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Training Camp Buzz: Hamilton back on ice with Hurricanes for Phase 3

Patrick not on Flyers roster; Stars debut new top line; Hornqvist doesn't practice with Penguins @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the Training Camp Buzz. The 24 teams who will be competing for the Stanley Cup will began training camp at their facilities Monday as part of Phase 3 of the Return to Play Plan. The teams are scheduled to head to their respective hub cities (Toronto for the 12 Eastern Conference teams, Edmonton for the 12 Western Conference teams), on July 26, with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers set to begin Aug. 1 in Phase 4.

Here's a look around the League at the latest from training camp:


Carolina Hurricanes

Dougie Hamilton practiced Monday and expects to return to the lineup when the Hurricanes play the New York Rangers in a best-of-5 series in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers beginning Aug. 1.

The defenseman hasn't played since fracturing his left fibula Jan. 16.

"There's some stuff that's still not perfect, but I feel good," Hamilton said. "I'm just trying to keep on working on stuff off the ice as well. Hopefully, that will help me in the next couple weeks."

Hamilton scored 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 47 games this season and was tied for second in goals, fourth in points, and tied for seventh in assists among NHL defensemen at the time of the injury.

"That's a big wild card for us," coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "He looked good out there today, but it was a fairly light practice. If we can project him to be back to 90 percent or 80 percent of what he was, that's going to be a big boost for us. I'm hoping he's 100 percent ready to go once this gets going."

Defenseman Sami Vatanen, who was acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Feb 24, skated with Carolina for the first time. He hasn't played since sustaining a right-leg injury against the Dallas Stars on Feb. 1. -- Kurt Dusterberg

Tweet from @Canes: DOUGIE


Philadelphia Flyers

Nolan Patrick will not play for the rest of the season.

The 21-year-old center was not listed on the Flyers roster for Phase 3 after he did not play in the regular season because of a migraine disorder that started in the offseason.

"Our focus is getting him ready for 2020-21 season," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "We really want to be prudent about this matter and prioritize his health and safety over the long run. The reality is, not just for Nolan but for every player, we have a very short runway here before we jump right into what essentially is playoff hockey. We felt at this stage, when we have time, use it. Let's focus on the 20-21 season. We have 34 players here in camp and ready to go, and we're excited about that."

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had surgery on his right knee about seven weeks ago and could play in the Qualifiers.

That procedure followed surgery on his left knee Jan. 14. Gostisbehere played two games after having that procedure, including March 11, the Flyers' final game before the season was paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

"I was trying to rehab it and no way I could rehab it," Gostisbehere said. "I had another scope done, small little cartilage thing. I haven't really skated too much. ... Start of camp I'm not where I want to be, but progressively going to keep working forward.

"It's been a tough road with all the stuff going on, but I'm not going to feel bad for myself. ... I'm just going to do my best to get back, be healthy and help this team win."

When Phase 4 starts Aug. 1, the Flyers will play in the round-robin of the Eastern Conference Qualifiers, along with the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals, to determine the top four seeds for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. -- Adam Kimelman


Winnipeg Jets

Bryan Little wll not play play again this season.

The forward sustained a perforated ear drum Nov. 5 when he was hit by a shot and hasn't played since. He practiced with Winnipeg in January before having surgery in February.

"He won't be part of our group here and he won't be in the Return to Play," coach Paul Maurice said. "He saw doctors in June and had extensive tests. The idea was he needed another block of time before decisions could be made."

Little had five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games this season.

"He's a guy everyone looks forward to seeing every day and one of our hardest workers," captain Blake Wheeler said. We've missed him all year, we miss him now, more importantly we're just hoping the best for him," he said. "That's really all that matters." 

The Jets will play the Calgary Flames in the Qualifiers. -- Tim Campbell

Tweet from @NHLJets: Bryan Little won't be part of #NHLJets' Return to Play roster. READ:


Dallas Stars

Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz and Tyler Seguin were the new top line for the Stars in their first day of training camp.

"That's a very fast line," Stars coach Rick Bowness said. "Denis and Roope are having great years along with [Tyler]. That's great speed up front. We want to take a look at it and see what it looks like. ... We won't know for a few more days, but what that line has in terms of speed is going to intimidate a lot of teams."

Gurianov led the Stars with 20 goals in his first full NHL season. Hintz tied for second with 19, and Seguin was fourth with 17.

The Stars had a new second line with Jamie Benn and Jason Dickinson skating with Corey Perry. The third line of Andrew Cogliano, Radek Faksa, and Blake Comeau and the fourth line of Mattias Janmark, Joe Pavelski, and Alexander Radulov remained unchanged. 

Bowness is hopeful the changes in the top two lines will provide the Stars with more speed and physicality on offense.

"We can always go back to the other lines and that's there," Bowness said. "But at this point, we'd rather give it a fresh look and give these lines an opportunity to develop some chemistry."

The Stars will play the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights in the round-robin portion of the Qualifiers to determine the top four seeds for the playoffs from the Western Conference. -- Josh Clark

Florida Panthers

Sergei Bobrovsky impressed Panthers coaches in their first practice of Phase 3.

"We're all looking to enhance our individual games and with (goaltending coach Rob) Tallas, they spent some time and looking at some different things, but Tallas was real happy with [Bobrovsky] today," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Certainly looked good in net as well."

Bobrovsky, who was 23-19-6 with a 3.23 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 50 games, missed the final four games before the NHL season was paused with a lower-body injury.

