Brad Marchand said he expects to play for the Bruins in their season opener against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 14 after undergoing sports hernia surgery Sept. 14.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” the forward said Monday. “We don’t want to miss a game. Every game, especially with that short a season, is so important.”
Marchand took part in the Bruins’ first on-ice session of camp but left midway through as a precaution to ensure that he didn’t “get hurt for trying to do too much.”
“For me, [the surgery] was a long time coming,” Marchand said. “It’s been two-and-a-half years that it’s been bugging me. It’s affected not only my on-ice, but my off-ice training. I haven’t been able to sprint or run in years.”
Marchand said the issue began on the left side but that it affected both sides of his body last season.
“It got to the point where I was only able to play like 80 percent,” he said. “I think in the playoffs I barely practiced because I needed every day off to recover. Because I was in a lot of pain. It bugged me every single day.” — Amalie Benjamin
Kasperi Kapanen will be away from the Penguins indefinitely because of an immigration issue.
A visa complication caused the forward to miss the first day of Penguins training camp Monday and the team does not know when he could join them.
“We’re working through that process right now,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.
Upon arriving in the United States, NHL rules require Kapanen to quarantine for seven days. Pittsburgh opens its regular season at the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 13.
Kapanen, who was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Aug. 25, could join center Sidney Crosby and left wing Jake Guentzel on the first line. Evan Rodrigues skated at right wing with Crosby and Guentzel on Monday.
“There was going to be a chance to play together at camp,” Crosby said. “Kind of feel that out. That won’t happen.”
Sullivan said he isn’t sure how Kapanen’s absence could affect a potential spot next to Crosby.
“Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for lines and players to develop a certain level of chemistry,” he said. “Sometimes it’s instant. In my experience, I’ve been around both.” –Wes Crosby, NHL.com independent correspondent
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos skated on the top line with the Lightning in their first practice of training camp.
Stamkos played right wing with Brayden Point at center and Ondrej Palat at left wing.
The forward had core muscle surgery Oct. 7. After sustaining a lower-body injury before the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stamkos returned in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars on Sept. 23. He scored on his first shot and played 2:47 in the 5-2 win but did not play for the remainder of the postseason.
“I’m feeling much better than the last time I was on the ice, that’s for sure,” Stamkos said Sunday. “So yeah, I’ll be ready for camp, and expectation is to have a full camp and be ready for the start of the season. I’m excited about that.”
The Lightning open the season against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 13.
“He looks unbelievable on the ice, so I can tell he’s ready to go and he’s excited about it,” defenseman Victor Hedman said. “So are we as his teammates and as a whole team. We’re excited to get him [back] again.” — Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Zdeno Chara is expected to practice with the Capitals later this week after the defenseman missed the first practice of training camp while quarantining and following COVID-19 testing protocols.
“I don’t have an exact timeline right now, but I would say within a couple days, a day or two, you’ll probably see Chara on the ice,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “There’s no specific time yet, but it will be shortly. He’s going to come out of quarantine if he continues to test negative, we’ll get him the proper physicals that he needs, and he’ll be eligible to come on the ice and join us.”
Chara is beginning his 23rd NHL season and first with Washington after agreeing to a one-year contract Wednesday. The 43-year-old defenseman played for the Boston Bruins the past 14 seasons but turned down their offer of a reduced role this season.
“The way he plays the game, what you see on the ice, all of these things, I expect nothing to change,” Laviolette said. “It’s just kind of his DNA and his makeup of who he is. And so we welcome all of that.” — Tom Gulitti
New Jersey Devils
Mackenzie Blackwood returned to practice after missing two days with an undisclosed injury.
“It was good to be back out on another full practice,” Blackwood said. “It was just a little precautionary thing … thinking long-term instead of short-term. I wasn’t worried about anything. It was just a couple days of rest and it’s good to be back and I felt great.”
Blackwood, who left the ice because of a “tweak” midway through the first day of on-ice training on Friday, signed a three-year contract Dec. 23. He led NHL rookies in wins last season with 22 in 47 games (43 starts).
“I wanted to be out there the other days just to see some pucks and stay in the groove, but (the) trainers said, ‘No, we’re going to take a step back and not go out with the group,'” Blackwood said. “We did the little goalie skate with me and (goalie coach) Dave Rogalski and (skills development coordinator) Ryan Murphy, so it’s not that big of a deal.” — Mike G. Morreale
Nolan Patrick skated during the first day of on-ice work for the Flyers.
The forward, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, did not play last season because of a migraine disorder.
“It’s obviously been a while since I’ve participated in everything with the team,” Patrick said. “I’ve been scrimmaging the last couple of weeks since I’ve been here, so pretty used to that. So it’s a good day out there today.”
Patrick refused to talk about his headaches or anything related to last season, saying he was focused on the present.
“I thought Nolan looked really good today,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Had a couple of chats with him the last couple of days. He feels good about where he is, he’s really upbeat about his energy level. … I see the excitement in him both being back with his teammates, working and having fun, and I see the excitement in his teammates with him being back.”
Vigneault also said he liked what he saw from forward Oskar Lindblom, who missed seven months last season while completing his treatments for Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, before returning for Games 6 and 7 against the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Second Round.
“He looked real quick, real strong, powerful,” Vigneault said. “I think he’s cleared, good to go and really anxious for a full season with his teammates.” — Adam Kimelman
Anton Khudobin and Joe Pavelski were not with the Stars for their first practice of training camp.
Khudobin was absent because of immigration issues and the Stars said they will announce the goalie’s availability at the appropriate time.
Pavelski, a forward, is day to day pending further results from medical testing.
The Stars open the season at the Florida Panthers on Jan. 14.