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Training Camp Buzz: Kakko misses second game for Rangers

Dach impressive in Blackhawks debut; Gusev could be 'big-time player' for Devils @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2019 preseason! Rookie camps opened across North America on Friday and Saturday. Veterans report next week, for the most part hitting the ice Sept. 13. 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 is the training camp news for Saturday:

Kakko out again for Rangers

Kaapo Kakko missed his second game for the New York Rangers at the 2019 NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan, on Saturday.

The forward, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has an unspecified illness and did not play in a 7-4 victory against the Dallas Stars at Centre Ice Arena. He also missed a 6-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday on the first day of the eight-team tournament.

The Rangers remain optimistic that Kakko will play at some point in the tournament, which ends Tuesday. He took part in a limited morning skate Saturday, the second time he has been on the ice here.

"It's just an illness. We hope he is playing on Monday, but of course, we are not going to pressure him or force that," Kris Knoblauch, coach of Hartford in the American Hockey League, said after the game. "If he is not 100 percent, he won't play. He skated this morning and looked pretty good. I wasn't here for the morning but heard he looked pretty good. Just not quite 100 percent. We hope after the weekend he is." 

New York is off Sunday and plays the Minnesota Wild on Monday (2:30 p.m. ET) in the final game of group play. The Rangers also play Tuesday in a qualification game against an opponent to be determined.

The Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs are also participating in the tournament.

-- Shawn P. Roarke


Dach makes mark in Blackhawks debut

Kirby Dach, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, is hoping to build off of his strong performance for the Chicago Blackhawks in their first game of the 2019 NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.

The 18-year-old center scored a goal and assisted on the game-winning goal in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

"I think it's a good way for me to kind of get my feet wet and … hit the ground (running) in training camp," Dach told the Blackhawks website. "It's a good tournament, there's lot of high-paced competition."

Dach and the Blackhawks will play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

"There was a lot of speculation of who should go third, and for a player like myself, I'm just trying to prove that I belong in that spot," Dach said. "This is another steppingstone along the way to making my dream come true to play in the NHL. Obviously, there is still a lot of hard work to be done."

Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick by the New Jersey Devils in the 2019 draft, scored on Friday in his first prospect game. Kappo Kaako, the No, 2 pick by the New York Rangers, has yet to make his debut because of an illness.


Gusev can be 'big-time player' for Devils, Brylin says

Nikita Gusev, who agreed to a two-year, $9 million contract with the New Jersey Devils after being traded by the Vegas Golden Knights on July 15, will bring an exciting and unpredictable style, according to former Devils forward and three-time Stanley Cup winner Sergei Brylin.

"He's proven to be a big-time player, big-game player," Brylin said. "He won a gold medal for the [Olympic Athletes from Russia] at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and had a great tournament. He's a smart player, very skilled, makes plays and is unpredictable, and that's something we're missing in New Jersey. I can't wait to see him play."

Brylin, an assistant coach for Binghamton of the American Hockey League and an assistant for the Devils at the 2019 Prospects Challenge at HarborCenter in Buffalo this weekend, was one of the first to contact Gusev following the trade.

The 27-year-old was named Best Forward at the PyeongChang Olympics after leading the tournament with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in six games.

"The transition shouldn't be that hard; he's not an 18- or 20-year-old player and is used to traveling and being on the road for a long time," Brylin said. "We talked about the time change. He's experienced, and I think the transition for him shouldn't be as hard."

-- Mike G. Morreale


Larsson to miss tournament for Red Wings with injury

Filip Larsson was expected to showcase his talents for the Detroit Red Wings at the 2019 NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan, but is unable to do so because of a groin injury.

The 21-year-old goalie, who was selected in the sixth round (No. 167) of the 2016 NHL Draft, has been working out on the ice but won't see game action.

"I had groin issues last year," Larsson told the Red Wings website. "I went pretty hard this summer. The last three weeks for almost two hours a day. It got a little bit sore. So because of what happened last year, I'm taking it easy so nothing happens again. But as you can see out there, I can go 100 percent so it's nothing big. We're just taking it easy."

Larsson, who signed with the Red Wings in April after going 13-6-3 with a 1.95 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and four shutouts with the University of Denver, could begin the season with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.

"My goal is to get as many games as possible in Grand Rapids," Larsson said. "Stay there the entire season and learn. Just get used to (the) pro level and see how it goes. I just want to play in the games, that's all, and develop."

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