save on Corey Cowick
In the second period, Team Marsh was able to get on the board. As Mike McKenna
scrambled down low in his net, Peter Regin
was able to jostle the puck free and get it to Mark Borowiecki
, who buried it below McKenna's pads.
A few minutes later, Nick Foligno
impressed with a spin-o-rama backhand on McKenna, knotting the score at two.
With the scrimmage still tied after 50 minutes of play, an overtime frame was needed. It was only two minutes in when Alfredsson sent a beautiful pass to Milan Michalek
, who backhanded the puck top-shelf on Robin Lehner
"It was a little bit rocky in the first few minutes there," Alfredsson said. "But I thought it was a pretty good pace overall."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:35 PM
ARLINGTON, Va. --
When Sergei Fedorov
left the NHL to play in his native Russia after the 2008-09 season, he also left the Capitals with a big vacancy. Two years later, the search for a second-line center continues in Washington.
"I've given a lot of thought to it," Coach Bruce Boudreau
said, "and it will probably clear itself up next week. We'll probably experiment a little bit in the first three pre-season games with positions and stuff."
Since Fedorov's departure, the Caps revolving No. 2 center position has been filled by Brendan Morrison
, Eric Belanger
, Tomas Fleischmann
, Brooks Laich
, Marcus Johansson
, Mathieu Perreault
and Jason Arnott
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:31 PM
If the Winnipeg Jets
are going to find success this season, they will need to rely heavily on goaltending.
The tandem of Ondrej Pavelec
and Chris Mason
helped pilot the former Atlanta Thrashers to a hot start last season, and the Jets could need Pavelec to step into the League's echelon of elite goaltending.
"He definitely has superstar talent," Mason said of Pavelec. "He has a good demeanor, great mindset, and he is a great athlete in the net. When he on last year, he was one of the best in the League."
Pavelec turned 24 last month, and the 35-year-old Mason will balance mentoring the young goaltending while keeping himself ready to step into the crease at a moment's notice.
"We've got a great relationship," Mason said of his dealings with Pavelec. "I'll play when I'm told to play. That's what I intend to do."
Mason is familiar with the role, having broken into the League with the Nashville Predators
and their then-workhorse goaltender, Tomas Vokoun
. Mason eventually moved into starting roles with the Predators and St. Louis Blues
before coming to his current organization.
Last season in Atlanta, Pavelec logged 58 games, while Mason appeared in 33 contests.
"I started out my NHL career as a back-up," Mason said. "I've had the opportunity to play every role."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:26 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. --
Signing Brad Richards
and Mike Rupp
during the summer was a needed and warranted step in the evolution of the current New York Rangers
. But, coach John Tortorella is still banking on a number of young players to win roster spots in this training camp.
"We have to try to continue to try to infuse more youth into our lineup," Tortorella said. "During the summer we went in a direction and got a couple of veteran guys. That's where we are in our process. We're still a very young team now, but we added some people at the other end that can mentor. There are spots open and there is going to be competition along the way because we want to continue to try to get young guys in there.
"They have to earn it, but it's a good situation for them," he continued. "There are a number of young kids out there that are going to vie for a spot depending on how they play."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:23 PM
The fresh-faced Sabres will need every ounce of their youthful energy in preseason. Starting Monday, Buffalo plays five exhibition games in seven days.
"I'm not sure how that came about," goalie Ryan Miller
said after the final skating session of the day. "Five in seven, with this many guys, I'm not sure it's going to be as big of a grind as we think."
Head coach Lindy Ruff
said heavy rotation will be the preseason strategy.
"We're going to have to use a lot of personnel," Ruff said. "You don't want to over-use anyone."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:22 PM
Long-time NHL defenseman Teppo Numminen
didn't need much convincing to take the ice again Saturday.
On the first day of full Buffalo camp, Numminen was officially named a new assistant coach of the team and happily skated during its practices. Numminen said he and Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier
had informally talked about the hiring and that it gained serious traction right before preseason opened. The Sabres were Numminen's final NHL team, from where he retired after the 2008-09 season.
"We always had good talks about hockey. He said they are going to do something with me. I said, 'I'm in,'" Numminen said. "Everything is kind of new, but old. It's a great honor. I'm just really happy to be part of their (young players') career."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:18 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. --
Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer
waited until both sessions of on-ice testing were complete to finally get on the ice to test out his injured knee. Sauer, who worked with assistant coach Mike Sullivan
, even got to skate with pucks, which weren't supposed to show up until Sunday's scrimmages.
Sauer, who has tendinitis in his knee, is not doing any of the on-ice testing, but if he feels good enough after he skates Saturday, Rangers coach John Tortorella said he will participate in the camp's first scrimmage Sunday.
"We didn't want him to jump into the type of skate like that today when he hasn't skated a whole bunch," Tortorella said. "We'll get him tested sooner or later, but we'll see if he can get into the practices and scrimmages tomorrow."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:14 PM
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Claude Giroux
doesn't consider there to be any added pressure despite the fact Mike Richards
and Jeff Carter
-- two of the team's offensive staples -- were traded in the offseason.
"There's not a lot of pressure, but more excitement and a challenge and there's a lot of ice time to be taken," Giroux said following the opening day of training camp at the Virtua Flyers Skate Zone.
"When you see something like that, it kind of makes you push more and play harder and better. Guys are pretty excited for the preseason games. We have a lot of new players and Mike and Jeff are gone, but there's another spot open for ice time and power-play time. The young guys have a chance, so it's an opportunity."
Giroux, who led the Flyers with eight power-play goals, 51 assists and 76 points last season, centered a line with 39-year-old right wing Jaromir Jagr
and left wing James van Riemsdyk
on the opening day of training camp on Saturday.
"When I was a kid, I looked up to (Jagr) because he was obviously one of the best young players to ever play," Giroux said. "So, anytime you have a guy like that on your line, it's pretty exciting. He's that kind of player who knows how to score goals and is always in good position to get open. He's been in the league for a long time, so anytime you have a player like that on your line it's good. I'll be playing with JVR too, so I was playing with two strong guys."