He is one of four goalies on the roster along with Philippe Desrosiers, Chris Driedger and Sam Montembeault.

"[Bobrovsky is] a competitive guy and he wants to be successful and do well for us," Quenneville said. "And he's in a good spot."

Forward Brian Boyle, who missed the final 19 games before the season was paused, took part in practice.

"Boy, he makes a presence [on] your team and you notice him on the ice," Quenneville said. "I thought he skated extremely well. He looked very good. He really adds a lot to our team and looking forward to having him in our lineup."

The Panthers will play the New York Islanders in the Qualifiers. -- Alain Poupart 

Vancouver Canucks

Micheal Ferland was ruled unfit to play and did not practice with the Canucks when they opened training camp but is expected to return before their qualifier series against the Minnesota Wild.

"We're following some protocols that have been outlined by the League but he'll be back here," general manager Jim Benning said of the forward. "He's been skating, he feels good, but it's more safety than anything else." 

Ferland was expected to miss the rest of the season after recurring concussion symptoms limited him to 14 games - none after Dec. 10 - but resumed skating after the season was paused and was on the ice in Vancouver during Phase 2 with teammates last week. 

Ferland, who is in the first year of a four-year contract, had five points (one goal, four assists) this season. He experienced concussion-like symptoms in his first game of a conditioning assignment with Utica of the American Hockey League on Feb. 14. 

"Originally signing [Ferland], a big part of it was for games like this, times of the year like this, playoff hockey," coach Travis Green said. "He's one of those guys that can make a difference in ways other than just scoring. He's an aggressive player that hits hard and hits fair and I think the physical part of the game does increase in playoff hockey and hopefully he's back soon." -- Kevin Woodley


St. Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko was activated from injured reserve and took part in the first day of training camp with the Blues.

The forward, who has not played since he had surgery after dislocating his left shoulder Oct. 24, skated on a line with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz.

"It was great to see him out there. He looks fantastic," general manager Doug Armstrong said. "I know he's still knocking off some of the rust, and I think having the exhibition game and then the three preliminary games (in the Qualifiers) is going to benefit someone like [Tarasenko] who hasn't played in a long time."

Tarasenko scored 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games during the regular season.

"I was skating with him last week, and he doesn't miss a beat," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "A player of that talent, a player of that compete level, I'm not really too worried about it. A pretty seamless transition for him. ... A nice little secret weapon we've had waiting all year to come back."

The Blues had 30 of 33 skaters on the ice. Defensemen Colton Parayko and Robert Bortuzzo were among those who did not skate, but Armstrong said each would be on the ice this week. -- Louie Korac


New York Islanders

Adam Pelech said he will play against the Florida Panthers in the Qualifiers.

The defenseman hasn't played since injuring his Achilles tendon Jan. 2.

"As you know when I originally got hurt in January, I was ruled out for the season, so I think when everything happened in March, that was kind of a turning point where we figured that I might have a chance to play again depending on how this plays out," Pelech said. 

"I've been feeling good for a couple of months now, really. I feel 100 percent on the ice, which is great."

Pelech, a top-pair defenseman, scored nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 38 games during the regular season and was second on the Islanders in average ice time per game (21:08).

Center Casey Cizikas, who missed the last 13 games before the season was paused, practiced. He sustained a lacerated left leg Feb. 11.

"The leg's doing well," said Cizikas, who scored 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in 48 games. "I've had a lot of time here to make sure that everything's well with it. I had that extra time, which helped me a lot to get that strength back and to get that power back in it.

Coach Barry Trotz said forwards Leo Komarov and Kieffer Bellows, defensemen Nick Leddy and Sebastian Aho, and goalie Jakub Skarek were unfit to play.

"I expect our group will be growing here very shortly," Trotz said. "That's what I can say." -- Brian Compton

Montreal Canadiens

Alexander Romanov, who finalized terms of a three-year, entry-level contract Monday, is on the Canadiens roster for training camp, but the defenseman is not eligible to play in the postseason. He is arriving from Russia and will need to complete a 14-day quarantine period before taking part in camp.

Selected by Montreal in the second round (No. 38) of the 2018 NHL Draft, Romanov had seven assists and was plus-21 in 43 games for CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League this season.

Romanov is among a group of prospects who are eligible to sign an entry-level contract this season but not eligible to play until next season, as part of the four-year extension of the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement ratified by each side Friday.

This season will count toward his entry-level contract even though he can't play.

The Canadiens will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Qualifiers.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: The Canadiens and Alexander Romanov have finalized the defenseman's entry-level contract details.#GoHabsGo


Pittsburgh Penguins

Patric Hornqvist did not join the Penguins for the first day of training camp. 

"[Hornqvist] is a positive guy, he's an optimistic guy," coach Mike Sullivan said of the forward. "He brings a ton of positive energy to the rink every day. He's just a fun guy to be around. He's ultra-competitive, and obviously an important player for our team."

Hornqvist scored 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 52 games before the season was paused.

"Everybody knows [Hornqvist] and what he brings, on and off the ice," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. "I think it's always noticeable when he's not there, but that being said, I think there was good energy today."

The Penguins announced they were voluntarily sidelining nine players who may have had secondary exposure to an individual who was in contact with another person that tested positive for the coronavirus. They did not disclose who the players are but said they "will not participate until they are deemed safe in accordance with NHL protocol and further test results." -- Wes Crosby

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