Stamkos’ rehab continues to go well


The United States’ 2014 Winter Olympic roster announcement captured the hockey world’s attention on Wednesday, but America’s snubbed list won’t have anything on Team Canada. One big X-factor is Steven Stamkos’ recovery from a broken leg; while he’s still a tossup, the latest Canadian Press update is highly optimistic.

“It’s at the stage now where you make so much progress the first four or five weeks and now it’s about maintaining that, getting stronger, working out in the gym, going on the ice and trying to make sure you feel better every day, and I am so it’s definitely positive,” Stamkos said.

The latest update isn’t just positive for the 23-year-old, it’s also a little repetitive, as he continues to wrestle with seemingly conflicting forces of ambition (the Olympic dream) and caution (avoiding prolonged health concerns).

“That’s one of the harder things, but your body is pretty good at letting you know what you can and can not do,” Stamkos said. “We’ve come to a stage now where everything has gone extremely well. You don’t want to push it and over-do it and have a setback.”

Walking that tightrope is probably easier said than done. We’ll find out soon enough how Canada will handle this situation, which could also mean finding out who would be the replacement if Stamkos can’t go.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.