Only time will tell if the JVR-Giroux-Jagr line remains intact throughout training camp since coach Peter Laviolette
has stressed that no line is safe at this stage in the preseason.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 3:09 PM
BROSSARD, Que. --
An intra-squad scrimmage on the opening day of training camp is rarely anything to get excited about for most NHL veterans.
But for Josh Gorges
and Max Pacioretty
, Saturday's scrimmage was a pretty momentous occasion.
It represented the first semblance of competitive hockey for the two coming back from major injuries, and at least for Gorges, it made him a bit uneasy.
"To be honest, there were some nerves last night and this morning about how it was going to be when the checking came in and the speed picked up a little bit," Gorges said. "It was fun to be out there with the guys playing some hockey."
Gorges hasn't played in an NHL game since December, when he damaged the meniscus in his right knee, the same knee that had a torn ACL in it since he has playing junior hockey with the Kelowna Rockets.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:59 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Adam Larsson
was quiet and chose his words carefully following the first day of his first NHL training camp. The fourth pick in the 2011 Entry Draft has the size (6-foot-3, 197 pounds) and experience from playing in Sweden to jump into the NHL right away.
The Devils also lack a surplus of experienced, viable defensemen, which gives Larsson a pretty good chance to crack the roster.
But Larsson was careful not to say he deserved to be there, just that he was going to do his best during camp and let the coaches make their decision.
"I'm just going to do my thing," Larsson said. "The biggest difference between here and Sweden must be the speed and skills of the players. Hopefully I'll get used to it. Of course this is a dream for me. It's huge for everybody to be part of an NHL team. I'm just going to do my best and hopefully I will make the team."
Does the 18-year-old believe he belongs here?
"Of course I believe it," Larsson said. "I'd be stupid if I didn't."
Veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador
got his first glimpse of the first defenseman taken in this year's draft and liked what he saw.
"I think he's definitely got the skill set," Salvador said. "You just can't put too much pressure on him. Playing defense in this league is very difficult. We just need to let him develop and not put too much pressure on him."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:56 PM
NEWARK, N.J. --
Defenseman Bryce Salvador
missed all of last season because of a concussion. To avoid another this season, he offered some sage advice.
"Don't get hit in the face with a slap shot," he said.
That's how Salvador said he first suffered his injury two years ago and some hits during the preseason last year led to his concussion. He was back on the ice Saturday at the start of Devils training camp and said he feels no effects from the injury.
"I think it was definitely a learning experience, showing that not all concussions are the same," Salvador said. "It was just fun to be back. It's been a long time since I've had that kind of energy going through me. It was a 'nice to be alive' kind of thing. It's good to be back out there."
As long as Salvador doesn't suffer any setbacks, he will be one of the Devils' top-six defensemen and could find himself playing alongside rookie Adam Larsson
. The two were paired at times during the day's second session, but Salvador said that wasn't planned and just happened as they were cycling through seven defensemen during the session.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:50 PM
VOORHEES, N.J. --
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
is making no promises. In other words, just because Danny Briere
and Scott Hartnell
have played together the last two season, doesn't necessarily mean they'll be together to start the 2011-12 campaign.
Briere and Hartnell had much success on a line with Ville Leino
the past two seasons in Philadelphia. Leino signed with the Buffalo Sabres
in the offseason, however, leaving a hole on one of the team's most prolific units. Laviolette was asked who has the best shot at replacing Leino.
"I wouldn't assume that Briere and Hartnell will be together to open the season and I truly believe that everything is open and Hartnell may be a fit with somebody else," Laviolette said following the opening day of training camp Saturday. "I think Paul Holmgren
said it best to the players, nobody should really assume anything. It's wide open with regard to what we're looking at and that's why to ask about one person (Jakub Voracek
) being with two guys who have been together … it's going to shake up.
"We're going to take a look at different options and see what we see out here."
Briere and Hartnell actually opened the first day of camp on a line with offseason acquisition Voracek.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:49 PM
It is fair to say Winnipeg Jets
first-round pick Mark Scheifele
was nervous for his first on-ice NHL practice?
"Very, very nervous," Scheifele admitted. "But once you get on the, it kind of went away."
It is also OK to say Scheifele's smile won't be going away anytime soon.
"Probably not," he said. "It won't wear off for a while."
Winnipeg selected the 18-year-old Scheifele with the seventh pick at the NHL Entry Draft in June, and the centerman has impressed in the early going. After a busy summer spent in the gym building upon his 6-foot-2, 181-pound frame, he was among Winnipeg's best players at the prospects tournament in Penticton, B.C., earlier this week.
But now Scheifele, who recorded 22 goals in the 2010-11 season with the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts, is competing against NHL veterans. He anticipated a far quicker pace once the NHL veterans joined him on the ice, and they more than confirmed that expectation.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:40 PM
It seems like Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
is always providing another example of why he's among the hardest workers in the entire NHL.
Despite getting back from Pavol Demitra
's funeral in Slovakia yesterday, Chara still took part in the Bruins' second on-ice session today on the first day of training camp at TD Garden.
Chara worked a little on a defense pair with Bruins 2011 first-round draft pick Dougie Hamilton
Other interesting combinations in the second group of players:
* Chris Kelly
centered second-year forward Jordan Caron
and free-agent invitee Chris Clark
-- maybe that is a preview of the team's shutdown third line?
* Zach Hamill
, the Bruins' thus-far-disappointing 2007 first-round pick, between freshly re-signed Brad Marchand
and first-year pro Tyler Randell
. This is going to be a big year for Hamill, who's now in his fourth year as a pro. Perhaps some of Marchand's insight into what it takes to make it can rub off.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:34 PM
Kanata, ON --
Training camp kicked off Saturday for the Ottawa Senators
, with three teams taking the ice at the Bell Sensplex for practices and a scrimmage.
headed up Team Kyte (each squad is named after an Ottawa alumnus) and appeared to be skating well after recovering from off-season back surgery.
