James O'Brien

Phil Kessel

Happy now? Kessel dropped 13 lbs. this summer

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It remains to be seen if Phil Kessel can silence his critics with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he’s doing his part to put work ethic murmurs to bed.

Despite making scores of defensemen look foolish (and sometimes winded) with his immensely underrated foot-speed, people have railed on the sniper for “not looking like an athlete.” Maybe that will remain the case, but he’s dropped 13 lbs. this summer, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Dreger notes that Kessel lost the weight after going through Gary Roberts’ vaunted off-season plan, which drew rave reviews from players such as Steven Stamkos over the years.

So, with that, where are we at on the list of Kessel beefs? (Sifts through “doesn’t play defense” and “is bad with the media.”)

Then again, there’s always the Kyle Wellwood corollary: what if he’s better off with a little extra beef?

Rich Peverley retires from NHL, joins Stars’ front office

Rich Peverley
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Rich Peverley shared some sad (though maybe not surprising) news on Saturday: his NHL playing career is over.

On the bright side, it sounds as though he’s immediately transitioning to a front office job, as he told the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika that he’ll work in the player development department.

“It was working out, monitoring how I was doing, continuing to see doctors to exhaust every avenue and find out exactly if I could play,” Peverley said to the DMN. “It’s a case that’s very complicated, and what I have learned is there is no 100 percent to medicine and, unfortunately, I can’t play anymore.”

Peverley fought his way from going undrafted to playing 442 regular season games and 59 postseason contests in his career. He’s likely best remembered for his time with Boston, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2011.

It’s never a happy moment to see a player hang up his skates at what he believes is a premature age (Peverley is 33).

On the other hand, there are probably a few onlookers who are breathing a sigh of relief.

Peverley’s “cardiac incident” was a truly frightening scene, and many were worried about the risks he might be taking if he resumed NHL play. Some of the choice might have been taken out of his hands, as it’s plausible that no GM wanted to roll the dice with his health.

Heika shares more details regarding Peverley’s decision and his role with the Stars organization here.

Tyler Seguin already spoke out about his former teammate:

Rangers nab Chris Drury as director of player development

Rangers Sign Chris Drury And Scott Gomez
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While we don’t know the particulars about his day-to-day life, it seems like this has been a stellar summer for Chris Drury.

Back in August, he learned that he’ll become a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Friday presented some other great news: the New York Rangers announced that he’ll be their director of player development.

“It’s a smart move for us to spend effort and time on development … I enjoy his approach to the game,” GM Jeff Gorton said. “We’re trying to add people in some key positions that have had different experiences … that can give us a fresh look.”

Drury, 39, finished his NHL career by playing four seasons with the Rangers, wrapping things up in 2010-11.

He generated 62 goals (including 10 game-winners) and 151 points in 264 regular season contests with New York; Drury also made dump trucks full of money there, as you may remember from various angry fans on message boards.

He obviously also made waves with the Colorado Avalanche (winning a Stanley Cup in 2001) and Buffalo Sabres, so he could impart plenty of lessons to developing prospects.

Blueshirts United goes deep on his duties:

In his role, Drury, 39, will be responsible for working with the team’s hockey operations department to assist in the development of Rangers prospects, both on and off the ice. He will serve as a liaison between the hockey operations department and prospects in the organization, and assist in the evaluation of the team’s prospects. Drury will work closely with the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, to further enhance the progression of Rangers prospects who are in professional hockey by providing encouragement and guidance. In addition, he will assist in overseeing and evaluating all players at the collegiate level.

Update: Multiple witnesses reportedly subpoenaed in Patrick Kane rape investigation

Patrick Kane
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Here’s the latest in the Patrick Kane investigation: a woman who was with his alleged rape victim is scheduled to appear before a grand jury on Sept. 8, WGRZ’s Scott Levin reports.

Update: It turns out that multiple people have been subpoenaed. According to Levin, every person who was at Kane’s Hamburg home during the night of the alleged incident may appear before a grand jury.

***

The 26-year-old has not been charged with a crime at this time.

There are still legal factors that are up in the air; former Erie County district attorney Frank Clark told WGRZ that the process involving this grand jury may develop over weeks or perhaps months. In other words, it’s plausible that the investigation will stretch out well into the 2015-16 season.

Even with some developments, this post regarding Kane’s future provides a good rundown of what may happen.

Also, Jonathan Toews discussed Kane’s situation earlier this week.

(H/T to CSNChicago.com)

Tyler Johnson should be ready for Lightning training camp

Tyler Johnson
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The injury news isn’t all bad for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

While it’s disappointing to hear that rising goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will be sidelined for two-to-three months, breakthrough star forward Tyler Johnson seems to be healing up quite well.

In fact, GM Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith that Johnson will be “ready to go” for training camp after suffering from a broken right wrist during the 2015 playoffs.

The 25-year-old topped all Lightning scorers with 72 points in 77 regular season games and maintained that momentum through the postseason.

It did seem like his game slowed a bit during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, and many believe that wrist injury explains the drop-off. With Steven Stamkos’ contract situation in flux, the Lightning will lean on Johnson quite a bit in 2015-16, so this update is a nice boost for the Bolts.

Lightning training camp begins on Sept. 17, so we’ll see if there are any setbacks for Johnson or other players.

More on Tyler Johnson: He’s under pressure.