Jason Brough

TAMPA, FL - MAY 18:  Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 18, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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No longer dealing with wrist injury, Tyler Johnson is pumped for the season to start

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Tyler Johnson went from 72 points in 2014-15 to just 38 points in 2015-16. It was a sharp drop in production for the diminutive Lightning center, but it sounds like he had a pretty good excuse.

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Johnson revealed that the broken wrist he suffered in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final was still a bother for much of last season.

“I had no strength, didn’t really have flexibility,” Johnson said. “It took me a long time to be able to do anything. It was pretty much about January I could finally do a push-up.”

He added that he’s healthy now, and that he “finished the summer stronger than I’ve ever been.”

This is a big year for the 26-year-old. He’s a pending restricted free agent, and he’s on a team where the salary cap is expected to force some tough decisions.

“I can’t wait for this season to start, to really show what I can do,” he said.

After ‘adventure’ on Friday, Carey Price gets another start for Team Canada

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Carey Price #31 of Canada makes a save against Norway during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Friday in Columbus, Carey Price made his long-awaited return to the net, and it turned into an “adventure” against the Americans. He allowed three goals on 24 shots, looking a lot like a goalie that hadn’t played in a while.

Tonight in Pittsburgh, Price will start again for Team Canada. The opponent is Team Russia, with all its offensive stars, so it won’t get any easier for the Montreal Canadiens’ MVP.

“He gets an opportunity to play again,” head coach Mike Babcock said yesterday, per the Toronto Sun. “He hasn’t played in a long time, didn’t have the kind of game he’d like his first time out. He’s going back in the net. [Corey Crawford] is backing up. Then we’ll set up our rotation for the tournament.”

Translation: another shaky performance by Price and it might be Crawford or Braden Holtby between the pipes when Team Canada plays for real on Saturday.

Crawford was brilliant in Saturday’s 5-2 win over Team USA in Ottawa. He stopped 10 of 10 shots after Holtby had started and allowed two goals on 13 shots.

Joe Thornton is Team Canada’s elder statesman

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 29: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks addresses the media during the NHL Stanley Cup Final Media Day at Consol Energy Center on May 29, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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TORONTO (AP) Mario Lemieux was the unofficial greybeard of Team Canada when the last World Cup of Hockey was played 12 years ago.

This time around, the role falls to 37-year-old Joe Thornton, who played alongside Lemieux in 2004 and is being counted on this time for leadership and talent that have withstood the test of time.

Thornton finished fourth in NHL scoring last season, compiling 82 points in 82 games for the San Jose Sharks. He added another 21 points in 24 playoff games, reaching his first-ever Stanley Cup Final.

“Joe Thornton, when you look at his season last year, he’s playing great hockey,” Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong told the Canadian Press.

Armstrong says Thornton is still one of the best passers in hockey, and indeed his 63 assists last season were only topped by Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson. Thornton is the runaway leader in assists since he entered the league in 1997, 212 ahead of second-place Jaromir Jagr. Thornton also has the most points (1,341) of any player in that span, more than 100 points up on Jagr.

Canada coach Mike Babcock said Thornton’s inclusion on the roster, which came at the initial exclusion of much younger players like Logan Couture, Corey Perry, Ryan O'Reilly and Taylor Hall, was based on merit. His offensive gifts, which have already been apparent in exhibition play, were too much to ignore.

“He obviously was a guy that played well enough and played good enough and was important enough on his team,” Babcock said.

Armstrong was intrigued by how San Jose used Thornton last season, mostly on the wing alongside Joe Pavelski. A plodding skater who didn’t make the 2014 Olympic squad in Sochi, Thornton also seemed a better fit for the NHL-sized rink in Toronto where the World Cup will be played, though Armstrong said his inclusion was based on performance, not the ice surface.

Thornton, who last represented Canada at the 2010 Olympics, hadn’t given much thought to cracking the World Cup roster before getting the invitation this summer.

“It was just one of those things where you just kind of play, don’t think about it and then you get chosen,” said Thornton, still oozing energy even after more than 1,500 NHL games.

It could be the last time he wears red and white on the international stage, though he’s hinted at playing on. He’s already won Olympic (2010) and world junior gold (1997) as well as the crown at that 2004 World Cup, one of two players returning for Team Canada. Jay Bouwmeester is the other.

Thornton recalls that ’04 squad fondly. The group went undefeated (6-0-0) and included Lemieux as well as other future Hall of Famers Scott Niedermayer, Martin Brodeur and Joe Sakic. Thornton, 25 at the time, set up two of three goals in Canada’s 3-2 win over Finland in the final. The Canadians hope he’s still got that magic.

“I’ve still got another 10 years (left),” said a grinning Thornton, “so maybe the next World Cup, I’ll play in it, too.”

Eight teams have offered Fleischmann a tryout, according to his agent

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 15: Brian Elliott #1 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against Tomas Fleischmann #12 of  the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 15, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)
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Eight teams have offered forward Thomas Fleischmann a professional tryout agreement, his agent, Rich Evans, told News 1130 Sports in Vancouver.

Evans didn’t name any of the eight teams.

Fleischmann, 32, is an unrestricted free agent who split last season between Montreal and Chicago. He only appeared in four of seven playoff games for the Blackhawks, registering no points and just three shots on goal. He was a healthy scratch for Games 5, 6, and 7 versus the Blues.

Since the start of 2013-14, Fleischmann has just 30 goals in 222 games, for four different teams. He had a career-high 27 goals for the Panthers in 2011-12.

The Blackhawks acquired Fleischmann, along with winger Dale Weise, from the Montreal Canadiens just prior to last season’s trade deadline. The cost was Phillip Danault and a second-round draft pick in 2018.

Fleischmann is no stranger to his current situation. He attended Canadiens camp on a tryout last year, eventually earning a one-year, $750,000 contract.

Related: Weise calls trade to Chicago a ‘disaster’

There’s no ‘fixed plan’ for the Flyers’ goaltending future

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 05:  Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers is congratulated by teammate Steve Mason #35 after the win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center on January 5, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Flyers GM Ron Hextall will take the wait-and-see approach with his goaltending. Both Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth are pending unrestricted free agents, and Hextall can’t say for sure what’s going to happen as their contracts get closer to expiration.

“Maybe we sign them both,” he said, per the Courier-Post. “I can’t predict. They’re both very good goalies. They both proved it last year. They both should be in their prime/entering their prime. We’re excited about both of them and essentially don’t have a fixed plan moving forward.”

Both goalies are 28 years old. Mason made 53 starts last season and went 23-19-10 with a .918 save percentage, while Neuvirth started 29 times and finished 18-8-4 with a .924 save percentage.

Potentially complicating Hextall’s decision is the expansion draft in June, when each team will only be allowed to protect one netminder.

The Flyers also have a couple of decent goaltending prospects in Anthony Stolarz, a second-round draft pick in 2012, and Alex Lyon, the college free agent they signed in April. Stolarz, 22, has already spent two seasons in the AHL. It’s possible, if he continues to improve, that he could be ready for the NHL next season.

“We’re just going to play this season and see how things go,” Hextall added. “That doesn’t mean at some point…I don’t want to say something because I don’t know right now.”

Related: Flyers not looking to trade Mason or Neuvirth