Parise misses first day of Wild camp, listed as day to day
Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise didn't take part in either of the two practices on the first day of training camp on Friday, though coach Bruce Boudreau said he's not too concerned.
"It's day to day with him," Boudreau told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "As soon as the trainers tell me he's ready to go, he'll be here. I really don't think it's overly serious. … With three weeks [until the season] we want to make sure everybody hits Game 1 on the upswing."
Parise, who reportedly tweaked his back recently, did some skating exercises in the morning but didn't practice.
Asked if the 33-year-old would have been able to play Friday if there were a regular-season game, Boudreau said, "I'm sure if you asked him, he would be."
Parise had 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) in 69 games last season, his lowest point total in a full season since 2005-06, when he was a rookie with the New Jersey Devils. He missed 13 games because of a lower-body injury and illnesses throughout the season. Parise has 661 points (318 goals, 343 assists) in 830 NHL games, and 71 points (32 goals, 39 assists) in 94 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Video: Zach Parise on the Wild's offseason transactions
Rask feeling difference in first practice after offseason groin surgery
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask felt the difference Friday after his first practice since successful groin surgery May 9.
"It's nice to move now because it doesn't hurt and you don't feel like you're going to rip your leg out every time," Rask said after the first day of training camp at Warrior Ice Arena.
Rask injured his groin during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey playing for Team Finland and played through the injury all last season. He was 37-20-5 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 65 games. He had a 2.24 GAA and .920 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Bruins lost in six games to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference First Round.
Although Rask is reluctant to plan for playing a specific number of games this season, general manager Don Sweeney has mentioned in the past that 60 might be the right amount. Rask agreed that may be ideal, assuming the Bruins can find the right backup. Veteran Anton Khudobin is competing with prospects Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre for the No. 2 job.
Finding the right 22 games for Rask to miss could make him fresher than he has been the past few seasons down the stretch and into the playoffs; he played in 64 games in 2015-16, 70 in 2014-15.
"I think it's just when you look at it it's only 10 games or five games. But when those 10 or five games fall into a really heavy scheduling period, I have to play three games in four nights or four games in six nights, even a couple weeks in a row, so that obviously wears on you," Rask said. "So if you can cut one game here or there and then give yourself a two-day break when a couple years ago, last year, you didn't get it, I think that's going to pay off in the end"
Rask, 30, believes it's both a physical and mental challenge when his workload increases and rest becomes scarce. Then his veteran wiles have to take over.
"I don't stress about the games too much, but obviously it wears on you because you never have the time to kind of relax when normally you would have a day to recover and then have a practice day," Rask said. "Then you just have the day to recover and then you jump into the game after, so it wears on you physically and mentally. You grow older, you get more experience, you kind of learn how to manage that. But I think that the biggest thing is we're looking to make the playoffs and we're looking to make a run in the playoffs, so you want to be fresh come June."
-- Matt Kalman
Rangers still in market for another center
The New York Rangers are still in the market to acquire another center, ideally for their third line, general manager Jeff Gorton said Friday.
"We're not the only team looking," Gorton said.
J.T. Miller, who has played primarily on the wing in his four NHL seasons, is going to be given the first chance to fill the third-line center position behind Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes. But that won't stop Gorton from trying to land an established center, especially since coach Alain Vigneault has said his preference is to keep Miller on the wing.
Veteran David Desharnais and rookies Lias Andersson, Cristoval Nieves and Filip Chytil are also candidates that will get a chance to win the job in training camp.
"We're comfortable with J.T.," Gorton said. "We know he can play all three positions. He hasn't played a lot of center at the NHL level, but we know in the past in his career that he's been able to do it, so preseason we'll take a look at him there and we'll see where it goes."
Gorton indicated he'd be willing to trade a defenseman to acquire a center. The Rangers have depth on defense with rookies Neal Pionk, Alexei Bereglazov and Sean Day joining Anthony DeAngelo as players expected to push for a roster spot.
Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brendan Smith, Brady Skjei, Nick Holden and Marc Staal entered training camp as the top six on the depth chart. Vigneault, though, said Staal, who is entering his 11th season, all with the Rangers, might have to win his job in camp.
"If it looks like we have nine or 10 NHL defensemen that's going to be good for us," Gorton said. "It means we'll have six really good ones, seven really good ones here and we'll see what we can do with the other ones. Whether they go to Hartford [of the American Hockey League] or whether we have to move somebody, those are all situations that are going to play out in the next three to four weeks."
-- Dan Rosen
Trouba, Jets have discussed contract extension
Defenseman Jacob Trouba said Friday he has talked to the Winnipeg Jets about a contract extension but no agreement has been reached.
Trouba also said he will not be saying much about the matter in the future.
"[I talked to them] briefly," Trouba said. "Nothing really came about from it. I'm focused on the season and I've never really been one to talk about it during the year. For me, I'll just worry about that next summer and just go play some hockey."
Trouba, 23, can become a restricted free agent on July 1, 2018.