"I felt good," Alfredsson said. "I felt better than I expected, so that's good. It was a good first day and I'm real happy with it."
The Senators' captain demonstrated that he still has wheels in the Team Kyte practice, when he blew past defenceman Sergei Gonchar
in a two-on-one drill. Stephane Da Costa
, who showed his own speed during the Oshawa Rookie Tournament, also struggled to keep up with the 38-year-old veteran.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:30 PM
SYOSSET, N.Y. -- John Tavares
has cast his lot with the Islanders, committing himself through the 2017-18 season after signing a six-year contract this week.
He's glad to have all the hubbub about his future out of the way.
"I'm excited about it," he said after the first day of training camp at Iceworks, "but it's kind of nice to put it all behind me and move on, get ready for the season. It was an emotional week; there was a lot going on. It's nice to kind of catch up on some rest and get ready for the season."
After four years of missing the playoffs, he also feels it's time for one of the NHL's youngest teams to start turning talent and promise into results.
"We have to approach it that way," he said when asked about the importance of moving ahead after back-to-back 13th-place finishes in the East. "There's only so long when you can gain experience and go things and feel like you can make mistakes and learn from them.
"Obviously it's still going to happen -- we're still growing in a lot of ways. But it's time to move on and really use training camp to get us ready for the season. We need to be more consistent and put it together for 82 games."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:28 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. --
Rangers center Artem Anisimov
didn't need the doctors to tell him Friday he needed an MRI. Anisimov wanted to go get one just to be sure there was nothing structurally or otherwise wrong with his left knee, which didn't bother him when he was skating but did hurt a bit when he walked.
Anisimov on Saturday expressed his relief when he found out that the MRI was negative, that his knee was clean and that he could resume his normal routine, which included getting on the ice with his group for the day’s round of fitness testing.
"I don't understand what the doctor was saying, but he just said, 'You're alright, you can skate and go,' " Anisimov said with a smile. "I had some concern, but I feel fine."
Asked what he wants to show coach John Tortorella in this training camp and preseason, Anisimov talked about confidence. He was only semi-happy with how he played last season (44 points in 82 games) and he wants to improve on everything in what should be his third full season.
"I want more points, more ice time," he said. "I need to show it on the ice. I can talk forever, but I need to show it on the ice."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:26 PM
Penguins forward James Neal
doesn't have to convince coach Dan Bylsma
he can be a 30-goal scorer in the NHL. Persuading the Penguins' fans might take a little while longer.
Neal, acquired from Dallas late last season to add a reliable scorer to the Sidney Crosby
line, never got to play alongside Crosby because of the concussion that sidelined the Penguins' captain during the second half of the 2010-11 season. Neal, pressing to prove to Pittsburgh that he could be the scorer he was in Dallas, wound up with only one goal in 20 regular season games and another in the playoffs after producing 21 goals in 59 games with the Stars.
Regardless, teammate Jordan Staal
said, "I think personally Neal is going to do some great things this year."
Some of those once-skeptical fans must feel the same way, as they gave Neal a warm ovation during the first day of training camp on Saturday.
Staal believes that going through an entire training camp and season with the Penguins will prove far less stressful to Neal than making a hasty switch in teams and conferences late in a season. Bylsma concurs.
"He scored more goals than Tyler Kennedy
last year, and Tyler Kennedy
had a breakout year," Bylsma said, referring to Kennedy's 21-goal season. "To our fans, the feeling isn't the same because we didn't see him score those goals in our jersey. James Neal
is a plus 20-goals scorer and we think he can get to 30."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:15 PM
CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp
wasn't made available to speak with the media during Friday's media day prior to Chicago's training camp, but the injured Blackhawks forward was feeling good enough to speak with fans during Saturday's sold out Training Camp Festival.
He was interviewed over the public-address system by Hawks TV analyst Ed Olczyk, who emceed the annual event -- which features practice sessions and two scrimmages fans bought $5 tickets to attend.
"I'm feeling good," said Sharp, who underwent an emergency appendectomy this past Monday after feeling ill at a Hawks charity golf outing. "I wish I could be out there with the guys."
Sharp was told by doctors that he'd likely be out three-to-four weeks recovering from the procedure, which places his eventual return near the start of the regular season. When does he plan to return?
"Hopefully as soon as possible," Sharp told the crowd. "The timeline was three-to-four weeks, so right around the start of the season. I don't want to miss any games, so I'm pushing to play the first game of the season."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:14 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Marian Gaborik
was scheduled to skate with the first group on the ice here Saturday, but he was instead doing some off-ice testing to catch up from missing all of Friday's activities. The Rangers star right wing, who said he feels good and is ready to go, is instead skating with the last group that will do the on-ice fitness testing Saturday.
Gaborik returned to New York on Friday after spending six days in Slovakia to attend the funeral for his good friend and former teammate, Pavol Demitra
, who was killed in the Central Russia plane crash that wiped out the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team on Sept. 7.
"To get back with the guys, with the group and to get this skating and testing done and jump right back into the preseason games -- hopefully I'll recover from the jet lag as quick as I can and be ready," Gaborik said.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:13 PM
SYOSSET, N.Y. --
At age 38, Brian Rolston
is starting over -- and he's doing it with one of the NHL's youngest teams.
Rolston is one of the new faces on Long Island this fall after being acquired from New Jersey in an offseason deal. After one day of camp, he likes what he sees.
"There's so much talent here," he said. "It's a matter of guys taking that talent and taking a leadership role and moving forward. (Matt) Moulson, (John) Tavares -- you can go around the whole room. There are skilled young players. It's time to take that next step; really take control and be leaders on the ice.”
General manager Garth Snow
brought Rolston to the Island partly to provide some veteran leadership -- Rolston's career includes a Stanley Cup with New Jersey and success internationally with Team USA.
"Guys have really embraces having me here," Roslton said.
But Rolston doesn't feel he's the only leader.
"We can all be leaders and move this franchise forward," he said. "We want to compete for the Stanley Cup, and we have to take that one game at a time. That should be our goal."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:10 PM
It's one thing to work out on your own or skate in games of shinny with your teammates to test whether you're fully recovered.
