Hockey season is just around the corner as we’re just a few weeks away from the start of the 2021-22 NHL season. News has been flying around the league all offseason and it hasn’t stopped as we get closer to puck drop. Not all news is good but it shows you it’s time to talk hockey. As we get prepared for the season to get underway, let’s take a deep dive around the NHL as training camp opens up throughout the league.
News and Notes Around the NHL
Penguins Star To Miss Time
A few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins got the news that Sidney Crosby would miss about six weeks after undergoing wrist surgery. If it wasn’t bad enough to have one of the best players to ever play the game miss time, the Penguins announced on Thursday that Evgeni Malkin would miss the first two months of the season due to the recovery of his knee surgery.
Malkin enters the final year of his contract but there have been no talks about the situation between the two. Losing your best two players to start the season is a huge blow to a Penguins team that always has a chance to contend. With these two stars being out, the rest of the team will have to step up to make sure they’re in a comfortable position when they get back.
Jack Eichel No Longer Captain
It always seems like there’s drama inside of the Buffalo Sabres‘ organization and this year is no different. This time, it pertains to one of the best players in the league with center Jack Eichel. He’s been out since March with a herniated disk in his neck. That was the topic of discussion heading into the offseason and the fallout was not pretty. He and the team were at odds on how the injury should’ve been handled. The Sabres wanted him to get fusion surgery but Eichel wanted disk replacement surgery. Now the Sabres center wants out of Buffalo but no team has taken the risk so far.
Eichel now has failed his physical before training camp and will be placed in IR to start the season. With all that has taken place, the 24-year old has been stripped of his captaincy. Things have gone from bad to worse between these two but Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said he wouldn’t back down and cave to pressure so it seems like this feud is going to go on for a while. Nobody knows the next steps taken by either side, but it’ll be an interesting situation to watch moving forward.
Canadiens Training Camp
Around the NHL, teams are dealing with injury as we near the start of the season and that’s no exception for the Montreal Canadiens. As they opened Training Camp on Thursday, the team got the news that multiple players would likely miss the entirety of camp due to failed physicals. These players include Paul Byron (hip), Mike Hoffman (lower-body), Joel Teasdale (knee), Josh Brook (knee), and one of the best goaltenders in the league, Carey Price (knee).
Joel Edmundson is out as well but he’s listed as day-to-day and Brendan Gallagher will report to camp after dealing with family issues. The Canadiens will fight through training camp short-handed but will get prepared to show fans that last year was no fluke. With the team not assigning a captain for 2021, the players are expected to step up and take charge on and off the ice as a team.
In a complete reversal from the 2020-21 season, the NHL sent out a memo that allows full capacity in arenas for all but two teams for the 2021-22 season. The Bell Center (Montreal Canadiens) and the Rogers Center (Vancouver Canucks) will not be at full capacity to start the season, but will still have fans. The home of the Canadiens will operate at 33 percent while the home of the Canucks will operate at 50 percent because of the ongoing covid restrictions for Ontario. Other teams in the area are set and ready to go but things could change around the NHL if needed.
Some arenas are requiring proof of vaccination, some will require proof of vaccination OR a negative COVID-19 test and some will require fans to wear masks. As mentioned, these rules could change but for right now, the health and safety of people are the most important thing.
Other News and Notes From Around the NHL
- Rasmus Dahlin signs a 3-year, 18M (6 AAV) extension with the Buffalo Sabres
- Devon Toews to miss the start of the regular season for the Colorado Avalanche due to shoulder surgery
- Nicklas Backstrom week-to-week for the Washington Capitals as he recovers from hip surgery
- Edmonton Oilers‘ goaltender Alex Stalock likely to miss season with a possible heart condition
- Tyler Bertuzzi to likely miss Detroit Red Wings‘ games in Canada due to cross-border quarantining issues
- NHL finds no gambling issue with Evander Kane; he now faces sexual assault and domestic violence case
- Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop shows up to camp but is not cleared to play
- Jonathan Toews shows up to the Chicago Blackhawks training camp after missing all of last season