NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Wild, Penguins, Capitals, Avs, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, how real is the talk that president Brendan Shanahan, GM Kyle Dubas, and head coach Sheldon Keefe could be on the hot seat with the Toronto Maple Leafs? Meanwhile, how much time will Kirill Kaprizov miss of the Minnesota Wild’s training camp? Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin talk Ovechkin’s chase of the goal-scoring record, while Nathan MacKinnon responds to rumors he’s a diet freak and often difficult teammate.

Shanahan, Keefe and Dubas on the Hot Seat

Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun notes Shanahan, Dubas, and Keefe are three names to watch this season when it comes to job security in the NHL. All could be relieved of their duties if this season doesn’t go well for the team. Koshan writes:

Another successful regular season won’t cut it. If the Leafs aren’t able to have some kind of advancement in the playoffs, then someone other than Shanahan should be given a chance to run the team. This season will be Shanahan’s eighth as president, with nary a playoff series win mixed in. World wars have been fought and won in less time.

source – ‘KOSHAN: The hot seat, Matthews’ wrist and other thoughts as Maple Leafs camp looms’ – Terry Koshan – Toronto Sun – 09-15-2021
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)

The scribe adds that another stumble would “open the door for another hockey person to be the GM” and notes that the new GM would probably want to hire his own coach.

Kaprizov Will Miss Start of Wild Training Camp

Even if the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov get a contract extension worked out here in the next couple of days, the forward will miss the start of training camp. Michael Russo reports that on-ice sessions are set to begin next Thursday, but Kaprizov “won’t, at a minimum, be in camp on time due to work visa obligations/7-day quarantine.”

Crosby Rooting for Ovechkin

To some fans, the idea that Sidney Crosby would be cheering for Alexander Ovechkin sounds insane, but the two on-ice rivals have found common ground as Ovechkin is chasing Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal-scoring record. As per Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, the Penguins captain is cheering for Ovechkin, who currently has 730 goals, to finish his career atop that category in the record books. “I hope he does. I told him today that I hope he does,” Crosby admitted. “It would be awesome. He’s in range.” 

As for what Ovechkin still needs to do, at 36, he’ll need to average over 30 goals per season in his final five seasons. Should he not, it’s unclear if he will sign another deal with the Capitals just to break the record of 895 goals.

Another Brady Tkachuk Update

As per Shawn Simpson: “Brady Tkachuk is leaving St Louis this weekend :) Heading to Ann Arbour to skate with the USDP. Will stay there until Thursday, and then return to St Louis. A deal can happen at any time, but this tells me nothing is imminent.”

Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators
Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There were reports earlier this week, including from Gord Miller of TSN, that the belief was the Senators and Tkachuk were close on an extension. The reports from different sources seem to go back and forth on how close the two sides actually are.

MacKinnon Calls Zadorov a “Bit of a Donkey”

It wasn’t long ago that a former teammate of Nathan MacKinnon (Nikita Zadorov) said that MacKinnon could be a little hard on players who didn’t try, made mistakes during practice, or ate junk food during the season. After Zadorov’s interview in Russia went viral, many compared MacKinnon to Michael Jordan from “The Last Dance” on Netflix — an ultra-competitive, overbearing, win-at-all-costs superstar.

On Thursday during the NHL media tour, MacKinnon responded to comments that he’s over the top when it comes to being a diet freak and said:

“Yeah, it got a little out of hand I think. Big Z. If you guys all know Z, he’s a bit of a donkey. People see a Russian translation and think it is the Bible, I guess. I don’t know. It’s all good. He went a little extreme. That’s what Z does. He loves a good quote.”

MacKinnon added, “I’m a regular guy. I’m not crazy.” He says he’s not always a health nut and sometimes goes to In-N-Out after games. Of course, the memes that were about him being a diet freak are now turning into memes about going to In-N-Out. It’s important to note that MacKinnon didn’t seem upset and was in a good mood talking about it. He said he enjoyed some of the memes as much as anyone.

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