Given the large number of skilled players offered work overseas, you’d think the Tampa Bay trio of Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier would be in hot demand.
And they very well might be. But for now, all three are sticking in North America.
That was the word out of Tampa on Tuesday as the trio stated its collective desire to stay home and wait for a new CBA to be reached.
“Whenever we do start, and I don’t care what you did all summer, when you get into getting hit, it takes you about two weeks to catch up,” St. Louis told the Tampa Tribune. “But once you get into games, it’s like (the snap of a finger). It comes back, so I’m not too worried about that.”
St. Louis, 37, has toyed with the notion of going to Europe, but has stayed back in part because of his family. During the last lockout, he played for HC Lausanne of the Swiss National League “A”.
On Monday, Stamkos and Lecavalier — who played for AK Bars of the Russian league in 2004-05 — also re-iterated their desire to stay home rather than play abroad.
Player agent Mark Guy confirmed that Stamkos will continue to workout in his hometown near Toronto, while Lecavalier told the paper he’s hopeful the season will start soon, given how close the two sides are.
“If you do the math (on CBA negotiations) it’s not that far apart,” he explained.
“We’ll see what the week brings. I still like to think that there is reason to be optimistic.”
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.
Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.
The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.
Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.
“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.
Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.
Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.