Ryan Dadoun

Noah Juulsen
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Habs first-rounder Juulsen to make preseason debut

Noah Juulsen’s first training camp with the Montreal Canadiens has largely past him by as he worked his way back from a concussion. The silver lining is that he’s gotten healthy in time to make his preseason debut tonight against the Ottawa Senators.

“They’re treating me well,” Juulsen said, per NHL.com. “It’s a great feeling just getting back here.

“It’s not an ideal scenario, but I’ve got to go out and play my game.”

The Canadiens took Juulsen with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The defenseman established himself as an offensive force with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips last season by scoring nine goals and 52 points in 68 contests.

At the same time, this isn’t the first concussion the 18-year-old has suffered, although he didn’t want to disclose how many he’s had. He also didn’t specify the cause of his latest injury, except to say that it occurred “off ice.”

He missed the Canadiens’ rookie camp as well and only resumed skating with the team on Saturday. On the plus side, he hasn’t experienced symptoms in a couple weeks.

Juulsen is expected to be paired up with Alexei Emelin on Thursday. He’s likely to spend the season in the WHL.

Blashill very happy with Howard, Mrazek

Jeff Blashill
AP Photo
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Who is the Detroit Red Wings’ number one goaltender? That’s a question that might not be answered by the end of training camp.

“I think both have played really, really well, which is what my thought process was going in,” Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said, per the Detroit Free Press. “We have two guys that both have proven at different times to be elite and both can be elite.

“We’ll keep watching them and either create separation or as it has been so far, both played really well.”

A year ago, Jimmy Howard was the team’s clear starter and he certainly played like a top-tier goalie in the first half of the 2014-15 campaign. However, he suffered a groin injury and while he was able to return from that, he was inconsistent. The Red Wings consequently went with Petr Mrazek in the playoffs instead.

Mrazek had a strong campaign and largely held his own against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, posting a 2.11 GAA and .925 save percentage in seven playoff contests. That coupled with his success under Blashill when they led the AHL Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup in 2013 puts him in an interesting position, but Blashill also thinks highly of Howard.

“The first half of last year he was an All-Star for a reason, he was having an elite year,” Blashill said. “You never know how guys come back from injury, you never know how they feel. What I see right now is a guy who looks confident. He is patient in the net and pucks are sticking to him. He looks confident and he is making big saves at big moments.”

It’s worth noting that Detroit has four sets of back-to-back games in October and another two in November, so both goalies are likely to get a healthy number of starts early. If either netminder has separated himself at that point then we might have the answer to our question.

PHT Morning Skate: Neal talks about what it takes to score in the NHL

James Neal
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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.

James Neal went into detail about what it takes to be a sniper in the NHL. (The Players’ Tribune)

On the benefits of using four forwards with the man advantage. (Hockey-Graphs.com)

If you missed the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Kraft Hockeyville game last night, here are the highlights:

Bob Costas also interviewed Hanson Brothers as part of the Hockeyville festivities:

Looking back at the 1992 NHL Strike and the role of hockey cards had in that work stoppage. (The Hockey News)

Derek Roy, who is attending the Capitals’ training camp on a tryout basis, feels “it’s been pretty good” so far. (Washington Times)

The New Jersey Devils might include Pavel Zacha on their opening game roster, but if they do it will have to be for a reason other than a desire to provide the promising 18-year-old forward with some NHL experience. (The Record)

Carl Gunnarsson missed Tuesday’s preseason game due to a groin injury, but the good news is that Robert Bortuzzo (lower body) should be back on Thursday. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Eberle exits game with injury, won’t practice Wednesday

Jordan Eberle
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For an Edmonton Oilers franchise that’s hoping to provide its fans with a sign that the worst is finally behind them after drafting Connor McDavid and overhauling their front office and coaching staff, the last thing they need for injuries to slow them down before they even have a chance to get going.

That unfortunate scenario might be the one they’re facing though as Jordan Eberle was unable to finish Tuesday’s game against Arizona due to an injury. The exact nature of his ailment isn’t clear yet, but it looks like it’s probably an upper-body issue:

After the game Oilers bench boss Todd McLellan ruled out the possibility of Eberle taking part in the team’s practice on Wednesday. Beyond that he didn’t offer any details, other than to say that he will know more tomorrow, per the Edmonton Journal’s Joanne Ireland.

Eberle was the tam’s scoring leader last season with 63 points.

Babcock needs Leafs veterans to start ‘playing the right way’

Mike Babcock
The Canadian Press via AP
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Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock has a difficult task ahead of him. That point was reinforced by Toronto’s 4-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres tonight.

Sure it was just an exhibition game, but for a team trying to undergo a culture change, the circumstances of that loss are relevant, especially seeing as it was the Leafs’ veteran players that seemed to be the problem.

“We’ve got to get our veterans playing the right way,” Babcock said, per TSN. “That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to get them playing. We can talk about kids; that’s a nice sideline story in exhibition but you’ve got to get your players to play.”

Babcock called on the team’s top players to lead the way.

“I didn’t think the people that you perceive as our good players were good enough, not even close,” he said.

After getting off to a strong start, Toronto has now lost three straight preseason games and has been shutout of the last two. Again, these are exhibition contests being discussed so the results can’t be read into too much, but Babcock does feel that the team isn’t spending enough time in the offensive zone.

To put this all into context, even if we were to take the Maple Leafs’ recent results at face value, it’s worth emphasizing that expectations are low for the team this season as they focus on rebuilding. After all, when he took the job, Babcock warned that there’s “pain coming.” He likely wasn’t referring to a couple preseason shutout losses when he made that prediction.