Thursday was a bit of a quiet day around NHL training camps. Many teams either used it to give players rest or had them do off-ice workouts. After four months off time will be needed to get players back up to speed. Given the short window of camp before heading to their respective hub cities, keep rosters healthy is of paramount concern. Let’s take a quick skate around camps with NHL Training Camp News Day 4:
Koivu still debating future
Wild captain Mikko Koivu is in the final year of his contract and isn’t sure what he’ll do next season. The 37-year-old played 55 games this season and saw his lowest ice time (15:34) since 2005-06, his rookie year.
“I feel really good,” he said. “As of right now, I’m just really trying to enjoy every minute of it on the ice and the preparation part. Once we get to Edmonton and start playing again, trying to take it as a new experience. I think we all realize right now that anything can happen, so you just want to have fun with it and at the same time prepare the right way and make sure that we do our part as good as we can.
“Once the games are done then I’ll look at the future and that’s going to be up to [how I feel] mentally, physically, and trying to do the right thing in my mind about the future. For the final decision, I don’t think it’s the time to make that call as of right now.”
When he spoke during the NHL pause, Koivu left the door open for a potential return home to Finland.
Stars with a do-over
Displeased with how training camp went in September, Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness sees this as a chance to get off on the right foot … or skate. Teams aren’t coming out of camp now playing lackluster October regular season games. Every game will be meaningful, something he’s trying to stress.
“You’re going right into it and you’re not going to have time to find your game,” Bowness said. “That’s why it’s important our practices are upbeat, our tempo is good, and we’re working on the things we know we have to work on. The players have to bring a good attitude every day and we can’t waste a day — there’s just not enough time.
The Stars play their only exhibition game on July 30 against the Predators before an Aug. 3 round-robin date with the Golden Knights.
‘Stache in he front, party in the back for Werenski
As training camp opened this week, Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski returned sporting a fresh look. How do you like the mullet and mustache combo?
John Tortorella noticed and was sure to volley a few chirps Werenski’s way. How did Werenski explain the new look?
“What’s there to defend, I like it,” he said.
It has a real 1980s action movie villain look.
Pasta missing from Bruins practice
A day after making his debut at Bruins camp David Pastrnak was nowhere to be seen Thursday. Head coach Bruce Cassidy deemed him “unfit to participate” and given the NHL’s new injury disclosure policy we have no idea what that really means.
Ondrej Kase, who’s yet to skate with the regular group, was also missing.
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“Am I thinking ahead to being without those guys in the round-robin or playoffs? No. That would be speculating,” said Cassidy. “Obviously missing two guys that play up in your lineup and a guy like David that’s your League-leading [goal] scorer, you want him in there, you want him getting back into condition, you want him returning to the ice, and being with his teammates. But he’s not.”
Another issue to deal with was Tuukka Rask leaving practice early. The netminder was stung by a shot on Tuesday, but Cassidy was unsure if it was related to today’s exit.
Nothing is real.
Everything is cake. pic.twitter.com/g7l2GcpiZU
— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) July 16, 2020
Yana Tarasenko gets in on Vlad’s workout
Vladimir Tarasenko is healthy and ready to play again for the Blues after suffering an October shoulder injury. He’s been out since Oct. 24 and used the pause to keep in shape in case the NHL did resume.
It was during the break Tarasenko showed off a unique workout via his Instagram.
“Yeah, it’s like a special workout,” he said. “It’s something fun you have to do through quarantine. It’s not my everyday routine, but sometimes you can do this.”
Tarasenko was also asked about upcoming life in the hub city of Edmonton. He said he’s going there to focus on hockey, not feel like he needs to be at a vacation resort.
“I don’t need much to live,” he said. “I just need a bed and food.”
Waiting for Sorokin
Ilya Sorokin won’t be able to play for the Islanders against the Panthers, but the newly-signed goaltender can skate with the team and join them when they head to Toronto. For now, the 24-year-old and the team must wait on immigration paperwork to be filed in order to allow him to travel over from Russia.
“Ilya will come as soon as he’s allowed,” Sorokin’s agent, Dan Milstein told AMNY.
The Islanders were able to sign Sorokin this week six years after drafting him. One day after inking a deal to join the team the rest of the 2019-20 season, he signed a one-year, $2 million extension for next season.
Hurricanes defenseman Brady Skjei can’t wait to face his old Rangers teammates in their Stanley Cup Qualifier series. Following the February trade to Carolina, he’s eager to send them back home.
“I’ve got a ton of motivation,” he said Thursday. “I really enjoyed my time in New York and I loved every part of it. But now I have a ton of motivation, a little chip on my shoulder, going into this playoff series.”
Rod Brind’Amour did say on Thursday that the coaching staff planned to talked with Skjei to get information about the way the Rangers like to play.
“We’ll definitely use him as a resource here as we start dialing up more talking about our opponent,” he said. “Starting next week we’ll definitely pick his brain because he was just there, he’s been in their system a long time. It’s in the works.”
MORE: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.