Updates on Max Pacioretty, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mark Giordano, Mathieu Perreault and Brad Richardson, the Oilers re-sign Nail Yakupov, and the latest from Leafs president Brendan Shanahan.
LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty (upper-body injury) said he hopes to be in the lineup when his club opens their first-round series against the Ottawa Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty was suspected to be suffering a concussion. Some fans have nicknamed him “Wolverine” for his ability to recover quickly from serious injuries like the Marvel Comics hero. If he does return in time for Game One, it’ll only enhance that reputation.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau is looking forward to facing the Canadiens again in the playoffs. Pageau played a key role in the Sens upsetting the Habs in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames captain Mark Giordano (biceps surgery) has resumed skating with the club, but he cautions a return to the lineup this season is only likely if the club stages a deep playoff run.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect to see Giordano suit up for the Flames upcoming series against the Vancouver Canucks.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks forward Brad Richardson (ankle injury) hopes to be ready for Game One of his club’s series against the Flames.
WINNIPEG SUN: The status of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault (lower-body injury) remains uncertain as his club approaches the opening game of their first-round series against the Anaheim Ducks.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers announced the re-signing of winger Nail Yakupov to a two-year contract extension. He’ll earn an average annual salary of $2.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sensible bridge deal for both sides. The Oilers ensure they keep the inconsistent (but still promising) Yakupov under contract on sensible terms. Yakupov gets a fair deal for his services and an opportunity to build upon his career-best 33-point performance this season. His play notably improved after Todd Nelson took over as head coach from Dallas Eakins, a factor which could make the case for Nelson’s return next season.
TORONTO STAR: Don’t expect Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan to take any shortcuts in his massive rebuilding plan for the club. Shanahan intends to put the onus on improved drafting and development of talent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This sort of rebuild is long overdue for the Leafs. It will take time and Shanahan is calling for patience. I think Leafs fans understand it’s going to take time and have no choice but to be patient. While it’s possible – depending upon the front office and coaching hires, the draft selections, returns from trades and players signed via free agency – the Leafs could become a playoff contender in two or three years, Toronto fan should be prepared for at least a five-year wait.