It's a whole other thing to go through NHL-caliber fitness testing and then an actual two-hour practice.
, who has claimed for weeks that he's fully recovered from last season's year-ending concussion, said he's come through the early part of training camp with no problems.
"I wasn't worried at all. I just feel like it's in the past," he said after the Bruins' morning session on their first day of training camp at TD Garden. "I hadn't even thought about it. And when I do [stuff] on the ice or do fitness training, it doesn't even cross my mind. I just try to do as well as I can and there's no headaches or anything like that."
At one point Horton took a spill and took out teammate Matt Bartkowski
. While it wasn't on purpose, it can only help Horton get a little contact out of the way.
"I fell myself so it was nice. It just feels good to be back," he said.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:09 PM
SYOSSET, N.Y. --
With six goaltenders in camp, five of whom have NHL experience, Islanders coach Jack Capuano
will have some decisions to make. For now, though, he's in no rush.
Capuano told the media after Saturday's initial practice at Iceworks that he hasn't even thought about how he'll divvy up playing time during the exhibition games.
"I get a lot of questions about the goaltending, but for me, it's the competition," he said. "You can't have anything better than that. That's the way it should be -- not just in goaltending, but on defense and at the forward positions as well."
The Isles have veteran Rick DiPietro
, rookies Kevin Poulin
, Mikko Koskinen
and Anders Nilsson
, as well as Al Montoya
, who was impressive after being acquired late last season, and former San Jose Sharks
goaltender Evgeni Nabokov
, who was claimed on waivers last season but opted not to report.
Capuano is making no promises to anyone about playing time.
"The guys that perform and play to the level they need to will be in the lineup."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:08 PM
If it wasn't for the white helmet he wore that signified no contact, Sidney Crosby
offered no sign that he is recovering from a concussion.
Crosby skated at full speed, pushing himself longer and faster than he has at any time during his injury layoff, while staying on the ice for nearly 70 minutes during the Pittsburgh Penguins
' first training camp practice on Saturday. He drew loud cheers from a large crowd at Consol Energy Center when he snapped off a wrist shot that hit the net with authority and when he did anything that was reminiscent of a healthy Crosby.
Considering this was only the first day of camp, there was a lot of that. Or exactly how Crosby planned it.
Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 5, exerted himself at a 100 percent pace for the first time since he began working out in advance of this season -- and with no apparent ill effects. When Crosby recently pushed himself at a 90 percent pace, he had a relapse of the concussion-related symptoms that have prevented him from being cleared for full contact.
"That was a really good pace -- it was tough but fun to feel it again," Crosby said. "I worked as hard as I possibly could out there. For that period of time, that's the longest I've went at that pace. It felt good."
Unless the symptoms return -- and Crosby said they have largely vanished the last few weeks -- he plans to practice every day at this same pace until he is cleared for contact. The Penguins have no offered no hint when that might be.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:34 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Marian Gaborik
is in the building after returning from Slovkia, where earlier this week he attended the funeral for good friend and former teammate Pavol Demitra
. However, the Rangers star right wing is not on the ice with his group.
There is no word yet on why Gaborik is not skating.
After sitting out the first day of fitness testing as a precaution, Rangers center Artem Anisimov
was on the ice with his group Saturday afternoon, doing the sprint drills that everybody else was doing.
Anisimov was kept off the ice Friday after the doctors felt he needed to go for an MRI on his knee (it was not specified which knee). The MRI came back clean, so Anisimov was cleared to participate.
Rangers coach John Tortorella said that at some point Anisimov will have to make up the fitness testing he missed Friday.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:33 PM
NEWARK, N.J. --
It's coach Peter DeBoer
's first training camp with the New Jersey Devils
. He's arrived on the scene as a bench boss who wants to push the tempo and dictate pace.
It seems that's his philosophy during practice, too.
Following the team's first of three sessions on Saturday, players talked about how quickly things were moving during their first practice with their new coach.
"There's not a lot of standing around," forward Zach Parise
said. "All of the drills were high-paced, lot of guys moving during the drills, so that's good. And not a lot of rest in between drills, so your heart rate is up pretty much the whole time."
, who will likely open the season as the team's No. 1 center with Travis Zajac
out because of an Achillies' tendon injury, was on a line with Parise throughout most of the first session. But don't read too much into or think that DeBoer wants the duo to work together.
"They put us in the first group so we formed our own line," Elias said. "I don't know if that's our line, but the coach didn't say anything."
Elias also remarked about DeBoer's style.
"You got to like it. He wants to play aggressive," Elias said. We're going to forecheck, be in their face. Maybe in the past we were too passive and he wants to change that."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:29 PM
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin
's Sept. 1 arrival in D.C., his earliest to start the season since his rookie year, was one of many signs in the weeks leading up to training camp that things would be different this year.
As camp opened this morning, a new attitude surrounds this Capitals bunch, regular-season darlings for four years with wins in only two playoff rounds to show for their efforts.
"When guys are younger you give them a little more leeway for mistakes on and off the ice," said veteran Mike Knuble
, entering his third season with the Caps. "You have to live with some errors on the ice and you live with some errors off the ice -- you put up with guys being late, figuring stuff out, not being on-time, but that was erased last year for the most part and I expect this year will be even tighter."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:28 PM
With the way his season ended last year, the low-key days of summer brought some extra peace of mind for Sabres forward Derek Roy
Roy suffered a torn quadriceps muscle in his left leg last December and did everything he could to return in time for Buffalo's Game 7 loss to Philadelphia in the opening round of the playoffs. It was a tough way to jump back into action and Roy was well short of full strength.
But his doctors told him the extended off-season rest would settle his jangled nerves and rusty body. Saturday, Roy was zippping around with linemates Thomas Vanek
and Jason Pominville
and said he didn't even recall last season's hectic return until it was brought up.
