Penguins captain Sidney Crosby to address the media today on his recovery from concussion…An update on Flyers GM Paul Holmgren’s condition…A look at Derek Boogaard’s addiction to painkillers…More from former enforcer Chris Nilan on fighting in the NHL…Hockey hero Paul Henderson in the fight of his life…Capitals gearing up for training camp…NY Rangers to pay homage to firefighters…Mike Commodore prepares for the coming season…Young Coyotes forward Viktor Tikhonov faces a make-or-break training camp…The cost of building an NHL-style arena in Quebec City.
PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi reported Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will address the media today to provide an update on his recovery from post-concussion symptoms. GM Ray Shero continues to insist Crosby won’t return to action until he’s made a full recovery and there’s no timeline for his return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were calls for Crosby to do this a couple of weeks ago in the belief it would dampen down speculation over his condition, recovery and return. Unless he’s either announcing his retirement (he won’t) or set a firm return date (which seems unlikely), I doubt anything Crosby says today will stop the seemingly endless musing over when he’ll come back, if he’ll be the same player he was before, or if he should consider retirement. In the meantime, he and the Penguins are handling his recovery correctly, allowing for all the time needed for a full recovery.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is “sore” but otherwise in good spirits following a scary bicycle accident yesterday, which was the result of his losing control while travelling at a high speed. He has some broken ribs, a broken shoulder and stitches on his arm and leg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt he’s sore! Here’s wishing Holmgren a speedy recovery.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports on Derek Boogaard’s addiction to painkillers, tracing it back more than two years, when he was recovering from a shoulder injury. The main source of Russo’s story was Boogaard’s younger brother Ryan, who, along with Derek’s former Wild teammate Todd Fedoruk, assisted Derek into receiving treatment for his addiction, though ultimately it failed to help him. The report also noted the widespread use of painkillers among NHL players, and the dangers of becoming addicted to them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: More and more stories from players past and present are indicating the NHL faces a serious problem regarding addiction to painkillers. Let’s hope they move quickly to address this issue.
FACEOFF.COM: Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette recently interviewed former Canadiens enforcer Chris Nilan, who clarified his recent calls for taking fighting out of the game, saying league commissioner Gary Bettman can take it out if he likes because it’s not the way it was during Nilan’s heyday. He also rebutted Georges Laraque’s criticism of Nilan’s comments, and spoke candidly of his own battles with drugs and alcohol.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The running theme among most former NHL enforcers, especially those who played before the turn of this century, is that the role of the enforcer is no longer what it once was, something which has today’s enforcers defending themselves and their role. The NHL certainly won’t eliminate fighting, and I’m skeptical if they’ll do anything to eliminate “staged” fights among enforcers.
SPORTSNET.CA: has the first of a two-part interview by Perry Lefko with Canadian hockey hero Paul Henderson, who scored the dramatic series-winning goal in the memorable 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia. Henderson is now battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which has moved to its highest stage.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Although it appears Henderson’s odds of recovery appear long, here’s hoping he’s able to win his fight.
WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera reports the Capitals appear more focused heading into this year’s training camp compared to recent years. Fifteen players showed up for a voluntary workout, including stars Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Ovechkin also addressed off-season concerns over his conditioning following an interview earlier in the summer which made him appear as though he’d gained weight, saying he’s in better shape now that he was the last two years at this time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals are facing considerable scrutiny this season, thanks to two disappointing post-season performances, and critical comments by two former Capitals aimed at winger Alexander Semin. This team must step it up, not just in the regular season, but in the 2012 playoffs, if they hope to silence their critics.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Jesse Spector reports the NY Rangers visited three NY fire stations to pay homage to those from those stations who lost their lives on September 11, 2011.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports new Red Wings defenseman Mike Commodore intends to work hard to get his NHL career back on track after spending half of last season playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets farm team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings have a good history of helping struggling players from other teams regain their focus and form. Commodore should become a good fit on the Wings blueline.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Jim Gintonio reports young Coyotes forward Viktor Tikhonov acknowledged this upcoming training camp could make or break his chances at making the club’s roster full time.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Sean Gordon reports on the deal between Quebec City and media giant Quebecor on the construction of a new arena, which they hope will entice the NHL to move a franchise there via expansion or relocation. The huge cost ($400 million) however has attracted considerable criticism and threats of a lawsuit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect criticism or threats of lawsuits to derail this project.