James O'Brien

Cedric Paquette
AP

Bolts’ Paquette day-to-day, X-ray comes up negative

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Once you shake off the naivete that comes with sometimes getting a little too excited about results, following pre-season sports is often about crossing your fingers when it comes to injuries.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are doing that right now when it comes to pest Cedric Paquette, who was shaken up after blocking a shot during Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Dallas Stars.

So far, it’s a wait-and-see situation, although there are a few notes to consider.

The good: Paquette was walking around after the contest, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman.

The bad: It’s concerning enough to at least call for an X-ray, Auman notes:

Paquette isn’t a make-or-break player for the Lightning, but you might be surprised how much of a difference a nuisance of a forward (with a dash of skill) can make.

Update: Sounds like they dodged a bullet.

Kings announce cuts, including BizNasty from his PTO

Paul Bissonnette, Jay Rosehill
AP

The Los Angeles Kings reduced their training camp roster to 34 players on Saturday, kicking 18 out of the mix. The biggest name, at least from a “social media impact” standpoint was Paul Bissonnette, aka “BizNasty.”

Here is the full list, via the Kings:

Assigned to Ontario (AHL):

Justin Auger – RW
Patrik Bartosak – G
Jonny Brodzinski – C
Nic Dowd – C
Nick Ebert – D
Kevin Gravel – D
Adrian Kempe – LW
Maxim Kitsyn – LW
Zachary Leslie – D
Alex Lintuniemi – D
Kurtis MacDermid – D
Alex Roach – D
Scott Sabourin – RW
Valentin Zykov – RW

Released from Pro Tryout:

Sean Backman – RW
Paul Bissonnette – LW
Ryan Horvat – LW
Kevin Raine – D

It sounds like Bissonnette and other PTO options may also play in the AHL:

The biggest pros from a hypothetical call-up would be 1) wacky tweets and 2) glorious fight photos like this post’s main image.

Also:

Ryan Reaves, Paul Bissonnette
Via AP
Paul Bissonnette, Mike Rupp
Via AP
Via AP

(Tough to top that main image, though.)

Patrick Kane tries to focus on hockey

Patrick Kane
AP
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Even with all that’s happened off the ice during the last week in particular, Patrick Kane is trying to keep his mind on hockey.

That was his message heading into Saturday’s preseason game for the Chicago Blackhawks, as outlets such as CSNChicago.com report.

“Especially after the past couple of days, right now, I’m just trying to focus on the game tonight, coming out in practice today and trying to get better, focus on that. But I don’t really have anything to say about what transpired over the past, whatever it’s been, 72 hours,” Kane said. “My focus is here on the game tonight and I guess I’ll also congratulate the Chicago Cubs on clinching a playoff spot.”

The 26-year-old did take a moment to thank fans, the Blackhawks organization, his family and girlfriend during this time, noting that “everyone’s kind of stuck with me through the whole thing.”

For more from Kane’s point of view, check out the full CSNChicago.com article.

Catch up on Kane’s situation

NHL confirms that his playing status hasn’t changed

Both sides on evidence tampering allegations

Lawyer for Kane’s accuser removes himself from the case

Report: Blackhawks sign Seabrook to big eight-year extension

Brent Seabrook
AP
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The Chicago Blackhawks have reportedly signed defenseman Brent Seabrook to an eight-year extension worth approximately $55 million ($6.875 million per season), according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun’s updated terms.

Update: The Blackhawks confirmed the signing of an eight-year extension. As with most NHL teams, they didn’t share the exact cap hit, total cost or other details of the contract, so keep in mind that these numbers may serve as close estimates.

Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman originally broke the news of the extension. He provided more contract details, which are especially relevant to those who are a little concerned about Seabrook, 30, declining toward the middle of this deal.

The rugged yet offensively useful defenseman is currently in the final year of a deal that nets a $5.8 million cap hit, so he gets a solid raise and the security that comes with a lengthy extension.

One would assume that he may only have one or two short-term deals left in him once this extension runs out, especially considering his physical style.

The cap situation will probably be tight for the Blackhawks in 2016-17, but they’ve (reasonably) taken an approach where they lock up core players and then let supporting cast details work themselves out. Seabrook might not be as obvious a member of the team’s “nucleus,” yet he’s been a big part of their successes over the years.

He got rewarded for that on Saturday, at least according to Friedman.

Again, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman must really hope that the cap rises a little faster in 2016-17 and beyond:

Preds’ GM: ‘This is our year’

Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber
AP
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The Nashville Predators don’t get much (any?) hype as a Stanley Cup contender, but should they garner some?

Consider GM David Poile’s comment from fan activities on Saturday:

“There are a lot of good teams in the league this year, the good news is we’re one of those teams … this is our year,” Poile said, according to Brooks Bratten of the team website.

That’s not exactly the sort of scorching hot take that will show up on opposing team’s bulletin boards, though it’s something that we might as well examine on this sleepy Saturday.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s weigh the pros for the Preds.

Prime years

Key Nashville Predators are either entering their prime range or aren’t that far outside of them.

Shea Weber is 30 and Pekka Rinne is 32. Roman Josi is really coming into his own at 25, and Ryan Ellis is quietly carving out his own place at 24. James Neal can still impose his will at 28 and perhaps a breakthrough is coming for Craig Smith (26) and/or Colin Wilson (25).

Contract year motivation

For all of those expecting Filip Forsberg to regress, there’s the alternative: he can earn himself a big raise, even if he’ll become an RFA after next season.

(Assuming, of course, that the Predators don’t sign him to an extension.)

Beyond Forsberg, there’s also Seth Jones, a defenseman who could make a big leap in the last year of his rookie deal.

Alongside those bolder names, wild cards such as Cody Hodgson are aiming to earn their next contracts.

There for the taking?

It’s totally conceivable that, despite this mess of a summer, the Chicago Blackhawks will still be the West’s best. The Los Angeles Kings could bounce back from their own nightmares, too.

Relatively speaking, the West seems a little more approachable, at least at the top. Perhaps.

***

Look, Nashville has its faults. Most obviously, the Mikes (Ribeiro and Fisher) won’t scare anyone down the middle.

That said, the Predators are formidable in two major areas that people connect to contender status: defense and goaltending. They also have cap space (about $6.24 million, according to General Fanager) that they can throw around to try to add some extra oomph on offense.

It’s unclear if it’s really the Predators’ year, but looking at the situation, it’s reasonable for Poile to claim that it is.

P.S. “bromances” didn’t make the cut.