Cam Tucker

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 16: Jordan Nolan #71 of the Los Angeles Kings moves the puck in front of Nate Schmidt #88 of the Washington Capitals in the third period of the Capitals 3-1 win at Verizon Center on February 16, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Kings’ Nolan has something to prove at camp after season-ending back surgery

After failing to score a goal in 52 games last season, Jordan Nolan‘s already difficult campaign came to a premature conclusion.

He underwent surgery in March to repair a herniated disc in his back, putting him out indefinitely. However, after an offseason of rehabbing and working out, the hard-hitting L.A. Kings forward has been cleared to participate in training camp when it opens later this month, according to LA Kings Insider.

Nolan, 27 years old and with an annual cap hit of $950,000, isn’t known for his offensive contributions. He scored a career-high six goals and 10 points in 2013-14. But the Kings have 15 forwards under contract for the upcoming season, which points to more competition for spots in the lineup once camp opens.

Where Nolan, who was used on the penalty kill an average of 1:17 a game, can make his impact on the Kings roster is as a bottom-six winger that can play a physical style in the physical Pacific Division.

“I’m looking forward to starting the year,” Nolan told LA Kings Insider.

“Obviously it’s disappointing having to end your season in March and have back surgery, but I feel great. We have a few new players coming in this year, so I’m looking forward to getting back on the ice and proving what I can do and getting back to that level where I was last year.”

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    Still no decision on Patrik Elias, but Devils keeping an ‘open mind’

    NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils waits for a faceoff during an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center on December 6, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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    New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero said a decision about whether or not to re-sign forward Patrik Elias would be made later this summer.

    It’s now the middle of September, training camp is approaching and still no decision has been made.

    Now 40 years old — he hit the milestone birthday in April — Elias played in only 16 games last season, scoring two goals and eight points in the final year of a three-year, $16.5 million contract. He’s currently an unrestricted free agent. He also underwent surgery on his right knee in May, so you can understand why there would be questions about if he’s able to still play at the NHL level.

    Shero told NorthJersey.com that there is still no deadline to make a decision.

    From NorthJersey.com:

    Shero said the time for a decision will come when Elias is able to test his knee harder in drills. Part of that will be whether Elias can physically handle the rigors of another NHL season.

    Part of it is whether the Devils have a spot on the roster for him, or a need.

    “When he does [push it harder], how is it going to react?” Shero said. “And we’ll see exactly where we are as a team at that point, anyway. So we’re going to keep an open mind both ways, but it’s great having Patrik around.”

    The Devils currently have 14 forwards under contract on their NHL roster for the upcoming season, as per General Fanager.

    Elias has played his entire NHL career with the Devils. That includes 1,240 regular season games, with 408 goals and 1,025 points, and two Stanley Cup championships.

    Torts issues a challenge to Pacioretty: ‘I need more out of him’

    VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 17: Head coach John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks talks to media after his team lost to the Dallas Stars at Rogers Arena on November 17, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images)
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    Two pre-competition games into the World Cup and John Tortorella has issued a challenge to a player through the media.

    Max Pacioretty was on the receiving end of Tortorella’s message following Team USA’s loss to Team Canada. The Montreal Canadiens captain didn’t have a point, and only one shot on goal and one hit in 10:05 of ice time in Saturday’s game.

    So Torts, when asked, did what Torts has a tendency to do: Give us something to talk about. Nothing really subtle about it from Team USA’s head coach.

    “He’s OK. Yeah. But I need more out of him,” said Tortorella, as per Sportsnet. “I know how he can play. And this is what happens in this type of tournament and the team make-up. You’re not going to get your 20 minutes. If other people are going, they tend to take some ice time. You look at … Canada’s team, your minutes are going to be down.

    “But Max hasn’t … he’s got to give me some reason to give him more minutes here. So we’ll see where it goes. We know he’s a really good player. Great kid. But we’ve just got to get a little more out of him.”

    In the first pre-tournament game against Canada on Friday, Pacioretty had one shot on goal in 14:51 of ice time.

    Team USA finishes its trio of tune-up games on Tuesday, as they face Finland.

    Now, over to Pacioretty for a response.

    Team Canada crushes Team USA in World Cup tune-up

    VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 28:  Corey Perry #24 (R) of Canada celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the ice hockey men's gold medal game between USA and Canada on day 17 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 28, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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    John Tavares started the game off by running Ryan Kesler into the boards. The New York Islanders star then went on to score twice and Team Canada was thorough in its 5-2 victory over Team USA in Ottawa on Saturday.

    After a chippy, physical — reckless, at times — game between the rival hockey nations on Friday, there were moments in the rematch when it looked like emotions could erupt. After what Kesler did to Canadian defenseman Shea Weber the previous night, Tavares wasted no time throwing a hard hit on the American forward on the first shift Saturday.

    Joe Thornton targeted Kesler later in the first period with a late hit and was penalized accordingly. Alex Pietrangelo was seen in discomfort, appearing to favor his right arm at times during this game. And a melee broke out at the final buzzer, before players separated.

    For all the shenanigans that occurred, the Canadian power play made the U.S. pay.

    Canada held the advantage in shots once again, finishing with 38 shots on goal, to 23 for the U.S. (Team USA had 25 hits, compared to 16 for Team Canada.)

    Canada also capitalized on three of its eight power play chances, and that was without Sidney Crosby, who was scratched for tonight’s contest in a back-to-back pre-tournament situation.

    Team USA goalie Cory Schneider gave up four goals on 24 shots in two periods of work. Three of those goals came within a span of 4:24 in the first period. Now, it will be interesting to see how much influence this result has on John Tortorella’s goaltending decision for the tournament.

    Jonathan Quick, who started Friday, didn’t play Saturday. Ben Bishop once again played the final 20 minutes, with one goal allowed on 14 shots.

    Gaudreau will focus on contract situation with Flames once the World Cup is done

    Johnny Gaudreau
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    Calgary Flames fans hoping Johnny Gaudreau‘s contract situation would be resolved at some point during the World Cup of Hockey are probably going to be out of luck.

    If Team North America, which Gaudreau plays for, makes it all the way to the final game of the tournament, that would go on Oct. 1, provided the final best-of-three series goes the distance.

    The Flames begin the regular season on Oct. 12, so between the conclusion of the World Cup and the start of the NHL regular season, there’s still time to get a deal done with the 23-year-old restricted free agent forward.

    But for now, Johnny Hockey’s focus is on the World Cup.

    “I didn’t want to get it in my head,” Gaudreau has told TSN.

    “I don’t think I’m going to talk to my agent for the next 20 or 30 days about the contract. I’m here for Team North America and I want to put that aside and worry about playing time for this team. After the tournament, we’ll see how the contract is going.”

    It’s been reported that Gaudreau’s camp is asking for something in the range of $8 million a year. It was also noted on PHT that he isn’t eligible for arbitration rights, or to sign an offer sheet.

    That dollar figure would make him Calgary’s highest paid player if he is indeed paid what he’s asking.

    Gaudreau had 30 goals and 78 points in 79 games last season.

    Related:

    Monahan seems confident Gaudreau will sign before season begins