Mike Halford

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 19:  Kris Russell #4 of the Calgary Flames looks on beforoe a face off against the New Jersey Devils on January 19,2016 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Report: Ottawa’s ‘kicked tires’ on Russell, Seidenberg

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The Senators’ blueline isn’t especially deep, so it came as little surprise on Monday that GM Pierre Dorion said he wanted to add some competition at the position.

“On the back end, I’d like it to be a healthy competition for roster spots so either we’re still looking at bring someone on a PTO,” Dorion said, per the Ottawa Sun. “Or, at this point in time, maybe something more depending on what players are looking for.”

According to the Sun, the Sens have “kicked tires” on arguably the two biggest UFA defensemen left on the market — Dennis Seidenberg and Kris Russell.

But they might not land in the Canadian capital.

Seidenberg reportedly wants a contract prior to training camp, not a professional tryout. One would have to assume the same goes for Russell, who at one point was rumored to be in line for a major payday.

At current glance, Ottawa is rolling with Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf, Marc Methot, Cody Ceci, Mark Borowiecki, Chris Wideman and Fredrik Claesson as its seven defensemen for the year. The trouble spots, obviously, would be the bottom two — Wideman, a quality producer at the AHL level, is just 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds with only 64 games of NHL experience.

Claesson, 23, has even less experience, having only appeared in 16 career contests.

Vegas is getting a USA Hockey store

LAS VEGAS - MARCH 24:  A general view of the Fabulous Las Vegas sign on Las Vegas Boulevard on March 24, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Sin City has hockey fever.

Just weeks after officially scoring an expansion NHL franchise, Las Vegas has announced it will open a USA Hockey store at the Fashion Show mall on the Strip, “one of the most sought-after retail destinations in the United States.”

More, from USA Hockey:

The store, operated by Redline Hockey, will be located on the west side of the second floor at space 2590 near Dillard’s and will feature the latest USA Hockey merchandise, U.S. Olympic Team-branded items, National Hockey League apparel and other unique hockey-related products. The grand opening is set for Saturday, Oct. 1.

“We are very pleased to extend our relationship with USA Hockey,” said Matt Nyman, president and chief executive officer of Redline Hockey. “Because of the interest in the sport of hockey created by the announcement of the new Las Vegas NHL franchise, we feel this is a great location for a USA Hockey Store.”

The first USA Hockey Store opened in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 2011.

Blues bring back a familiar face in Porter via camp PTO

Matt Dumba, Chris Porter
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Chris Porter, who made his Blues debut eight years ago and appeared in nearly 200 games with the club, is headed back to St. Louis on a training camp tryout, per the Star-Tribune and Fox Sports Midwest.

The 32-year-old had a whirlwind ’15-16 campaign. After he and the Blues were eliminated in the opening playoff round, Porter left and signed a one-year deal with Philly, but never played a single game for the Flyers.

Minnesota claimed him off waivers just prior to the start of the regular season, reuniting him with good buddy (and former UND teammate) Zach Parise.

With the Wild, Porter had a fairly effective campaign in a defensive forward/checking role — four goals and seven points in 61 games, appearing in all six of Minnesota’s opening-round playoff games.

Porter is just one of several veterans going to Blues camp this fall on a PTO. Others include Eric Nystrom, Mike Weber, T.J. Galiardi and Yan Stastny.

This is a familiar move from St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong. Last year, veterans Scott Gomez and Scottie Upshall both came to camp on a tryout basis, and both ended up scoring contracts.

Still unsigned, Seidenberg hopeful ‘something comes up’ — but he wants a contract, not a PTO

Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche
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UFA blueliner Dennis Seidenberg made his Team Europe debut on Sunday in a World Cup exhibition loss to North America, the first step in what he hopes is a path to an NHL contract.

And according to TSN, something might be in the works.

“A few teams are circling,” said the 35-year-old veteran, per Frank Seravalli. The catch, of course, is that Seidenberg wants a contract heading into next season as opposed to a professional tryout.

That contract could be hard to come by.

Seidenberg, bought out by the Bruins in late June, has a lot of miles on the odometer — nearly 800 games over a 13-year career — and is just three years removed from a torn ACL/MCL, an injury that seems to have had a lingering affect on his playing abilities.

Though he did return to play all 82 games in ’14-15, the German rearguard missed time with a herniated disc last season and, after recovering, sat as a healthy scratch. It was evident his foot speed and skating had diminished.

Seidenberg did play a handful of games this summer with the German national team, in an effort to stay in shape, but admitted contests against Austria, Latvia and Japan hardly prepared him for the speed and pace of an NHL game.

As for his mental state, Seidenberg said “shock” of his buyout has passed, and he’s prepared to focus on the future.

“I have to go into this tournament, play my game, and hopefully something comes up,” he told the Boston Globe.

It’s tough to see where Seidenberg would fit. One would have to think Edmonton could be in the mix, given the Oilers’ general lack of depth on defense, and Seidenberg’s relationship with former B’s GM Peter Chiarelli. But the Oilers might not be ready to offer up a contract, especially with another veteran — Kris Versteeg — already coming to camp on a PTO.

Could San Jose be in the mix? The club lost a veteran depth guy in Roman Polak and Seidenberg does have history with Peter DeBoer, from their time together in Florida.

Whatever the case, it’ll be curious to see if Seidenberg can play his way into a deal with a strong showing at the World Cup. He and Team Europe open tournament play on Saturday against the U.S.

After avoiding surgery, Malkin says elbow is ‘pretty strong right now’

SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 12:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates by kissing the Stanley Cup after their 3-1 victory to win the Stanley Cup against the San Jose Sharks in Game Six of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on June 12, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Breathe easy, Penguins fans — the elbow injury that plagued Evgeni Malkin throughout the final four months of last season is a thing of the past.

“Everything’s good,” Malkin said over the weekend, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s pretty strong right now. I worked all summer. There’s nothing wrong, no pain. I feel good.”

Malkin, who turned 30 this summer, was initially hurt back in early March on a check from Columbus d-man Dalton Prout. That sidelined the big Russian for the final 15 games of the regular season — and Pittsburgh’s first playoff game — though Malkin did return to help the Pens capture their first Stanley Cup since 2009.

But it wasn’t easy.

Malkin was clearly in discomfort throughout the playoff run. Pens GM Jim Rutherford classified the elbow ailment as a “real serious injury” and praised Malkin, because he “played before most guys would  have played.”

Statistically, Malkin was strong (18 points in 23 games), but there were signs he was limited. His TOI dropped to 17:31 — down from 19:22 in the regular season — and, during the final series against San Jose, head coach Mike Sullivan acknowledged there was “another level” Malkin could reach after going pointless through the first three games.

Malkin had an MRI following the season and, shortly thereafter, the decision was made to avoid surgery and undergo rehab.