Joe Yerdon

Detroit’s DeKeyser (knee) says he’ll be ready for season opener

Danny DeKeyser would like to start the season off right with the Detroit Red Wings, his banged up knee just has to allow him to do it.

Detroit’s rookie blue liner tells Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press the knee he hurt Wednesday night will have him sitting out the final two preseason games this weekend and hopes opening night won’t be in doubt.

“It’s just precautionary,” DeKeyser . “It’s a little sore, so I want to make sure it’s 100% before I go out there again.”

DeKeyser arrived on the scene last season after departing Western Michigan University and had instant success with Detroit before getting hurt. The news does get better for the Red Wings as Jakub Kindl (hip flexor) returns to the lineup for tonight’s game against Toronto.

Going into the season healthy would make for a pleasant change for the Wings after the issues they ran into last season.

Wild release Steckel from PTO

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Yet another veteran hits the free agent pool and this time it’s a faceoff-winning centerman.

David Steckel was released from his professional tryout agreement by the Minnesota Wild. The 31-year-old former Maple Leaf, Capital, Devil, and Duck appeared in two preseason games with the Wild.

His competition in Wild camp to land a job as the fourth line center proved to be stiff. With pivot jobs already spoken for by Mikko Koivu, Kyle Brodziak, and Zenon Konopka holding down jobs with the latter two on the third and fourth lines already. It was an uphill climb from the get-go for Steckel.

As for where he’s headed next, Michael Russo of The Star Tribune says it’s likely he signs a deal with the Wild’s AHL team in Iowa.

Report: Theodore signs one-year deal in KHL

It turns out Jose Theodore may not have had as much NHL interest as he was hoping.

Igor Eronko of sport.ru in Russia reports Theodore has signed a one-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.

There was a report just a couple days ago he had an offer from them, but those were shot down and countered with another report saying he had interest from as many as three NHL teams.

After having his season ended early with the Panthers last season, Theodore was hoping to bounce back as a backup somewhere this season. Ideally he wanted to stay with Florida but that didn’t happen.

Heading to the KHL to continue his career isn’t a bad move for the 2002 Hart Trophy winner at this point just so long as those NHL teams he was reportedly talking with weren’t that interested.

Flames’ Hartley says he hasn’t settled on a No. 1 goalie

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Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley will have a lot of decisions to make this year. One of them centers around how to best replace recently retired Miikka Kiprusoff in goal.

As of now, he hasn’t made any decisions about anything.

“We’re not set yet on our 23 (man roster). We are not set on our No. 1 goalie or our No. 2 goalie,” he told reporters.

“We want to make sure that we watch those guys. We watch those guys in meetings. We watch them on the ice. We watch them in the gym. We do video with them and then we go back on the ice the next day with a certain drill that will tell us if they get it or not.”

His choices in goal aren’t exactly going to wow anyone.

Journeyman Joey MacDonald, recent KHL exile Karri Ramo, and young Swiss goalie Reto Berra are still in the hunt for the top job. Ramo and Berra have gotten the bulk of the starts in the preseason which could point at who will back MacDonald up or it just tells us the Flames want to know what they’ve got in them.

While other teams have a defined No. 1 goalie or are set to split things up, any one of those three could wind up being the top guy in Calgary. Unless someone seizes the job and comes out of nowhere, it could (will?) be a long year for the Flames.

Coyotes deciding between rookies Domi and Lessio

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The Phoenix Coyotes have a pair of young forwards they really like. They’re also having a hard time deciding who stays with the big club as well.

2013 first-round pick Max Domi and 2011 second-round pick Lucas Lessio are competing for the last forward spot with the team and as GM Don Maloney puts it, their decision is going to be tough to make. Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona has the story and it sounds like Lessio has the lead on Domi.

“From Day 1 in camp, Lucas has willed himself onto our roster with hard work,” Maloney said. “We’ve been waiting to see a drop-off and we haven’t seen one, so he’s probably the most pleasant surprise in camp.”

Maloney says Lessio could play on any of the four lines while Domi would have to be on one of the top two scoring lines to fit in best. That turns into a dilemma as to what coach Dave Tippett needs more of: Goals or all-around play.

Domi making the jump right into the NHL would be a surprise as he’s got the option to head back to juniors. While he could get a nine-game look, after seeing how things went with Kyle Turris in the past, they may not want to do that again.