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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 1:10 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Lamoriello: Kovalchuk will be here Wednesday

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said Sunday that forward Ilya Kovalchuk will miss the first three days of training camp in order to travel back from Russia, where he was playing during the lockout, and get his family situated in New Jersey.

Kovalchuk, who played in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday, is expected to arrive in New Jersey on Tuesday and join the Devils for practice on Wednesday.

Lamoriello said Kovalchuk is not considered in violation of his contract and therefore will not face any discipline from the club for missing the first three days of training camp, which began Sunday at Prudential Center.

"I am very comfortable with this situation," Lamoriello said. "There is no penalty involved. There is no disrespect involved. I've talked to him and I feel comfortable where we're at. We're anxious to get him back here and get him in the lineup with the rest of the people and there will be no repercussions."

Lamoriello said he spoke to Kovalchuk when it appeared the lockout was close to ending and Kovalchuk explained to Lamoriello that it was important to him to play in the KHL All-Star Game.

"With the situation he had and what they had done for him, naming him captain in St. Petersburg, he had a conversation with me and said, 'If it gets to a certain point I really would like to play in the All-Star Game and not just simply leave here,'" Lamoriello said. "He said, 'I have tremendous respect for my country. They have treated me a certain way, given me opportunities, named me captain [of a KHL All-Star team].'

"I said we would take it day by day and when it did get close, although I could not give him official permission simply because of the injury situation if that took place, I did understand that this was something that was important to him. He played 30-plus games and I had no problem with this situation."

Lamoriello said he's not concerned with how Kovalchuk's situation could be viewed by other players on the team.

"I think if you know me well enough there is no way we'll ever put an individual in front of the team," Lamoriello said. "I do not have any hesitations. If it were different I'd tell you."

Lamoriello did admit it is not ideal that Kovalchuk will miss the first three days of camp.

"You certainly want all the players here, but this is not the first time something like this has happened," he said. "Throughout my years I've been through just about every type of thing, but this is something where there has been total communication. This is not something there is any, right now, concern whatsoever from my part.

"You have to understand this is not putting him in a different light or making him an exception; this is extenuating circumstances as far as I'm concerned. This is not the norm. I've had a conversation with him. I know him well enough. We've been through a lot. This will be the last time I will talk about it, but I'm comfortable with it."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 12:53 PM

NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Sabres sign Jochen Hecht

The Buffalo Sabres announced Sunday that center Jochen Hecht has agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

Hecht, 35, played in 22 games with the Sabres during an injury-plagued 2011-12 season, scoring four goals and finishing with eight points. The native of Mannheim, Germany, tied his career-best mark with a three-game goal streak from Nov. 26 to Dec. 2.

The Sabres acquired Hecht from Edmonton prior to the 2002-03 season. He has 133 goals and 331 points in 566 regular-season games with Buffalo. Hecht ranks 20th in franchise history in games played, goals and points. He leads all active Sabres with a career plus/minus rating of plus-94, ranking him 23rd among active NHL players.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 12:25 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Del Zotto, Gilroy agree to terms with Rangers

The New York Rangers and restricted free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto have agreed to terms on a new contract.

Del Zotto is the first restricted free agent to sign under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which took effect Saturday after both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

TSN's Bob McKenzie reports that the two-year deal carries an average annual value of $2.55 million.

Del Zotto, 22, was chosen No. 20 in the 2008 NHL Draft by the Rangers and made his NHL debut the following season. As a rookie, he had nine goals and 37 points. last season, he had 10 goals and 41 points, both of which led all Rangers defensemen. He has played in 201 regular-season games, scoring 21 goals and adding 68 assists for 89 points, along with 88 penalty minutes.

The Rangers also announced that defenseman Matt Gilroy has come to terms on an NHL contract. Gilroy, a former Ranger who became a free agent last summer, had been playing with New York's farm team, the Connecticut Whale, after signing an AHL deal. He has six goals and 15 points in 34 AHL games.

Del Zotto and Gilroy were on the ice Sunday when the Rangers opened training camp. However, first-line center Brad Richards missed practice; he's reportedly suffering from the flu.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 12:22 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Hurricanes swap Anthony Stewart for Westgarth

The Carolina Hurricanes continue to be among the busiest teams Sunday, the first day of the 2012-13 season.

Sunday afternoon, the team announced it acquired rugged forward Kevin Westgarth from the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Anthony Stewart and a fourth-round pick in 2013 and a sixth-round pick in 2014.

"We were looking for a character, team guy who can play a gritty role for our team," said Rutherford. "Kevin is a good addition to fill that spot."

It is the second trade pulled off by general manager Jim Rutherford on Sunday. In the morning, the Hurricanes traded backup goalie Brian Boucher and prospect Mark Alt for minor leaguer Luke Pither. Boucher became expendable when the club invited veteran goalie Dan Ellis, who was playing for the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League, to training camp to be the back up to Cam Ward.

The club signed Ellis to a one-year deal for $650,000, Rutherford announced Sunday afternoon.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 11:51 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Bergevin meets with Subban, hopes to sign him soon

Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was in Toronto on Saturday to meet with the agent for unsigned restricted free agent defenseman P.K. Subban.

Bergevin said on the first day of Canadiens training camp Sunday that he had a face-to-face meeting with Subban and agent Don Meehan and remained hopeful to have the defenseman signed and in camp as soon as possible.

"I went to Toronto yesterday to meet with Donnie and P.K. It was a face-to-face meeting," Bergevin said. "Two things I won't discuss in public are contract negotiations and trades. But the negotiations with P.K. have been respectful on both sides. I have a lot of respect for Donnie Meehan -- he's been doing this for 30 years. We're working on it and we hope to come to an agreement soon."

