NHL announced partnership with Adidas, plus updates on Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Jarret Stoll, Jiri Tlusty and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The National Hockey League and Adidas yesterday formally announced a seven-year partnership in which the latter becomes “the authentic outfitter of on-ice uniforms as well as an official supplier of licensed apparel and headwear for the League starting with the 2017-18 season.” League commissioner Gary Bettman also said there are no immediate plans to allow advertising on team jerseys.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At some point, however, ads on NHL jerseys will become commonplace. I think as long as they don’t look like those found on European jerseys (those teams have little choice, as they lack the NHL’s lucrative revenue streams), they won’t be a distraction.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins star defenseman Kris Letang is hoping for an injury-free campaign this season. In recent years, injuries (notably concussions) have sidelined Letang for significant periods.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik talks about his recovery from offseason surgery on his left wrist. He’s hopeful of recovering full strength in the wrist by the time the season opens, but intends to be careful not to rush things and risk re-injuring it.
NEW YORK POST: Busted for coke possession in April, former LA Kings center Jarret Stoll talks about his fresh start with the New York Rangers.
TSN.CA: Travis Yost believes UFA Jiri Tlusty would be a serviceable second/third line winger on any NHL team. Tlusty has rejected PTO offers from several NHL clubs in hopes of securing a real contract for the upcoming season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tlusty may be a serviceable option, but he’s only had one good season in his eight NHL campaigns (his 23-goal performance in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season), playing for three teams in the last six seasons. Despite the analytics (and I’m not dismissing them), Tlusty hasn’t consistently translated those numbers into the type of production expected of a second/third line winger. His inconsistency and the feeling he plays too much on the periphery is likely why he’s only getting PTO offers. It also doesn’t help that the salary cap only marginally increased for this season, forcing most GMs to invest more frugally in free agents. In that game of musical chairs, Tlusty could become the odd man out.
NBC SPORTS: The Colorado Avalanche have invited defenseman Andrej Meszaros to training camp on a professional tryout basis.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning backup Kristers Gudlevskis suffering an apparent right-arm injury during a prospects tournament game on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. He’ll be reevaluated today to determine the severity of the injury. The Lightning’s main backup, Andrei Vasilevskiy, is sidelined two-three months following blood-clot surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The piece also notes the Lightning invited Ray Emery to camp on a tryout basis. If Gudlevskis injury is serious, they could be forced to seek another potential short-term option to back up starter Ben Bishop.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets won the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup in their prospects tournament against the Detroit Red Wings. It’s the second straight year they’ve won this tournament.