Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin, Toews among attendees for NHLPA meeting

The threat of a lockout looms during this summer, but the general feeling is that – for better or worse – the players are as united as they’ve ever been. Perhaps that can be best seen in the attendance for the upcoming NHLPA meetings; Adam Jahns reports that big names such as Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews and Shane Doan will be involved.

Here’s some of what Ovechkin had to say, via Stephen Whyno:

““It’’s our future. It’’s important to us and for everybody,” Ovechkin said. ““Everybody has to be on the same page. Of course, it’’s going to be hard, but hopefully it’’s going to be done …”

“It doesn’’t matter if you’’re the biggest star or just a star. I think everybody has to be involved. It’’s our lives.”

Toews passed along similar sentiments to Hedger and Jahns.

“We just want to see things come together for both sides and be sure both sides are respected and feel they’ve been treated fairly,” Toews said. “I mean when it comes down to it, everyone wants to play hockey. We all want to play hockey and the fans want to see hockey.”

Brian Campbell expressed a reality that goes beyond the fans: no hockey hurts the players and owners in a serious way as well.

“I think for the owner’s sake we can’t afford (a work stoppage) and for the player’s sake we can’t afford to not be playing,” Campbell said. “We have a good product going right now. You don’t want to ruin that.”

Campbell and Doan have more first-hand experience with the last lockout for obvious reasons: Toews and Ovechkin hadn’t played NHL games yet. For that reason, Doan was able to shed some light on how the upcoming talks could be different.

“The negotiation last time was more to do with the concepts … this is probably more about numbers,” Doan said. “We don’t want to give up too much and they want to get as much as they can. We want to get as much as we can. That’s the whole thing.”

Despite a more proactive vibe, Doan’s probably correct in guessing that things will pick up more as the urgency increases.

“When will it affect people most? That’s really the drop-dead date,” Doan said. “Whenever the most pressure’s applied is when anything gets done.”

Gulp. Hopefully that doesn’t mean the NHL faces an NBA-style opening day around Christmas time … or worse.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?