Chris Phillips suffers a back injury, updates on Cam Talbot and Bo Horvat, plus the latest on the Leafs and Jets.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Chris Phillips confirmed he suffered a small crack in a disc in his back. Phillips had surgery to repair a bulging disc earlier this season. He’ll need time and rest to recuperate, meaning he won’t be ready for the start of training camp on Sept. 17. It could take until November until he’s ready to return to action.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a significant setback for the 38-year-old Phillips. It could be sometime in October at the earliest before he’s ready to skate again, and it could take some additional time to get back into game shape.
TORONTO SUN: In an interview with Mike Zeisberger, Mike Babcock admits coaching the Maple Leafs is a scary job, but he’s looking forward to the challenge. Based on team captain Dion Phaneuf’s preparation for the upcoming season, Babcock expects the blueliner will have his best season in a while. He also considers the enigmatic Nazem Kadri a key part of the Leafs this season, claiming Kadri is working hard to improve himself.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One advantage for Babcock is fan and media expectations for the Leafs are low for the coming season. If the club show any signs of improvement this season, the honeymoon with Babcock will continue throughout the coming season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Will the Oilers gamble on goalie Cam Talbot pan out this season? Jonathan Willis suggests it could.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the Oilers’ sake, the gamble better pay off. Horrible goaltending contributed to their recent horrible seasons. If they hope to make significant improvement, they need better performances from the netminders.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat is much more self-assured heading into his sophomore season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat showed considerable promise last season. He’ll be expected this season to start delivering in 2015-16.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets top prospects and roster hopefuls, including the promising Nikolaj Ehlers, are headed the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC.