Ryan Kesler doubtful for the start of the upcoming season…Nik Antropov grieves the loss of good friend Igor Korolev…Michael Backlund’s off-season…Will Ryan Nugent-Hopkins make the Oilers roster?…Dave Cowan gets another shot at the Maple Leafs training camp…Five Senators rookies to watch.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jim Jamieson reports Canucks center Ryan Kesler isn’t optimistic about his chances of recovering from off-season hip surgery in time for the start of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s obviously going to take more time before Kesler is match fit. Best that he take his time to allow for full recovery and preparation for returning to action, rather than rush things and delay his return.

WINNIPEG JETS

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports Jets center Nik Antropov is grieving the death of former Maple Leafs teammates Igor Korolev, who perished in the plane crash in Russia which killed all but one member of KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Condolences to Antropov on the loss of his friend. The deaths of the Lokomotiv team touched many in the NHL who knew them.

CALGARY FLAMES.

CALGARY SUN: Randy Sportak reports Flames sophomore center Mikael Backlund ensured he gave himself plenty of down time over the off-season to ensure he wouldn’t burn out from on-ice training when he returned to training camp this fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s important for players to balance their off-season training to avoid burnout or mental exhaustion before training camp. Hopefully the advice he got from teammates Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla to stay off skates until August works out for Backlund.

EDMONTON OILERS.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Joanne Ireland reports on the expectations placed upon Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as he prepares for upcoming rookie tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many fans are likely expecting Nugent-Hopkins to make the roster as Taylor Hall did before him. They should be prepared for the possibility he could be sent back to Junior for another season. 

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Maple Leafs are giving 25-year-old rookie defenseman Dave Cowan another shot at this year’s rookie camp after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in last year’s freshman tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Classy move by the organization.

OTTAWA SENATORS.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch listed David Rundblad, Jared Cowan, Mika Zibanejad, Robin Lehner and Stephane Da Costa as five players to watch in the Senators upcoming rookie tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible one of the young blueliners – Rundblad, Cowan or Zibanejad – might crack the roster this season.