"After the final game, I talked to the medical guys," Roy said. "They said your knee is fully healed. He (the doctor) said get into your normal summer routine, you';ll get back into normal healing mode. It was a good summer of training. It was a more relaxing environment. Today was just another day of practice with my teammates. It was fun to be 100 percent."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:27 PM
The normal excitement of preseason carries a little extra juice for Buffalo forward Thomas Vanek
The Sabres will begin their schedule with contests in Germany and Finland. Vanek, a native of Austria, predicts his team will be stirring up a buzz with its European tour.
"It's going to be great, not just for myself and my family but for the fans in general," Vanek said after his first practice of the season Saturday morning. "The game has grown so much over there."
Vanek will enjoy the hoopla, but won't rely on the semi-homecoming alone to put any more jump into his game.
"If there is a button like that (to play harder), I think I'd turn it on all the time," he said.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:26 PM
NEWARK, N.J. --
There's really no shortage of topics to discuss with Zach Parise
at this point of the season, but the one that's not likely to go away until April is his future with the New Jersey Devils
Parise is one of the League's bright young stars, but after signing a one-year contract this offseason, he will be staring at unrestricted free agency if the Devils don't lock him up. Following his practice session on the team's first day of training camp, the questions started.
Q: Do you expect to have this hanging over you all season?
"I was anticipating people asking that questions, and I'll give you the same answer throughout the whole season," Parise said respectfully. "We're working on it. Nothing's going to change. Mentally, I feel great. I feel fresh. I'm excited to start."
Q: Any worries the contract stuff will become a distraction?
"Not at all," Parise said. "I guess I haven't really been exposed to media all summer, so no one's been asking, but I don't foresee it being a problem. Like I said, you can ask me now or you can ask me in two months -- we're working on it. I'm sure people are going to keep reminding about it, but I don't see it affecting my play."
Another question Parise has been asked consistently is whether he wants or expects to receive the team's vacant captaincy. Having just a one-year contract, it makes it a complicated issue for the Devils. Parise said he would accept the 'C' if coach Peter DeBoer
wanted to bestow it upon him. But goaltender Martin Brodeur
talked about how there's no easy choice.
"The pick of a captain is when you pick one, you need to make sure you pick the right one," Brodeur said. "I grew up watching the Montreal Canadiens
and being the captain in that organization is a big deal. And lately, we've been kind of swapping around captains. We're trying to build a little more of an organization that's going to have the stability we had for years with Scotty (Stevens) as captain.
"A guy like Zach, he's going to be looked at as a big leader, just like (Ilya Kovalchuk
), just because of the talent they have and the impact they have on other players. That's why they have to take their time. They have to make sure all the pieces are in places, if that's the route (Parise as captain) they want to go."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:22 PM
SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Michael Grabner
and Frans Nielsen
form two-thirds of one of the fastest lines in the NHL. Kyle Okposo
, the third member of the trio, knows he has to work hard to keep up.
"Today especially, with the skating tests and the laps we were doing at the end -- I was working on my skating all summer because I know how fast those guys are," Okposo said after Saturday's initial workout at Iceworks. "It was tough to keep up with them, but it's fun at the same time. We kind of push each other."
Nielsen said Okposo looks like he'll have no trouble keeping up.
"He looks good," the Danish center said. "You can see that he worked his butt off this summer. I can see that he's in great shape."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:21 PM
WINNIPEG -- Derek Meech
grew up in Winnipeg and had just celebrated his 12th birthday when the original Jets departed for Phoenix in 1996.
Meech took in the original Jets' final game in Winnipeg on April 28, 1996 when the Detroit Red Wings
eliminated the home club in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The loss sent the Jets on their way to Phoenix.
Fifteen years later, Meech's Jets connection was made whole again Saturday as a 27-year-old defenseman embarking on his eighth pro season.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:19 PM
One of the keys early in the Bruins' Game 7 win in the Stanley Cup Final at Vancouver was the relentless play of their fourth line.
The trio of Daniel Paille
and Shawn Thornton
centered by Gregory Campbell
was ferocious on the forecheck and barely allowed the Canucks to possess the puck, let alone move it out of their own end.
So what was the deal with Paille and Campbell skating with rookie Jamie Arniel
and Thornton skating with draft pick Alexander Khokhlachev
and rookie Calle Ridderwall
during the Bruins' first on-ice training camp practice at TD Garden today?
"Yeah, there's a coup," explained the always-witty Thornton. "They went into Claude's office yesterday and he wouldn't tell me that, but I'm pretty sure put that onto him. No, they wanted to put me with more skilled guys, so I went with the young Russian kid because they felt that might game suited his better."
Thornton, who lives in Boston year round, started skating in informal practices with his teammates a couple weeks ago. So getting onto the Garden ice with his colleagues for something sanctioned by the team under the watchful eye of the coaches was a step up in importance and intensity.
"It felt good. It wasn't ridiculously tough," he said. "It was good to get our legs back underneath us and there's a little bit of rust for everybody, I'm sure. There's lots of time to get ready."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:46 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur
opened what could be the final training camp of his NHL career Saturday. The surefire Hall of Fame goaltender, who will turn 40 in May, is in the final year of his contract with the New Jersey Devils
and is not currently negotiating a new one.
Brodeur isn't willing to say this season will be his swan song, instead opting to take a wait-and-see approach.
"This is going to be the same as every other season," Brodeur said. "I'm not going to change my approach because I feel it could be my last. I just go out there and try to have fun and enjoy the game. After that, I'll evaluate how I feel about continuing. I'm approaching this season like any other season."
If general manager Lou Lamoriello came to Brodeur with a contract for next season during this one, would Brodeur consider signing it before the summer?
"I don't know. Everything will be in front of me at one point and I'll have to make decisions," Brodeur said. "Right now, I'm not in the middle of making a decision. But who knows if something is brought up to you, you put it in your head and see how you feel and make your decision then."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:35 PM
If Sidney Crosby
didn't realize how much he was missed by Penguins' fans, he does now.
