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Preseason Buzz: Zetterberg ready for debut

Red Wings captain set to skate against Maple Leafs after sitting out with neck injury

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Welcome to the 2017 preseason!

This is a busy time, with the start of the new season less than a week away. Rookies are looking to make a name for themselves and veterans are aiming to lock down roster spots. Each day, we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here is the preseason news for Friday:

 

Zetterberg to make preseason debut for Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg will play his first preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET; SN, FS-D+, NHL.TV). Coach Jeff Blashill has held him out because of a minor neck injury, but said he expects Zetterberg will be fine.

"He's had real good practices, obviously skated a lot," Blashill told the Red Wings website on Friday. "So I think it puts him in a real good spot. He just had the little kink in his neck there, which held him out of maybe playing two games.

But one game's plenty for him. He's been able to practice with [Gustav] Nyquist and [Tomas Tatar] a little bit, he's been able to have some power-play practice so there's some continuity with that group as well. I think it'll be good to get him real game action against a real good lineup tonight."

Zetterberg isn't worried about going into the regular season with little preseason game action.

"I wanted to play two games. I missed one last week, now it's just going to be one," he said. "I think I played one last year, too. You just got to get out there, I think today is to just get used to playing games again. … I will get a good test tonight."

Zetterberg, 36, played in all 82 games last season and led the Red Wings with 68 points (17 goals, 51 assists).

Video: NJD@DET: Zetterberg in 1,000th game, the Joe's last

 

Boyle hopes to return to practice with Devils next week

New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle continues to skate on his own and remains hopeful he'll be able to resume practicing next week.

Boyle, 32, was diagnosed with a chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer of the bone marrow that is largely treatable with medication, on Sept. 19. He said that day that he was determined to play in the Devils' regular-season opener against the Colorado Avalanche at Prudential Center on Oct. 7 (2 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, ALT, NHL.TV).

"He'll continue to skate on his own over the next couple of days, and we'll see where he's at on Tuesday or Wednesday and see if he's able to get into practice at that point," coach John Hynes said Friday. 

Boyle has been skating on his own while going through treatments, working with Devils skills coach Pertti Hasanen, and skating with the extra players not competing in the preseason games, but it is unclear if he will be in game shape for the opener even if he did begin practicing next week. 

"He's in good shape, he's been skating and really working," Hynes said. "But there's a difference between that type of condition and game conditioning where you have physical battles and pushing off of people. I talked to him [Friday morning] about the process of getting him back and he feels he needs to battle, so we'll work together. Once he's cleared to get back to full practice, I think that'll really give us a better feeling as to whether he'll be available next week."

Boyle, who signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Devils as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will join them on their three-day team-building trip to West Point, New York, which begins Sunday.

-- Mike G. Morreale

 

Senators center Brassard cleared for contact, could miss start of season

Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard, who had shoulder surgery June 6, was cleared for contact for on Friday, but atill could miss the start of the regular season.

"Honestly, it's going to depend on those practices (next week) and see how I feel," he said. "After that, everybody gets together and we make a decision. I won't play if I'm in danger to get hit or not cleared 100 percent by the doctors."

Brassard, who tore the labrum in his right shoulder during the Stanley Cup Playoffs in May, took some contact from Senators captain Erik Karlsson during practice Friday. The Senators open their season Oct. 5 at home against the Washington Capitals.

"I actually got hit for the first time by Karl there and everything is fine," Brassard said. "Everything is on time and it's another step in the right direction. The next step is to be cleared to play."

Brassard, 30, was acquired from the New York Rangers along with a seventh-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft for center Mika Zibanejad and a second-round pick in the 2018 Draft on July 18, 2016. He had 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) in 81 games last season and 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 19 playoff games.

Senators wing Bobby Ryan missed practice Friday with a sore groin, but is expected to play on opening night.

"He should be fine for next Thursday," coach Guy Boucher said. "We just wanted to make sure we don't aggravate it."

- Chris Stevenson

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