Thousands of fans turn out at NHL practices on Sunday, plus updates on Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Gaborik, Henrik Zetterberg, Tim Thomas, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and more.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said wayward winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who recently participated in the KHL All-Star Game, will be rejoining the Devils on Tuesday and participating in his first practice on Wednesday. Lamoriello said he didn’t give Kovalchuk “official permission” to participate in that game, he still gave the winger his blessing to do so.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A report out of Russia claimed the president of the KHL might fly to New Jersey in hopes of buying Kovalchuk out of his contract with the Devils. Good luck with that.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Marian Gaborik declared himself fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery, and raised some eyebrows in practice yesterday by playing on the left side.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The Detroit Red Wings are expected to formally announced Henrik Zetterberg as their new captain on Tuesday.
WEEI.COM: The Boston Bruins will suspend goaltender Tim Thomas if he fails to report to training camp by 10 am today. GM Peter Chiarellis said Thomas’s agent claims his client will sit out the remainder of this season but intends to return to the NHL next season. Chiarelli dismissed talk of shopping Thomas’s rights to a team in need of using up cap space, but didn’t rule out trading Thomas eventually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Unless a team wants exclusive negotiating rights to Thomas, trading for him makes little sense.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray said re-signing pending free agent forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry remains his top priority for this season. Both are eligible for UFA status this summer.
NEWSDAY: The NY Islanders could suspend wayward defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky if he fails to report to training camp by 10 am ET today. Visnovsky has said he wants to finish this season in the KHL, but he’s under contract with the Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Visnovsky appears the only player under NHL contract who wants to remain in the KHL. This could prove a good test of the agreement between the two leagues to honor each other’s contracts.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators have named forward Martin Erat an alternate captain.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Tomas Vokoun is focused on helping the Penguins make the playoffs, not to battle Marc-Andre Fleury for the starting goalie job.
WASHINGTON POST: A nagging groin injury could sideline Capitals forward Brooks Laich from the start of the season.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The NY Rangers yesterday signed defenseman Matt Gilroy to a one-year, $650K contract.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings GM Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter will receive long-term contract extensions.
SUN-SENTINEL: The Florida Panthers open training camp with several regulars (Sean Bergenheim, Marcel Goc, Erik Gudbranson) sidelined by injury, while defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has yet to report to camp.
USA TODAY: Fans jammed practice facilities around the NHL to welcome back their favorite teams during the opening day of training camp yesterday.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: An estimated 5500 fans turned out yesterday to watch the Blues in their first practice at training camp.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: Over 5,500 fans watched the Lightning open training camp on Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, it’s great to see fans turn out in such large numbers for the opening day of camp. On the other hand, it kinda justifies in the minds of the owners why they could get away with staging the recent lockout, and could do it again in 8-10 years time.