Crosby, whose popularity in Pittsburgh might be unrivaled by any other athlete, took the ice to a standing ovation during his first training camp practice Saturday. While players such as Evgeni Malkin
and Marc-Andre Fleury
also drew loud cheers when they first stepped onto the ice, the greeting given to Crosby was movie-star like. There were additional cheers when he merely skated up and down the ice and even more when he began passing the puck during routine drills.
Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 6 because of a concussion, stood out from the rest of his teammates for reasons other than his still-evident hockey skills. He is wearing a white helmet, rather than a black one like the rest of his teammates, to signify that he cannot be involved in contact. Crosby, whose recovery from the concussion remains ongoing, has been cleared to practice but still cannot take part in any scrimmaging or contact drills. He also wore the white helmet during an informal team workout Friday.
Crosby expects camp to be more intense and physically demanding than the practices were when he resumed working out with his teammates on March 31. He stopped practicing during the Penguins' first-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay when his concussion symptoms returned.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:30 PM
BROSSARD, Que. -- Michael Cammalleri
gave the throngs of Montreal Canadiens
fans at the first day of training camp something to cheer about Saturday, scoring the tying goal with less than a minute to play and the winner in the shootout in the first scrimmage of the season.
, a University of Michigan product in camp on a tryout, scored two goals in the game, while Dany Masse, Alexander Avtsin
and Ian Schultz
also scored in the game.
But the biggest impression was left by Russian defenseman Alexei Yemelin
, who laid a number of thunderous hits, most notably a hip check that sent Max Pacioretty
spinning into the air. Pacioretty gave Yemelin a dirty look as he got up.
In addition to that, Yemelin made some smart plays with the puck and looked more like a veteran than a player making his North American debut after seven seasons of pro hockey in Russia.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:25 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. --
Rangers coach John Tortorella talked Friday about third-year defenseman Michael Del Zotto
needing to "have a swagger about himself, but it also needs to be the proper swagger."
Del Zotto addressed that same topic Saturday in a brief chat with the media, saying he knows that he has to "bring my swagger back. It seems like a broken record here, but when I have my swagger I know what I can do and I definitely fit in."
That's interesting rhetoric, but Del Zotto knows he has to use training camp and the preseason schedule to prove to Tortorella and the Rangers brass that he fits into the team's blueline plans for the start of the season. He had a tremendous rookie season as an 18-year-old in 2009-10, but Del Zotto admittedly made mistakes both on and off the ice last season and it cost him a roster spot as he was sent down to the Connecticut Whale on two separate occasions.
He wound up breaking his finger in early March and then required sports hernia surgery in early May. Del Zotto, who was humbled by his experiences last season, said he worked harder than ever this past summer to bulk up and get in the proper shape in order to show the Rangers that he belongs.
"I learned from my experiences, my mistakes last year," Del Zotto said. "It's a whole different year and I'm a whole different person this year."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:22 PM
SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Jack Capuano
is no stranger to training camps as both a player and an assistant coach. But this year is different -- for the first time in the NHL, he's the boss.
Capuano took over as interim coach last November when the Islanders fired Scott Gordon
. The team's strong second-half showing earned him a full crack at the job -- much to the delight of his players, who responded to his lower-key approach.
is among the Isles who's glad to have Capuano in charge on a full-time basis.
"Cappy's going to be great," Okposo said after Saturday's initial workout at Iceworks. "He really grew as a coach last year, and we're all looking forward to working with him again."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:08 PM
SYOSSET, N.Y. --
It's been a tough few years for Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro
, whose list of injuries could fill a couple of blog posts.
But he says he's healthy and ready to go.
"This is the first summer in quite a while where I didn't have to rehab from surgery," DiPietro said after Saturday's initial workout at Iceworks. "That's a positive, and I've done everything in my power physically to get healthy for camp and hopefully stay healthy.”
DiPietro played just 26 games last season, but that was still his highest total since 2007-08. He missed much of the Isles' second-half surge because of a broken jaw.
"I wasn't part of the team for a lot of it, but from the All-Star break on, we played fantastic," he said. "We had one of the best records in the League. As long as we can stay healthy -- that's the biggest thing for us."
DiPietro turns 30 on Monday, but he says he doesn't feel old -- even on one of the NHL's youngest teams.
"I wouldn't consider myself old yet," he said. "I'm still in my late 20s; I've got a couple of more days."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:07 PM
CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith
just wasn't himself last season.
The Blackhawks' fastest skater even looked a little sluggish at times and had a striking number of mental mistakes that wound up being costly during the course of the season -- just one season removed from winning the Norris Trophy, Stanley Cup and helping Canada win the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
On the surface, his overall numbers weren't terrible. He scored 7 goals and added 38 assists, but the 28-year old Keith also finished with a minus-1 rating -- the first time since his rookie season that he finished in the negative.
Then during a grueling seven-game first round series against the Vancouver Canucks
, Keith openly talked about what many had hypothesized all season long regarding his slump. He was simply burned out, mentally as much as physically.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:06 PM
Unlike last season, Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford
comes into training camp as the undisputed starter after an impressive rookie season.
He played in 57 games and finished the regular season with a 33-18-6 record and 2.30 goals-against average before starting all seven games of a first-round playoff loss to the Vancouver Canucks
. Still, the fact Crawford started the final 27 games of the regular season is something Hawks coach Joel Quenneville
would rather not repeat.
"If you want to put a number on (Crawford), the mid-50s (in starts) is probably a number we're looking at," Quenneville said. "I think that will be a healthy dose for him. I don't expect or envision him doing what we did last year, playing the number of games he did in a row – but you've got to compliment him on how well he handled the intensity and the significance of those games, none better than Game 7."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 11:46 AM
Space is rarely at a premium where the wide-open Canadian prairie begins on the outskirts of Winnipeg.
But the Winnipeg Jets
' first day of on-ice workouts brought a jammed MTS Iceplex, packed parking lots and fans huddled around the glass surrounding the Jets' practice rink.
Veteran Nik Antropov
will go down in Winnipeg hockey history as the first Jets player to take the ice here. The Winnipeg faithful greeted Antropov and his teammates with a loud burst of cheers to commemorate the city's entry back into the League.
