Stanley Cup hero Hornqvist unlikely to be ready for Penguins season opener


Patric Hornqvist, the hero for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, may have to miss the season (and home) opener versus the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

Hornqvist had surgery on his right hand during the offseason. When training camps opened last month, the expectation from general manager Jim Rutherford was that the veteran forward would be ready for the start of the regular season, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

However, on Monday, head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters that, “We don’t think he’ll be ready for Wednesday.” Sullivan also mentioned that he would like Hornqvist to begin practicing with the team prior to getting in the lineup.

The 30-year-old Hornqvist has been a consistent contributor to a Penguins team that has gone on to win two consecutive Stanley Cup titles, surpassing the 20-goal mark in each of his three seasons in Pittsburgh — and seven seasons now during his NHL career, which began in Nashville.

Hornqvist enters the final year of his five-year, $21.25 million contract, and is a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Report: Bruins place Malcolm Subban on waivers


It appears the Boston Bruins have decided to stick with Anton Khudobin as their back-up goalie to begin the 2017-18 season.

According to reports on Monday, the Bruins put former first-round pick Malcolm Subban on waivers following a training camp battle for the back-up role behind starter Tuukka Rask.

Subban entered camp with the belief that he could make the jump to the NHL this season, and appeared to put together some solid performances during the preseason. Putting the 23 years old puck stopper on waivers was a risk Bruins general manager Don Sweeney had been aware of well before this decision was made.

From the Boston Herald on Friday:

At the top of the list is what to do with goalie Malcolm Subban, who played well in nailing down the victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday. But Subban is still a developing talent and would probably best be served by going back to Providence. The only hitch is that he requires waivers, and there’s a fear he’ll get scooped up.

Khudobin, 31, played 16 games for the Bruins last season, with a .904 save percentage. It’s likely, though, that he solidified the back-up job with an impressive 35-save performance against the Chicago Blackhawks in preseason action Saturday.

The Bruins open their regular season schedule at home versus the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Report: Flames talking with Jaromir Jagr (update)

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Here it is — another development in Jaromir Jagr’s situation.

According to a report from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic on Sunday evening, the Calgary Flames are talking with Jagr’s camp.

The 45-year-old unrestricted free agent did not play this weekend in the Czech Republic as he awaited word on his future in the NHL, with one report stating his camp was talking to three NHL teams.

For months now, there has been talk that Jagr could be a potential fit with the Flames, who could take another step toward contending in the Western Conference, but could also use the help on the right wing heading into the regular season.

The Flames have about $3.64 million in cap space, per CapFriendly.

Update: It sounds like things are heating up between the two sides.

Nolan Patrick makes Flyers’ opening night roster


The Philadelphia Flyers have made it official: Nolan Patrick has made the opening night roster.

The Flyers added that defenseman Robert Hagg, Philadelphia’s second-round pick in 2013, also made the club.

Nolan turned 19 years old just a couple of weeks ago, three months after getting selected second overall in the NHL Draft.

Of course, the Flyers have made it a point of saying that their prized prospect would not be rushed into the NHL if he wasn’t ready, following a difficult time with injuries for more than a year while playing in junior.

Patrick no doubt endeared himself to Flyers fans with a preseason fight against David Krejci a few days ago.

The Flyers open the 2017-18 regular season on the road versus the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. That’s the beginning of a four-game road trip, which includes three games in four nights versus the California teams, the Sharks, Kings, and Ducks.

That should be an interesting welcome to the NHL.

Oilers, Maple Leafs lead NHL’s Canadian revival


The NHL’s two most dynamic stars under 21 play there, and it’s the home of five playoff teams from last season and potentially more this year.

Oh, Canada, home of some pretty good hockey.

Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are at the forefront of a revival north of the 48th parallel two years after no Canadian team made the Stanley Cup playoffs. McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers, Matthews’ Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames are all in position to qualify again, with the young Winnipeg Jets looking like a contender, too.

“It’s great for hockey when you got the Canadian teams, they’re fighting for playoff spots and they’re in the playoffs,” Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau said. “It was two years ago zero teams (made it). Now you can see all those teams are making a push to make the playoffs and hopefully win a Cup eventually.”

No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993. If six Canadian teams make the playoffs in 2017-18, it’ll be the first time since then.

Carey Price gives Montreal a shot, Erik Karlsson can work magic with Ottawa and goaltending could make all the difference in Calgary, but it’s Edmonton that gives Canada the best chance of ending the country’s Cup drought. The past 23 times the Cup has been handed out, it has gone to an American team.

“It’ll vary from year to year,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “What’s in the league’s interest is that we have great hockey.”

There’s plenty of that across Canada right now.

McDavid is coming off winning the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP at age 20, and the Oilers have a talented young core with forward Leon Draisaitl, defensemen Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom and goaltender Cam Talbot that looks ready to challenge the big boys in the Western Conference.

“That’s what good teams do, teams that have won, that’s kind of their recipe is draft good players and watch them develop,” McDavid said. “We’re very lucky that way that we have a lot of young faces in Edmonton, as well as a good mix of older guys that have played and been around the league.”

Adding goalie Mike Smith has given the Flames a spark in the Battle of Alberta. The team and city of Calgary are locked in a dispute over a new arena, but on the ice there’s a lot of optimism about a team with Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and a deep defense.

“I’m excited. I know all the guys in Calgary are excited,” Gaudreau said. “For the Flames and Edmonton, it’s a great rivalry. The province gets pretty crazy and excited for those games.”

Things can get pretty crazy in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, too. In the Eastern Conference, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs being playoff contenders at the same time has led some to dream about the first playoff series between those Original Six teams since 1979.

“It creates good rivalries,” Montreal forward Jonathan Drouin said. “Obviously the Toronto one is good. They’re a good team. You saw it last year. They surprised a lot of people, and they’re going to do the same this year.”

If any Canadian team is a major surprise this season, it’s the Vancouver Canucks, who have a new coach in Travis Green and are expected to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive year. Aging faces of the franchise Daniel and Henrik Sedin remain committed to the Canucks, saying on The Players Tribune, “If we are going to win a Stanley Cup, if we are going to achieve our dream, we’d only want it to be in Vancouver.”

But Vancouver is the anomaly as the Canadiens, Senators, Maple Leafs, Jets, Flames and Oilers can all think playoffs and dream of the Cup.

“It is exciting to see all these Canadian teams taking big steps,” Jets center Mark Scheifele said. “Hopefully we’re at the top of that Canadian list.”