With the World Cup finished and the players of Team Canada and Team Europe reporting to training camp, attention is turning to the season opener, which is less than two weeks away. But before it’s all NHL all the time, one last note from the World Cup.
The NHLPA’s Don Fehr tells ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that there will definitely be a World Cup in 2020, “absent something very unusual happening.”
He, the NHLPA and the NHL are all pleased with how the tournament went. “The first thing I would obviously look for is, how do the players feel? And it seems to be uniformly positive,” Fehr told LeBrun. “They like the event, they like the format, they really enjoy the level of the competition and doing it in one place without having to fly around the world. So that’s really good.”
Fehr also said he doesn’t think the World Cup is a replacement for the Olympics. “The Olympics, you have to remember, is an event onto itself; it’s unlike anything else,” he said. “It’s a multisport event, you have people from all over the world and it has its own special charm, its own special issues. But it’s distinct from anything else.”
While he focused on the fact that players want to play in the Olympics, he acknowledged that the IOC’s refusal to offer the kind of support for NHL players that they have in the past is a major obstacle to NHL participation in the 2018 Games.
Tim Murray On Rasmus Ristolainen Contract Negotiations
There are a handful of RFAs without contracts despite most teams being a few games into their preseason schedule. One of those RFAs is Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who has taken the uncommon step of getting permission to skate at training camp with his team while negotiations take place.
Friday afternoon, Sabres general manager Tim Murray talked about the negotiations on Buffalo’s WGR 550. He says the stalemate isn’t happening because the team is undervaluing what Ristolainen is worth. “You can’t just give him what he wants, but you try to be fair,” Murray said. “I want to be fair within our structure. It’s not like we are trying to low-ball this kid.”
Murray: "They have an argument and we have an argument but there are looming deadlines."
— Paul Hamilton (@pham1717) September 30, 2016
Murray says that they don’t have a framework in place for a deal, but both sides are looking to get a long-term contract done.
Timo Meier Out For a Month
Pegged to make a run at the opening-night roster in San Jose, Timo Meier will have to wait until next season to experience opening night. He has missed most of training camp with what was reported to be strep throat. However, Friday night the Sharks released a statement revealing that Meier will miss the next four weeks with mononucleosis.
The statement from general manager Doug Wilson states that Meier can skate, as he did Friday, but that he won’t be able to play in AHL or NHL games. It’s a blow for the team’s top prospect, but shouldn’t stop him from working his way into the NHL this season.
Details Emerge on Vladimir Sobotka’s Out Clause
Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that some of the confusion over whether or not former St. Louis Blues center Vladimir Sobotka would return to the NHL is the result of a renegotiated contract.
Army says that Sobotka renegotiated KHL contract when ruble crashed. Sobotka signed it, not paying attention that out clause was taken out.
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) September 30, 2016
Sobotka reportedly renegotiated his deal when the ruble crashed. The new contract removed his out-clause to return to the NHL and Sobotka didn’t notice that the clause had been removed. That might explain why his GM in the KHL remained confident throughout the summer that Sobotka would be back and why it was recently reported that it would cost Sobotka millions to buy out the last year of his contract.
Isn’t that what players have agents for?
Daniel Cleary Released
The Detroit Red Wings have released Daniel Cleary from his tryout contract.
Cleary was invited to training camp on a PTO. He last appeared in the NHL during the 2014-15 season and played 35 games with the Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids last year. He’ll report to training camp with Gran Rapids next.
NWHL Update: Jamie Leonoff Unable to Play This Seaosn
New York Riveters goaltender Jaimie Leonoff found herself at the center of rampant speculation when the goaltender didn’t show up to training camp. One report indicated that there was a Riveters goaltender have visa issues.
Initially, it seemed that it must be Sojung Shin with Leonoff, a Canadian, having laced up for the Connecticut Whale last season. However, rumors surfaced that it was Leonoff having issues and those were aided by the fact that the Riveters signed former St. Cloud State goaltender Katie Fitzgerald in August, after the signing deadline, with no announcement of any kind.
That situation gained clarity Friday evening when the league announced that Leonoff has suffered a season-ending torn labrum that will require hip surgery. According to Kaitlin Cimini, the team found out about the injury shortly before they signed Fitzgerald.
While with the Whale, Leonoff recorded the first win in NWHL history in a 4-1 win over the Riveters. At season’s end, she led the league in the inaugural season with a .936 save percentage. Her reasonable $10,000 contract, announced on May 1, the opening day of free agency, was a steal for a Riveters team that finished their first season at the bottom of the league with Japanese national team goaltender Nana Fujimoto and now-retired Jenny Scrivens taking the bulk of the starts in net.
Boston College Adds Gillian Apps
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Gillian Apps (Team Canada) has joined coach Katie Crowley’s staff with the Boston College women’s team. Apps is going to work with team forwards and handle some administrative tasks.
In addition to her Olympic gold medals, Apps won three World Championships during her 14 years lacing up for Team Canada. She retired from international play in September 2015.
“I’m honored and excited to be joining the Boston College women’s hockey program, and I’m really looking forward to working with such a talented group of players,” Apps said. “I would like to thank Katie Crowley, [associate coach] Courtney Kennedy and the Boston College athletic department for giving me this opportunity.”
Outside of her international resume, Apps played six seasons with the Brampton Thunder in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). She led the team in points one season (2011-12, scoring 39 points in 27 games) and helped the Thunder win a championship in 2008, her rookie season.
Boston College went undefeated last season until they lost to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the national championship. The Eagles opened this season with a 3-3 tie against the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs on Friday.
Odds and Ends
– Mark Stepneski reports that Stars center Tyler Seguin is set to return to the ice sometime next week. He has been out with a hairline fracture in his heel that forced him to bow out of the World Cup.
– Newly acquired Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov had a truly horrible looking injury Friday. He took a hit from Toronto’s Colin Greening and slammed his back into an open bench door. No details are available on his status.
Scary moment as an unlocked bench door leads to what might be a lower back injury for Dmitry Kulikov pic.twitter.com/10U3xwDJeG
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 1, 2016
– Good news for the Detroit Red Wings: It appears that winger Teemu Pulkkinen is ahead of schedule with his recovery from shoulder surgery over the summer. He is expected to see some action in preseason games soon.
#RedWings Blashill said Pulkkinen ahead of schedule. Might play more preseason games than expected.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) September 30, 2016
– Former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens had a multi-point game Friday.
#KHL: Multi-point game for, of all people, Ben Scrivens today — pair of assists for Dinamo Minsk and still a full period to play!
— Patrick C (@ChunkletsHockey) September 30, 2016
– Troy Brouwer is disappointed that he only got third star of the game last night.