James O'Brien

Ottawa Senators v New Jersey Devils
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Panthers give Havlat a tryout offer

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The Florida Panthers announced that they handed veteran winger Martin Havlat a professional tryout offer on Friday.

Havlat, 34, spent the 2014-15 season with the New Jersey Devils, generating five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 40 games.

He’s likely to be delighted to reunite with fellow Czech forward Jaromir Jagr – whom he played with in New Jersey, not to mention internationally – although one might guess that the Panthers would prefer not to line them up even if Havlat makes the cut.

Jagr was a fantastic fit with Florida’s younger forwards after being traded to the Panthers last season, as you may remember.

Havlat is a player who, at his best, featured dazzling talent. Even so, injuries have plagued him over the years, leaving many “what if?” questions.

Now the question is “what’s left?”

Related: David Booth gets a PTO from the Panthers, too.

Report: Grand jury for Kane case to resume soon

Patrick Kane
AP
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After being postponed earlier this week, the latest word from the Chicago Tribune on Thursday is that a grand jury is expected to resume regarding Patrick Kane‘s alleged rape investigation.

Paul Cambria told the Tribune that the grand jury wasn’t pushed back on his request, and he wasn’t sure why it was canceled. Cambria also doesn’t know when the grand jury will resume, only that it will happen soon.

Others told the Tribune that it could happen sometime in the next two weeks. There’s no word how this may affect Kane’s involvement in Blackhawks training camp, which kicks off on Sept. 18.

One other noteworthy element is that Cambria said the 26-year-old “did nothing wrong,” backing up sentiments expressed by Kane’s agent.

There have been a few legal postponements lately, from Mike Richards’ situation being moved to December to Ryan O'Reilly‘s situation getting postponed to October.

Related

Police confirm investigation

Jonathan Toews on Kane

What happens with Kane?

PHT Morning Skate: Clean slate for Lecavalier?

Vincent Lecavalier
Associated Press
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

With a new head coach in Philadelphia, Vincent Lecavalier believes he might make the best out of a clean slate with the Flyers. (CSNPhilly.com)

Much like Mike Richards, Ryan O'Reilly‘s legal situation was essentially placed on hold, as his next court date looks to be on Oct. 1. For now? (Buffalo News)

Pondering the economic impact of Connor McDavid. (Sportsnet)

Brendan Shanahan shared some interesting thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rebuild via Twitter. (#AskShanny)

Speaking of the Maple Leafs, Mats Sundin will be added to Legends Row.

The Ottawa Senators are getting the ball rolling with Daniel Alfredsson regarding a potential front office role. (Ottawa Citizen)

Defensemen who excel at preventing dangerous scoring chances. Apparently they don’t all have to be Zdeno Chara-good to be effective. (TSN)

An early look at Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby lining up together.

*Gasp* did Kessel not lose weight after all? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Bruins’ top picks fail conditioning test

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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A summer rife with not-so-good headlines continued for Boston Bruins fans, as the team’s trio of 2015 first-round picks seem to be limping out of the gate.

All three of those top picks – Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zach Sensyshyn – failed the team’s conditioning test on Thursday, according to CSNNE.com.

Here’s a quick description of the drill, which could be filed under “reasons fans shouldn’t always envy professional athletes.”

The test consists of a series of six back-and-forth 300 meter sprints with three minutes of rest in between each run, and all of them must be completed in under one minute’s time.

There are some caveats, as GM Don Sweeney told CSNNE.com that they were running on a “wet, slippery turf surface.”

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that the trio fell short of the mark with that same test back in July.

DeBrusk was the closest one to pass the drill, and he seems confident that he’ll do better next time.

For naysayers, this is another bullet in the chamber after some labelled one or more of those picks as “reaches.”

More sober observers will probably laugh the whole thing off.

Let’s not forget that:

  • People freaked out about Calgary Flames prospect Sam Bennett being unable to do pull-ups, and he’s looking like a gem. (He’s also able to do pull-ups now.)
  • The Bruins’ training staff once worried that Milan Lucic was too much of a “string bean” to make it in the NHL. Yes, that Milan Lucic.
  • These players are very young and the Bruins probably want to bring them along gradually rather than throwing them right into the fire.

Hockey fans will look back at this off-season as turning point for the Bruins, but few will remember anyone’s sprint times.

At least we got some jokes out of it.

Devils sign Schlemko for one year, $650K

Anaheim Ducks v Calgary Flames - Game Three
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The New Jersey Devils dipped into the free agent pool on Thursday, signing defenseman David Schlemko to a one-year, $650K contract.

The team notes that it’s a one-way deal, which is noteworthy as there could be quite a bit of competition for roster spots among Devils blueliners.

“David Schlemko is a veteran with five years of NHL experience who brings depth and competition to our defensive corps,” Devils GM Ray Shero said.

Schlemko, 28, bounced around quite a bit in 2014-15, playing 20 games with the Arizona Coyotes, five with the Dallas Stars and then finishing up with 19 contests as a member of the Calgary Flames.

While he experienced instability, he stood as a relatively stable presence in Calgary, putting up some healthy possession stats on a team that didn’t excel in that regard.

The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti lays out the possible players vying for a role in New Jersey:

One wouldn’t expect spectacular things from Schlemko, but he could be a nice depth guy, at least if he can break into the lineup. All things considered, it’s not a bad deal for the Devils.