When the New Jersey Devils begin their season against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 9, they may be doing so without their all-time leading scorer.
Patrik Elias has a sore right knee and that will prevent him from seeing any action in the preseason. As noted, that’s also put his availability for the 2015-16 opener into question.
“I’ll probably know a few days from now a little bit better,” Devils coach John Hynes told The Record.
In the meantime Elias has skated a bit on his own. However, the Devils want to err on the side of caution when dealing with the 39-year-old forward.
It’s worth noting that Jaromir Jagr missed the 2013 preseason due to a groin injury, but the then 41-year-old forward still participated in the Devils’ opener, so if Elias goes that route it wouldn’t be an unheard of set of circumstances for New Jersey.
That being said, Elias’ health might unfortunately prove to be a recurring story this season given his age and the fact that he played in fewer than 70 games in each of the last two campaigns.
Michael McNiven’s work with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack last season didn’t lead to him getting drafted, but the Montreal Canadiens gave him a chance to prove himself and his efforts led to him getting a three-year, entry-level contract.
It didn’t get off to a great start as he showed up for Montreal’s development camp overweight, but he managed to address that by losing 10 pounds before the start of the rookie tournament. From there he posted a 47-save performance in a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospects.
“Sometimes, messages are hard to take for some kids. It’s like when they make a mistake, [it’s important to look at] how they react and what they do to get better. They need to understand that we’re there to help them. Michael took that to heart and he did what was asked. Now, he’s seeing that it’s working,” said AHL St. John’s bench boss Sylvain Lefebvre, who served as Montreal’s coach for that rookie game, according to Canadiens.com. “He battled. He made some big saves. He sees the play well.”
From there he got invited to Montreal’s main camp. Obviously the 18-year-old goaltender still has a long road ahead of him, but at least now he’s under the umbrella of an NHL organization.
“It’s a very big day for me and my family. I wasn’t expecting to come out with it, but it definitely came across my mind with the way I pushed myself during the offseason. It’s a great feeling. It’s just a first stepping stone to many more. I’ve just got to keep on going from here on in,” McNiven told the team’s website. “This past summer, I wasn’t selected at the NHL Draft in Florida. It just goes to show that I’ve come a long way with my training and my nutrition, and I came out with the best result I could possibly have. I wasn’t too upset after the draft, and I’m especially not upset right now. I kind of feel like it still hasn’t hit me yet.”
Joshua Ho-Sang is a 2014 first round pick that was cut on the first day of training camp because he didn’t set an alarm.
“I should probably start doing that,” Ho-Sang said, per Newsday.
Showing up late to the start of training camp is obviously frowned upon, especially if you’re a young player trying to show you are committed to making the team. It’s particularly problematic in his case because it plays into the perception that his attitude is an issue.
For his part though, Ho-Sang does feel that the Islanders’ decision to cut him was fitting.
“Obviously a lot more people found out about my mistake than other people’s daily ones, but I definitely take ownership,” Ho-Sang said. “I don’t think there’s anyone to blame . . . it’s embarrassing.”
It’s official: John Tortorella is Team USA’s head coach for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
“We’re excited to have John as head coach of our World Cup team,” said Los Angeles Kings and Team USA GM Dean Lombardi, per USA Hockey. “He knows what it takes to win at the highest level and I know that our entire management group looks forward to working with him and his staff.”
Tortorella has won 446 NHL games — more than any other American coach — and is a Stanley Cup champion. However, he was relieved of his duties with the New York Rangers in 2013 and his attempt to extend his career with the Vancouver Canucks ended disastrously.
As previously noted though, he does have experience when it comes to representing America in both the Worlds and Olympics. It’s also possible that the World Cup will favor bench bosses that aren’t currently employed by an NHL team, as seems to be the implication after the selection of Tortorella and Ralph Krueger as Team Europe’s head coach.
At the least, this gives him a stage to show that he can still be an effective bench boss.
Torts: "I'm nervous about it, because it's that big to me." #WorldCup2016