Updates on Nicklas Backstrom, Patrik Elias, Ryan O’Reilly, Nikita Kucherov, Danny DeKeyser, Jake Muzzin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has begun participating in non-contact practices, but he won’t be ready to join the lineup for the start of the season. Backstrom is recovering from offseason hip surgery.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Long-time New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias will miss the start of the season with an injured right knee. His absence remains indefinite.
THE SCORE: Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly’s impaired driving case has been adjourned to October 22.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov left Thursday’s preseason game against the Dallas Stars with a lower-body injury. Coach Jon Cooper expects Kucherov will recover in time for the club’s season-opener on Oct. 8.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser suffered a lower-leg injury during Wednesday’s preseason game against Pittsburgh. It remains to be seen how long he’ll be sidelined.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (upper-body injury) expects to be ready for his club’s season-opening game on Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild claimed forward Chris Porter off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
ESPN.COM: has the complete list of players on waivers as of Oct. 1.
ESPN.COM: Boston Bruins president Cam Neely maintains having complete faith in head coach Claude Julien, who is widely considered the NHL bench boss on the hot seat to open the season.
TSN.CA: Boston Bruins owner, NHL board of governors chairman and C. Montgomery Burns impersonator Jeremy Jacobs expressed doubt over the owners’ willingness to expand the league. While acknowledging strong bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City, Jacobs said he wasn’t sure there’s a desire toward expansion yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Either Jacobs is trying to play down the growing anticipation that expansion will take place in the very near future, or there’s a real sense among the Board of Governors that the timing isn’t right yet to add more franchises. There’s the obvious concern about the declining value of the Canadian dollar, which is affecting overall league revenue and will certainly impact a franchise in Quebec City. The current makeup of the conferences, with 16 of the 30 franchises in the East, could have some owners worried about growing disparity between the two. And of course, the league could prefer to wait for the city of Seattle to make a competitive bid once their arena construction issues are sorted out.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Puck Daddy generalissimo Greg Wyshynski cites an internal NHL memo stating the league has “no desire” to get involved in settlement talks with a group of players who’ve launched a class action lawsuit against the league alleging negligence and fraud regarding concussions.