As a RFA in 2016, Trouba asked to be traded and missed the first 15 games of the regular season. He eventually signed a two-year, $6 million contract with the Jets on Nov. 7, 2016. It has an annual average value of $2.81 million this season.
-- Tim Campbell
Devils looking for first-line center
Adam Henrique, Marcus Johansson and Pavel Zacha are in the running to be the New Jersey Devils' first-line center in the absence of injured Travis Zajac, coach John Hynes said.
Zajac is expected to miss the first four months of the season after having surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle on Aug. 17, so Hynes needs to find a top-line center before the regular-season opener against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 7. Zajac was set to play between left wing Taylor Hall and right wing Kyle Palmieri.
"I think there are three or four guys we're considering," Hynes said Thursday. "Henrique, Johansson and Pavel Zacha are those three players based on their experience and where they're at right now."
While Hynes didn't mention Nico Hischier, the rookie center is also a possibility. It all depends on how well the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft adjusts to practices and game situations in the preseason, which opens against the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center on Monday.
Henrique has played left wing and center during his seven seasons with the Devils. He has 243 points (118 goals, 125 assists) in 431 NHL games and has won 47.3 percent of his faceoffs.
Johansson, acquired in a trade with the Capitals on July 2, said he is most comfortable at left wing or center. He set NHL career highs in goals (24), points (58) and plus/minus (plus-25) in 82 games for the Capitals last season playing left wing on a line with center Evgeny Kuznetsov and right wing Justin Williams. He is 41.8 percent on faceoffs in his NHL career.
"We've talked to Marcus," Hynes said. "He was drafted as a center. He played some center in Washington when they had some injuries so we'll try him in both positions [during training camp]."
Zacha played left wing and center for the Devils as a rookie last season and had 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists). He won 40.3 percent of his faceoffs.
-- Mike G. Morreale
Hornqvist missing start of Penguins training camp
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist will miss the start of training camp with a hand injury.
Hornqvist was not listed on any of the three practice groups when camp opened at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Friday. However, general manager Jim Rutherford said he expects Hornqvist to be ready when the defending Stanley Cup champions open the regular season against the St. Louis Blues at PPG Paints Arena on Oct. 4.
"He had a procedure done in the summer on his hand," Rutherford said. "This is just finishing up the procedure here just prior to camp. So, I would expect him to rejoin camp for full workouts at some point. It will probably be closer to the end of camp."
Hornqvist missed six games with an upper-body injury sustained in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators on May 13. He returned in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators and scored the winning goal with 1:35 remaining in the third period of Game 6 to clinch Pittsburgh's second consecutive championship.
Hornqvist had nine points (five goals, four assists) in 19 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing with 44 points (21 goals, 23 assists) in 70 regular-season games.
-- Wes Crosby
Kadri, Zaitsev not on ice for Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri was not on the ice because of an upper-body injury on the first day of on-ice sessions at training camp in Niagara Falls. Coach Mike Babcock did not consider the injury serious and expects him to participate on Saturday.
"Nazem should be ready to go tomorrow," Babcock said. "It's nothing, how's that?"
Defenseman Nikita Zaitsev also did not participate in on-ice sessions because of a middle-body injury. Babcock said he does not expect Zaitsev to skate on Saturday, saying he is "a couple of days away."
Toronto defenseman Roman Polak, who is at training camp on a professional tryout contract, participated in the practice session but did not play in the scrimmage. Polak sustained a broken fibula in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Washington Capitals.
"I don't know that so what we're doing is Polak is going to decide on that," Babcock said when asked if Polak would play in a preseason game. "I talked to Polak today, he did not want to scrimmage today, he just wanted to do the skate. The way I look at things in life, it's real simple. You do good things for us and you work hard for us, we'll bend over backwards for you."
-- Dave McCarthy
Drouin centers top line for Canadiens
Jonathan Drouin centered a line with left wing Max Pacioretty and right wing Ales Hemsky during his first training camp practice with the Montreal Canadiens on Friday.
Center Tomas Plekanec, left wing Charles Hudon and right wing Artturi Lehkonen formed another line in that group, with 19-year-old rookie defenseman Victor Mete paired with Shea Weber on defense.
"We're just trying to figure out here the individuals and see what they do together," coach Claude Julien said. "And we'll have a chance throughout the training camp, eight pre-season games and the red-and-white game, we'll have lots of opportunities to maybe mix and match and see what we feel could be the best combinations when the season starts."
Defenseman Karl Alzner, who signed a five-year, $23.125 million contract as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was paired with Jeff Petry in the first group to practice, with center Phillip Danault between left wing Alex Galchenyuk and right wing Brendan Gallagher, and center Torrey Mitchell with left wing Paul Byron and right wing Andrew Shaw.
"He defends well, he's always played against top lines, he does a great job there," Julien said of Alzner. "Not to say he can't add some offense, but (Petry) is a guy who likes to skate the puck up the ice, support the attack, and sometimes those make good combinations. ... But for me, after one day it's too early to kind of start making some commitments or promises and that kind of stuff, so we're going to really check it out closely and see what comes out of it."
-- Sean Farrell