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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 5:44 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: Kane shoots and scores, in shootout

CHICAGO -- 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

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Jets Camp: Fehr not ready; Lots of Moose connections

WINNIPEG – 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

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Avalanche Camp: A solid first showing for Landeskog

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – 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

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Ducks Camp: Hiller confident, Selanne easing back

Jonas Hiller 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

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: No Hossa yet for Hawks

CHICAGO -- 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

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Blachkaws Camp: Emery makes good first impression in Chicago

Despite allowing three goals in his first scrimmage appearance with the Blackhawks, veteran goalie Ray Emery looked good to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Saturday.

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

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Super Saturday

Islanders Camp: Streit survives day one

SYOSSET, N.Y.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

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Super Saturday

Devils Camp: DeBoer happy to have Lemaire’s help

NEWARK, N.J. -- 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

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Jets Camp: Wheeler moves twice, hopes to settle in

WINNIPEGWinnipeg 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

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: Olesz looking forward to fresh start

CHICAGO -- 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.
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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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