Subban is coming off his entry-level contract and has expressed his desire to play in Montreal, but said he's also looking for a deal he considers fair. Bergevin suggested the fairness of that contract is where the two parties don't agree.

"The last six months dealing with Donnie, it's been healthy, it's a good discussion," Bergevin said. "Obviously we have different views on this … but all I'll say is our goal is to sign P.K. I believe his goal is to play in Montreal, we just haven't agreed yet."

As teams around the NHL are looking to fill out their rosters over the course of a shortened training camp prior the start of the 2012-13 season, Bergevin quickly shot down a suggestion he may want to trade Subban if the two sides don't agree on a contract soon.

"My goal is to sign P.K. Subban," Bergevin said. "I'm not even thinking of trading P.K. I want him to be a part of the Montreal Canadiens. He's a young defenseman who is developing that we want to have here, and we will do everything possible to come to an agreement."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 11:35 AM

By Nathan MacKinnon -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Nathan MacKinnon Draft blog

MacKinnon recaps WJC; previews Prospects Game

Nathan Mackinnon is in his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward has 23 goals, 55 points and a plus-29 rating in 32 games for the Mooseheads in 2012-13. As a rookie, MacKinnon finished second to 2012 first-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres) in voting for the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award. MacKinnon, who will serve as captain for Team Cherry at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax on Wednesday, recently represented Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. He has offered to provide NHL.com with a monthly blog leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hi everybody!

I would just like to start off by talking about how exciting my past month has been.

I was very fortunate to be invited to the Team Canada World Junior try-out camp and later managed to earn a roster spot on the team. The experience was amazing playing on a stage like that. Obviously, the result isn't what we expected out of ourselves but you can't take that experience away from us. For me, it was an adjustment coming into a checking role. [Canada coach] Steve Spott asked me to provide energy and physicality for the team and I was ready to do that. I wanted to help the boys in that aspect because that was my role.

It was cool to see certain guys step up. One of those players happened to be my close friend, Jonathan Drouin. I have been asked many times if Jonathan elevated his game for the World Juniors, but to me he just continued his dominating play from Halifax and carried it over to the big stage at World Juniors. He really made the difference in some games and helped the team get some wins.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 11:04 AM

NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Chiarelli: Thomas wants to play ... next season

Goaltender Tim Thomas still intends to sit out this season, but Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Sunday that the two-time Vezina Trophy winner told him he wants to play in 2013-14.

Chiarelli confirmed during a Sunday morning press conference at the opening of training camp that Thomas won’t attend camp or play this season, but said the 38-year-old goaltender wants to come back for next season.

Thomas is signed through the upcoming season. But he said in June via his Facebook page that he intended to sit out 2012-13 to remain with his family in Colorado. The Bruins will not have to pay Thomas, but they will have to carry his $5 million hit on their salary cap.

"We'll end up suspending him," Chiarelli said. "He will be on our cap unless I trade him."

Tuukka Rask, Thomas' backup for the past two seasons, will assume the starter's role, with rookie Anton Khudobin backing him up.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 10:01 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Capitals recall three, loan Poti to Hershey

The Washington Capitals made several roster moves Sunday, including the loaning of veteran defenseman Tom Poti to Hershey of the American Hockey League for a conditioning assignment.

Poti hasn't played a game in two years and is trying to come back from chronic groin issues and a fractured pelvis. He said this week that he is healthy and wants to try to make the Capitals this season.

The club also announced that goalie Braden Holtby and defenseman Cameron Schilling have been recalled from the Bears. Also, forward Tom Wilson has been recalled from Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League.

Holtby is expected to battle Michal Neuvirth for the No. 1 goalie job. He had been playing in Hershey during the lockout and compiled a 12-12-1 record with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage, which is third-best in the AHL.

Schilling, in his first pro season after a four year career with Miami University, has three goals and four assists with the Bears. He is one of 10 defenseman on the training camp roster.

Wilson, 18, who was drafted in the first round (No. 16) by the Capitals in the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. He has recorded 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) and 59 penalty minutes in 31 games with the Whalers this season.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 9:56 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Foster signs free-agent deal with Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers admit that they need help on the blue line and took a significant step in that process Sunday, signing free agent Kurtis Foster.

Foster, 31, has been in the NHL for 11 seasons and has 41 goals and 114 assists to go along with 283 penalty minutes in 382 games.

Last season, Foster played for three NHL teams. He started the season with Anaheim, but was traded to New Jersey and then moved to Minnesota. He finished the season with four goals and 14 points in 51 games.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound defenseman played for Finnish club Tappara during the lockout, scoring three goals and three assists in 13 Elitserien games.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.13.2013 / 9:29 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Report: Palmieri signs qualifying offer with Wild

According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, forward Nick Palmieri has accepted his one-year, two-way qualifying offer from the Minnesota Wild.

Palmieri, 23, held out during the summer before signing an American Hockey League deal to play with the Houston Aeros this season. In 36 games with the Aeros, the right wing had nine goals and 10 assists and was a plus-9.

Traded to Minnesota last season as part of the deal that sent Marek Zidlicky to the New Jersey Devils, Palmieri had no points in nine games with the Wild.

He has 25 points in 87 NHL games.

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Quote of the Day

I think everybody wanted the puck tonight. Everybody wanted to be part of the solution and it reflected on the way we played. It's tiring when you have to chase the puck but tonight was one of those nights where everyone really wanted to make a play and wanted to have an impact on the game.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis after a 2-0 win against the Flyers
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