Edmonton Oilers v Phoenix Coyotes

Nugent-Hopkins plans to attend World Junior camp

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ agent announced that the top pick of the 2011 draft will attend training camp for Canada’s World Junior Championship team.

That’s great news for Canada, but could be especially good news for the Edmonton Oilers. He was questionable to play for the team as early as Dec. 4, yet this indicates that his shoulder injury might be close to healed up.

If a shortened season happens, there’s some reason to believe that the young playmaker might be available on opening night, then.

Inside Sports’ Dan Tencer thinks that Team Canada is rolling the dice, implying that the Oilers would have him on a plane back “the moment” that training camp begins – if applicable.

He also rolls out the tantalizing opportunity Canada may have on its hands, though; Nugent-Hopkins could very well line up with super-prospects Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Scheifele if the lockout drags on through the tournament.

Either way, it’s great news for a budding prospect and a team that hopes to eventually climb the NHL ladder.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
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News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


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