Welcome to the Training Camp Buzz. The 24 teams who will be competing for the Stanley Cup began training camp at their facilities Monday. 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.
Here’s a look around the League at the latest from training camp:
David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were called “unfit to participate” in practice with the Bruins on Thursday.
“As for the League, it’s ‘unfit to participate’ right now,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Hopefully that changes in the near future. Any time players miss a session where we expect them back at full speed, then until he’s out there, it is a concern for us as a team. But we’re just going to forge ahead.”
The forwards skated with a small group of teammates Wednesday. It was their first time on the ice during training camp, which began Monday. Each missed the first two days because of quarantine rules for players arriving from Europe, according to general manager Don Sweeney.
Tuukka Rask left practice early Thursday. Cassidy said the goalie had been “stung” by a shot in practice Tuesday.
The Bruins will play in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, against the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers. Boston’s first game is against Philadelphia on Aug. 2 (3 p.m. ET). The Bruins will play an exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 30 (7 p.m. ET).
Nathan MacKinnon centered a line with Andre Burakovsky and Mikko Rantanen in a scrimmage during training camp in a new line for the Avalanche.
MacKinnon and Rantanen have been frequent line mates with Gabriel Landeskog, who skated with Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin.
“I see us as a line that can be tough to play against, handle pucks down low, create offense and be responsible defensively,” Landeskog said of his new line. “I’ve played a lot with Nate and Mikko in the past, but we were having a lot of fun playing with Val and [Kadri], two high-quality players. Chemistry doesn’t happen overnight, it’s something you have to constantly work on, and I see a lot of potential between the three of us.”
The Avalanche will play the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. Colorado will play its first game against St. Louis on Aug. 2 (6:30 p.m. ET), and will play an exhibition game against the Minnesota Wild on July 29 (2:30 p.m. ET).
“I’m not there yet, it just depends on how the next week or so of camp goes,” coach Jared Bednar said of the lines being set. “You have this small window of games – one exhibition game, three round-robin games – that are very meaningful, in my opinion. We’re going to let this camp play out and see what type of decisions we may or may not have going into that exhibition game.” — Rick Sadowski
Laurent Brossoit was on the ice at Bell MTS Iceplex on Thursday, the first time he has skated during Winnipeg Jets training camp.
The Jets goalie stretched and did movement drills with goaltender coach Wade Flaherty, but took no shots. Brossoit shared the ice with a group of Winnipeg’s extra roster players near the end of their session.
Brossoit missed the first three days of camp. The Jets gave no reason for his absence. Brossoit is expected to be the backup to Connor Hellebuyck when the Jets play the Calgary Flames in a qualifier series in Edmonton starting Aug. 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET.
“We were expecting [Brossoit on the ice] and he’ll just progress into more and more time, more and more reps as we get going,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “We’re hopeful that all players will be healthy for Game 1.”
The Jets posted a short video of a workout July 10, during Phase 2 of the Return to Play Plan, and Brossoit was shown participating in that on-ice session.
Brossoit, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, was 6-7-1 with a 3.28 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage in 19 games (15 starts) before the season was paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. — Tim Campbell
Jesperi Kotkaniemi could have a chance to play for the Canadiens during their qualifier series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which begins Aug. 1 (8 p.m. ET).
Kotkaniemi, the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, scored eight points (six goals, two assists) in 36 NHL games and was sent to Laval of the American Hockey League on Feb. 1. The 19-year-old center scored 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 13 AHL games and has impressed during the first days of training camp.
“I like what I’ve seen so far because his skating is back to where I think we saw it at its best at one point, and the rest of his game seems to be falling into place,” coach Claude Julien said Wednesday.
The absence of center Max Domi could leave a spot open for Kotkaniemi. Domi and the Canadiens have agreed to wait 7-10 days before deciding if he’ll participate in training camp. Domi has Type 1 diabetes and is more prone to having serious complications if he were to contract COVID-19.
Whatever Domi’s status is, Kotkaniemi will have to continue performing at a high level to earn his way onto the Canadiens roster.
“What I’d like for Kotkaniemi is that, this week and next week, is that he continues to show us how well he’s progressed,” Julien said. “… I like what I’m seeing right now. He seems to have a good pace to his game and his skating, so we need to have a look at that. Just because right now Max isn’t here doesn’t mean it automatically goes back to Kotkaniemi that’s going to be moved out of (a line with Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen). We’ll make those decisions, as I said to everybody else, as we move forward here.”
Tristan Jarry said he has not been informed by Penguins coaches how the goalies will be used against the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifier series, which begins Aug. 1 (8 p.m. ET).
Jarry shared the starting role with Matt Murray through much of the regular season before it was paused. Jarry played in the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game and was 20-12-1 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 33 games (31 starts).
Murray, who won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017, was 20-11-5 with a 2.87 GAA and .899 save percentage in 38 games.
“They haven’t said anything,” Jarry said. “I think it’s all up in the air. I think we’re just trying to get back in shape as quickly as we can and get ready to play. Get ready for that first exhibition game.”
The Penguins will play the Philadelphia Flyers in an exhibition game in Toronto on July 28 (4 p.m. ET).
When training camp opened Monday, coach Mike Sullivan said he had an idea of how the goalies would be deployed but would not disclose it. — Wes Crosby
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