Later in the session, captain Andrew Ladd
drew a rise from the crowd with a shifty deke, the first of several bursts from a crowd that analyzed every move a Jet made.
Ladd, Bryan Little
and defensemen Zach Bogosian
and Tobias Enstrom
were among the established veterans to partake in the first group of players to take the ice.
Winnipeg natives Kevin Clark
and Derek Meech
also participated. Two groups of players will follow later in the day.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 11:39 AM
BROSSARD, Que. -- Montreal Canadiens
center Scott Gomez
did not take part in the first scrimmage of training camp Saturday.
Gomez was on the ice when his group began its first practice session of the day, but he was not out there towards the end.
It is unclear why he left. Gomez did not take the ice for the scrimmage. The Canadiens should provide an update later in the day.
The scrimmage gave the crowd of more than 1,000 people their first chance to watch defenseman Alexei Yemelin
in action, seven years after the Canadiens made him the 84th pick in the 2004 Entry Draft. Also, hulking 2010 first round pick Jarred Tinordi
was throwing his 6-foot-6, 215-pound body around with a few bone-crunching hits in the early going.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 11:16 AM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. --
Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer
was a no-show for his group's on-ice session for the second straight day at the MSG Training Center.
Sauer is dealing with tendinitis in his right knee, Rangers coach John Tortorella said Friday. Tortorella said then he didn't think the injury was serious, but he was concerned because he missed a day of training.
Now Sauer has missed two. Tortorella will likely address Sauer's situation when he meets with the media Saturday afternoon. Sauer had 15 points in 76 games last season.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 11:02 AM
If Pittsburgh Penguins
forward Evgeni Malkin
is looking for a good omen to open his season, maybe this is it.
Malkin, admittedly not the most confident player in shootouts, beat Marc-Andre Fleury
with a forehanded attempt on a penalty shot during the first period of a training camp-opening scrimmage Saturday at Consol Energy Center. Malkin has tried a variety of moves and strategies during his career in an attempt to find a reliable way to score on breakaways, and he was continuing to search when his 2010-11 season ended prematurely with a right knee injury on Feb. 4. He later had surgery to repair two torn ligaments.
In his career, Malkin is 7 of 29 (24.1 percent) in shootouts.
This is a pivotal season for Malkin, who is coming off not only a shortened season but a less-than-satisfying one in which he has 15 goals and 22 assists in 43 games only two years after leading the NHL with 113 points during the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning season in 2008-09. With Sidney Crosby
's status for the start of the season uncertain as he recovers from a concussion, the Penguins are relying on Malkin to carry their offense until Crosby returns.
"I think he's a motivated guy right now," coach Dan Bylsma
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:53 AM
SYOSSET, N.Y. --
One player who is not here at Iceworks is rookie defenseman Mark Katic
, who's spent most of the last two seasons in the AHL at Bridgeport but played 11 games last season with the Isles. He dislocated his left shoulder in one of the rookie games against Boston earlier this week and reportedly is headed for surgery, leaving his season in doubt. The 22-year-old had surgery on the same shoulder two years ago.
Another player not here today is rookie forward Rhett Rakhshani
, who sustained a concussion in Monday night's rookie game and is still not skating.
One oft-injured Islander who looks ready to go is goaltender Rick DiPietro
, who's hoping for his first healthy season in three years. He's still wearing the old-style plain blue mask he donned after suffering a broken jaw in early February -- odd to see a goalie these days without an extensively decorated mask.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:51 AM
When the defending Stanley Cup champions stepped onto the ice at TD Garden for their first practice of 2011-12 today, a crowd of close to 1,000 people greeted them with rowdy cheers.
Practices today and tomorrow are open and free to the public.
Although the group that took the ice at the stroke of 10 this morning was only half of Boston's training camp roster, no one was disappointed. By far the biggest cheers were for goaltender Tim Thomas
, whose Vezina, Conn Smythe, Stanley Cup wins of a season ago have put him in a position to achieve that type of reaction pretty much anywhere he goes in New England.
Among those in the first group of skaters was Nathan Horton
, who was on the ice in an official capacity for the first time since Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Horton is symptom-free after the concussion he suffered that night in June. After the team's physicals and conditioning tests Friday, head coach Claude Julien
confirmed the star forward had the green light for full practices.
"As we speak right now, everything seems as though it's a go," Julien said. There's been no red flags yet, and we don't expect any."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:50 AM
VOORHEES, N.J. --
One of the Flyers big free-agent acquisitions, Jaromir Jagr
, will be holding a press conference with the media at 1 p.m. here at the Flyers Skate Zone.
He seems to be taking in much of the session and watching attentively while working drills with his linemates. There doesn't seem to be much interaction with other players, but that was probably expected. He seems to have nice jump but it is strange to see him wearing orange and black.
He opened the first practice on a line with left wing James van Riemsdyk
and center Claude Giroux
. He also participated in 2-on-1's with Max Talbot. Jagr and Talbot signed deals with the Atlantic Division champion Flyers in the offseason.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:42 AM
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff
didn't waste any time getting a look at what he said was one of his main objectives in camp. In the first of three sessions early Saturday morning, he tossed new forward Ville Leino
into the middle of a line between Tyler Ennis
and Drew Stafford
Leino played center earlier in his career, but was on the wing in Philadelphia. Buffalo, which signed him as a free agent, has for now moved Leino into the spot that was at times filled by departed pivot Tim Connolly
"I think they are all good players. Both can score and make plays," Leino said after skating with his new partners. "Once we get clicking, we'll have a lot of fun. I felt good skating in the middle. For me, it's easier. It comes more natural."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:40 AM
If the momentum of the Traverse City prospects tournament carries over to the regular Buffalo training camp, the Sabres could be looking at a lot of youth pushing for jobs up front.
On the first day of full training camp Saturday, head coach Lindy Ruff
kept the line of Marcus Foligno
, Luke Adam
and Zack Kassian
together. That trio helped Buffalo's prospects win at Traverse City.
