The Islanders hit the ice yesterday for the first time as a full group (well, two groups), with all kinds of familiar combos mixed in with guest youngsters and bubble players. Up front was a lot of common pairings with a guest third.
On the blueline the news — confirmed and elaborated on by Barry Trotz afterward — was that Zdeno Chara is targeted to be paired with Noah Dobson.
- Here is Trotz’s media availability, elaborating on that topic (Chara experience and mentorship for Dobson), finding some place (not here or Bridgeport) for vaccine-resister Bode Wilde to play, and other topics. [Isles video]
- Anders Lee feels good, and very happy to be back. [Isles]
- Staple on the Chara-Dobson pairing and other Day 1 topics. [Athletic]
- Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck on focusing on the Cup. [Newsday]
It’s still so strange to see. All of it:
- Already starting the season without Sidney Crosby, now the Penguins will miss Evgeni Malkin for at least two months. [NHL | PensBurgh]
- And Nicklas Backstrom (hip) may not be ready for the Capitals opener. [NHL]
- Our friends at Die By The Blade react to Jack Eichel failing his physical (which was expected), and having the C yanked.
- Vladimir Tarasenko, who had a trade request that was reportedly motivated by distrust in Blues medical staff and how he’s been deployed, is still with the team and doesn’t want to talk to you guys about it. [NHL | Post-Dispatch]
- Speaking of not really speaking, Johnny Gaudreau warns media he’s not going to answer questions about his UFA status all season. [TSN] ...But maybe reuniting with Sean Monahan will help the struggling former star. [Sportsnet]
- The Kraken kicked off their first-ever camp. Jordan Eberle was with Jaden Schwartz, in case your silently stalking Ebs from afar. [Kraken]
- The Olympic hockey schedule is out, and the U.S. will open against host China, a game that will totally lack any geopolitical storylines. [NHL]
- The ever-scrawny Matt Murray has added some bulk in hopes of staying healthy. [Sportsnet]
- The Leafs may open with newcomer Nick Ritchie on their first line. [TSN]
- Their PTO Josh Ho-Sang says he’s willing to play in the ECHL, jokes that he’s ready to sharpen skates, to be a part of the team. [Sportsnet]
- The NHL has to handle a variety of pandemic-related access restrictions around the league, but expects all but two arenas (Vancouver, Montreal) to allow 100% fan capacity. [Sportsnet]