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Training Camp Buzz: Sharp impressive in return to Blackhawks

35-year-old forward healthy after hip surgery, glad to be back following two seasons with Stars

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to the 2017 preseason! Veterans hit the ice Friday, and the first preseason game will be played Saturday.

This is a busy time, with rookies looking to make a name for themselves and veterans aiming to lock down roster spots. Each day, we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here is the training camp news for Saturday:

 

Sharp looks fit, ready to go in return to Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp's return to the Chicago Blackhawks is off to a solid start.

After posting good numbers in the team's physical fitness testing Thursday, the 35-year old forward scored a goal in a scrimmage at United Center on Friday. Sharp, who signed a one-year contract with Chicago on July 1 after two seasons with the Dallas Stars, had hip surgery March 28.

"I was up there," Sharp said of the Blackhawks' annual fitness-test competition. "I've got a couple years on these guys, so I use that as an excuse, and a surgery to fall back on. But I was really pleased with my results and how I felt on the ice. I'm ready to go."

Sharp said the surgery was a success.

"It's a scary summer when you go through any kind of surgery," he said. "I knew I felt good, but the fitness testing, I hit all my numbers I wanted to hit in the past [with the Blackhawks], so that just kind of confirms how I feel out on the ice."

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was pleased with what he saw from Sharp, who helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

"He really did come into camp in great shape," Quenneville said. "When we look at the numbers and the guys' conditioning levels, Sharpie was right up there, one of the highest veteran guys that are here. He looks quick, he looks sharp, he looks ready and he looks like he's hungry and happy to be here. We're looking for a great contribution from him."

-- Brian Hedger

 

Blackhawks will mull options to replace Hossa

If the Chicago Blackhawks gain relief against the NHL salary cap by placing veteran Marian Hossa on long-term injured reserve, they plan to be patient in using it.

Hossa, 38, will miss this season with a progressive skin disorder and is expected to be placed on LTIR on Oct. 5, when Chicago opens the season against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins at United Center.

"I think that's something you don't game plan too much," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Friday of replacing Hossa with a possible gain in cap space. "You want to see how it unfolds over the next few weeks here, and see how our team takes shape. I think on that one we're just probably going to take a wait-and-see approach."

-- Brian Hedger

 

Talbot doesn't mind heavy workload for Oilers

Cam Talbot expects a slightly lighter workload this season after playing an NHL-high 73 games for the Edmonton Oilers in 2016-17, but the 30-year-old goalie said he doesn't mind the heavy use.

"I'm approaching [this season] that I'm going to go out there and play as many games as possible," Talbot said Saturday. "I feel better the more that I play, and I just kind of get in a rhythm. Obviously, 73 is a high number, and we'll probably tone that back a little bit, but who knows? The schedule is a little more spread out this year, there is a little more rest between games, so if they want me to keep playing, I'll keep playing."

Talbot is going into his third season as Edmonton's No. 1 goaltender. Last season, he helped the Oilers qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

Talbot had a 44-22-8 record with a 2.39 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage and seven shutouts last season. He had a 2.48 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 13 playoff games for the Oilers, who were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in seven games in the Western Conference Second Round.

"It's [determined] by performance, by feel, by fatigue level, and the success we're having at any given time," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said of Talbot's workload. "You can throw out a number (of expected starts), and it doesn't mean much, because if he's not playing well, he's not going to go in all the time. If he's playing well, we're going to ride him a lot."

-- Derek Van Diest

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm7: Talbot makes a pair of saves on Ritchie

 

Sanford of Blues sidelined with shoulder injury

St. Louis Blues forward Zach Sanford sustained a left shoulder injury on Friday and will miss a couple of weeks, coach Mike Yeo said on Saturday. The injury occurred when Sanford was involved in a puck battle with teammate Dmitrij Jaskin.

The two went hard into the boards and Sanford immediately left the ice with head athletic trainer Ray Barile after being attended to on the the ice for several minutes. 

"He's going to be out for a couple weeks here and we'll let things settle down and he'll have another appointment at that time and we'll have a better sense of it," Yeo said. "... About three minutes before it happened, I leaned over to one of the coaches and said, 'Boy, 'Sandy' is really looking good.' 

"Disappointed to see him go into the boards like that, but you know what, we always anticipate that there's going to be injuries in training camp early in the season. We had talked and bragged about the depth we have, so we're still in a good spot here."

Sanford, 22, had eight points (four goals, four assists) in 39 games last season, including five points (two goals, three assists) in 13 regular-season games with the Blues, who acquired him in a trade with the Washington Capitals on Feb. 27. He also appeared in four Stanley Cup Playoff games.

-- Louie Korac

Video: STL@SJS: Sanford buries a puck off the boards

 

Athanasiou, Red Wings talk contract

Restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou and his agent met with Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland on Saturday in negotiations toward a new contract.

Athanasiou, 23, was offered a one- and two-year contract, the latter with an average annual value of $1.9 million, according to the Detroit Free Press. Darren Ferris, Athanasiou's agent, said Friday that negotiations with Detroit had been productive and positive, according to the newspaper.

Athanasiou, a fourth-round pick (No. 110) in the 2012 NHL Draft, had 29 points (18 goals, 11 assists) in 64 games with the Red Wings last season. He has 43 points (27 goals, 16 assists) in 101 NHL games.

-- Dave Hogg

Video: DET@CAR: Athanasiou delivers the overtime winner

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