While it's unlikely that the three will all start the season in Buffalo, Adam, who played 19 games with the Sabres last year, said it doesn't hurt to make that the objective.
"We had a great tournament in Traverse City. Hopefully, we play together here this week, and it will carry over," Adam said Saturday morning. "The goal right now is to be here. Personally, it';s realistic. I'd be disappointed if I didn’t stick here."
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:39 AM
SYOSSET, N.Y. --
The Islanders hit the ice for the first time this season when the first of two groups jumped on at 10 a.m. Former Isles captain Doug Weight
, who retired during the summer, traded in his sweater and pads for a baseball cap and whistle, serving as an assistant coach as the drills began.
Coach Jack Capuano
, running a camp as the boss for the first time after having the "interim" tag removed shortly after last season ended, wasted little time pushing his troops for more effort in skating drills.
With lots of veteran free agents still looking for jobs, the Islanders offered a camp invite to 38-year-old defenseman Steve Staios
, who played with Calgary last season and has 936 games on his NHL resume. The Isles say he's scheduled to arrive at camp on Sunday.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:38 AM
BROSSARD, Que. --
The Montreal Canadiens
are holding their first day on ice at training camp 2012 on Saturday with 60 of the 64 players here strapping on the skates.
The biggest omissions is defenseman Andrei Markov
, who is still recovering from December knee surgery and said Friday he is not sure when he will be able to return. In addition, 2009 first-round pick Louis Leblanc
is not skating as he, too, recovers from May shoulder surgery, and fellow prospects Joonas Nattinen
(second round, 2009) and Olivier Fortier
(second round, 2007) are also injured.
The Canadiens have split the remaining 60 players into three groups, and the way they've been split is of some interest because each of them feature three forwards that could make up the team's top three lines when the regular season begins.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:36 AM
ARLINGTON, VA --
Twenty-two Capitals, including six defensemen, have taken to the ice for Washington's first on-ice session of training camp. Tom Poti
is not among them.
The 34-year-old defenseman was among the 23 players listed in 'Group A' but it comes as little surprise that he is not on the ice.
Poti was limited to just 21 games last season due to nagging groin injuries and general manager George McPhee
suggested at the team's exit meetings last May that Poti's career "could be in jeopardy."
Poti signed a two-year extension last September -- a deal that starts this season and comes with $2.875 annual salary cap hit -- but McPhee operated this summer as though Poti would not start the campaign.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:35 AM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Rangers will only be conducting half of their preseason here in North America before they head to Europe for a two-week stretch that includes four exhibition games in five nights in four different countries. They open the regular season in Stockholm with games against Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 7 and 8.
So, with so much travel and a plethora of games coming up in foreign countries, they have to take more than the final roster plus an extra goalie to Europe. Coach John Tortorella said Friday that he expects to have between 30 and 32 players on the plane to Prague after the Rangers play their final North America preseason game Sept. 26 in Philadelphia.
That, of course, gives more players a chance to get an up-close look at earning roster spots that may or may not be available.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:28 AM
Saturday wasn't a day to sleep in for Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are offering free admission to their first two days of training camp, and thousands of fans filled much of Consol Energy Center's lower bowl for a 9 a.m. EDT session Saturday. Concession stands were open and parking was free at lots adjacent to the uptown arena, and a majority of the fans wore team jerseys or apparel.
The 52 players available for Saturday's practice were divided into three groups, with forwards Jordan Staal
, Chris Kunitz
and James Neal
and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
among the first on the ice. Sidney Crosby
, cleared to practice but not for contact as he recovers from a concussion, was in the third and final group that was scheduled to practice around noon.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:27 AM
VOORHEES, N.J. --
So we're here at the Flyers SkateZone in Voorhees, N.J., for the opening day of Flyers training camp.
The place is absolutely packed as the organization has plenty of activities for the fans. While it's still early, reporters present here in the press area are saying coach Peter Laviolette
is already deviating a bit from what the veteran coach had on his board yesterday.
Right off the bat, Laviolette has Danny Briere
centering Jakub Voracek
and Scott Hartnell
. So it's possible Flyers' fans will see offseason acquisition Voracek replacing Ville Leino
on that line. There's Claude Giroux
in the middle between James van Riemsdyk
and Jaromir Jagr
. Blair Betts
is the pivot between Jody Shelley
and Andreas Nodl
and Michael Nylander
was with Wayne Simmonds
and Max Talbot.
and Sergei Bobrovsky
are the two goalies on hand in the first session.
Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:18 AM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Brandon Dubinsky
reports no problems with his left leg, which bothered him last season after he had to miss five games in January because of a stress fracture. Dubinsky also said he changed his skate boots and adjusted his offseason training program in order to make sure the problem doesn't arise again.
In order to keep the amount of pounding on his legs down, Dubinsky moved into a softer boot and stopped jogging. He did not run in the Rangers two-mile timed run Friday and won't do it Saturday either. He's doing conditioning bike rides instead.
The bike, in fact, is something Dubinsky has become quite familiar with. He rode a stationary bike this summer and worked on a machine that simulates running but keeps the stress on his legs and knees to a minimum.
"We're not exactly sure what happened or what caused it, but there is no pain now where last year there was certainly some pain and a lot of complaining before we did the testing and found out what it was," Dubinsky said.
Posted On Friday, 09.16.2011 / 6:13 PM
It has been a long summer, but hockey is back for the NHL this weekend. Players were at training facilities taking physicals and getting reacquainted Friday, and nearly every team will conduct its first official practice Saturday.
Such an occasion is worthy of a name like "Super Saturday," so we're going to try and provide coverage worthy of a day that is highly anticipated by everyone in the hockey community. NHL.com has correspondents in many NHL cities, and they will be filing dispatches to this blog throughout the day.
Want to know how a star player looks on the ice after joining a new team or returning from an injury, or maybe which goalie has the best-looking new mask? Check back here throughout the day Saturday for many, many updates from around the NHL.
Also be sure to watch for updates from our correspondents on Twitter, who will be using the hashtag #NHLSuperSaturday to help fans follow along with ease.