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Preseason Buzz: Ovechkin will not play for Capitals in final game

Boeser returns to practice with Canucks; Bergeron healthy for Bruins; Tkachuk ready for debut with Flames

by @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2019 preseason! This is a busy time, with rookies looking to make a name for themselves and veterans looking to lock down roster spots. Each day, we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here was the news for Saturday:

Ovechkin sits out practice, won't play in Capitals final tuneup

Alex Ovechkin didn't practice and will not accompany the Washington Capitals for their preseason finale at the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday (1:30 p.m. ET; NBCSWA; NHL.TV) because of a lower-body issue.

"That's precautionary, lower body," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "He's not going with us tomorrow."

The forward did not play in a 4-3 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Friday, but he was not scheduled to play in that game.

Defenseman Michal Kempny, who has been recovering from surgery to repair a torn right hamstring, also won't play Sunday. Reirden said it appears highly likely Kempny won't play in the regular-season opener at the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

"That is looking doubtful at this point," Reirden said. "We'll continue to see how he's doing tomorrow. He's going to stay here and skate tomorrow, but as we get closer to Day One it's looking a little more doubtful."

Kempny has practiced throughout training camp in a non-contact jersey. He took a significant step by taking and passing his skating fitness test after practice Saturday, but Reirden said he's not been cleared for contact.

Tom Gulitti


Bergeron says he's OK to play in Bruins opener

Patrice Bergeron said he felt healthy enough after making his preseason debut for the Boston Bruins on Saturday to play in the season opener at the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

"Yes. Yep," the center said after an 8-2 preseason-ending win against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.

Bergeron, who has been rehabilitating a groin injury sustained during the Stanley Cup Playoffs throughout training camp, missed the first five preseason games. He had two shots on goal and won eight of 12 face-offs against Chicago.

"Good. Good to get the first one out of the way," he said. "I thought it's always good to get that and get your legs underneath you and start getting your timing back, rhythm and everything. So yeah, it was what [I] was expecting, and it's fine."

Center David Krejci, who played two shifts of the preseason before sustaining a lower-body injury against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, didn't play. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Krejci skated lightly in the morning and is on track to return to practice this week and then play against the Stars.

Matt Kalman

Boeser practices, Canucks hope he can play in season opener

Brock Boeser returned to practice for the first time since being placed in the NHL concussion protocol, and the Vancouver Canucks remain hopeful the forward will be ready for their season opener at the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 2.

Boeser, who was injured in a 6-4 preseason win against the Ottawa Senators on Monday, skated for the first time on his own Friday, Vancouver coach Travis Green said. He joined his teammates Saturday wearing a non-contact jersey and skated for 30 minutes, taking part in some drills and skating in his usual spot on the first power-play unit before leaving early.

"It's good to see, good progression, and we'll see where it goes," Green said. "Day to day."

The forward agreed to a three-year contract Sept. 16 after not attending the first six days of camp as a restricted free agent.

Defenseman Oscar Fantenberg, who was placed in the NHL concussion protocol after being injured Monday, skated in a non-contact jersey.

Kevin Woodley


Tkachuk set for preseason debut with Flames

Matthew Tkachuk played 20:18 in his preseason debut with the Calgary Flames against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

The forward, who was a restricted free agent, signed a three-year contract with the Flames on Wednesday.

"Two practice days and then a pregame skate and here we are. It goes by fast and we're just back into the swing of things," Tkachuk said before the game. "I've just got to treat it like we're right in the middle of the regular season. I have to kind of hit the ground running here, don't ease into the game at all, just get right after it and play like I normally do. That's the best way to catch up."

Coach Bill Peters said he wasn't expecting any problems.

"I just need him to get out and play and get involved in the game," Peters said. "I don't think there's going to be any issues. You know he's a competitive guy and he's going to be in the heart of the game, and I expect that to be early."

Aaron Vickers

Video: Top five plays of 2018-19: Tkachuk


Harpur, Aberg placed on waivers by Maple Leafs

Defenseman Ben Harpur and forward Pontus Aberg were among four players placed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs. If they clear, they'll be assigned to Toronto of the American Hockey League.

Forward Tyler Gaudet and defenseman Jordan Schmaltz were placed on waivers and will be assigned to the AHL affiliate if they clear.

The Maple Leafs, who completed their preseason schedule against the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday, also reassigned eight players to Toronto of the AHL and have 34 players remaining on their training camp roster.


Burdasov released from PTO by Oilers

Anton Burdasov was released from his professional tryout by the Edmonton Oilers.

The forward joined the Oilers on Sept. 18 and had one assist in two preseason games. He played the past 10 seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League and played in the KHL All-Star Game last season.

The Oilers had 29 players -- two goalies, 10 defensemen and 17 forwards -- on their training camp roster entering their final preseason game at the Calgary Flames on Saturday.


Coyotes send four players to AHL

Forwards Michael Bunting, Michael Chaput and Hudson Fasching, and defenseman Aaron Ness, were sent by the Arizona Coyotes to Tucson of the American Hockey League.

The Coyotes had 26 players remaining on their training camp roster entering their final preseason game at the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

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