Training Camp Buzz: Bobrovsky to enter season as Panthers starter


Welcome to the 2021-22 NHL training camp buzz. With training camps opening for all 32 teams this week, has you covered with all the latest news.

Toronto Maple Leafs

John Tavares will play for the Maple Leafs in their preseason opener against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

The center has not played since sustaining a concussion and knee injury Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round against the Canadiens on May 20 when he fell after being checked by defenseman Ben Chiarot and then was hit in the head by the left knee of Montreal forward Corey Perry. Tavares left the ice on a stretcher and was hospitalized overnight.

Tavares will play on a line with Joshua Ho-sang and Michael Bunting.

Center Auston Matthews handled the puck on Friday for the first time since he had wrist surgery on Aug. 13 but coach Sheldon Keefe said there is no timeline for when he will join the main group at camp.

“We are very confident it is going to be before the opening of the regular season and of course, if we can get him into some exhibition games, that would be even better,” Keefe said. — Dave McCarthy

Florida Panthers

Sergei Bobrovsky will enter the season as the starting goalie for the Panthers, coach Joel Quenneville said.

“‘Bob’s’ got the net and Spencer’s going to be the guy learning and observing,” Quenneville said Friday. “I’m not going to say we’re going to budget him at so many games and Spencer (Knight) at so many games, but Bob’s going to have the workload, and then off of that Spence pushes him in some areas and some ways. It’s a healthy situation when you look at it.”

Bobrovsky started 30 games for the Panthers last season; Chris Driedger, who signed with the Seattle Kraken, started 23. Knight started three games in the regular season and two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Every situation, the coaches decide who is going to be in and my job is to be ready and to be prepared when my turn is to show my best,” Bobrovsky said. “This is a new opportunity. I’m going to prepare myself to play my best hockey.”

Forward Joe Thornton returned to practice Saturday after not practicing Friday because of an injury.


Pittsburgh Penguins

Radim Zohorna was used in center Evgeni Malkin‘s usual position at Penguins training camp on Friday. 

The forward skated with left wing Jason Zucker and right wing Kasperi Kapanen, Malkin’s linemates from late last season, on the second line. Malkin will be out for the first two months of the regular season after having knee surgery. “I don’t know if he’s played center before, but he’s doing a good job out there,” Kapanen said of Zohorna. “He can move. He’s a big guy (6-foot-6, 220 pounds), but he also loves passing the puck. He makes great plays.” 

First-line center Sidney Crosby is expected to miss at least the first week of the season after having wrist surgery Sept. 8. Crosby has skated on his own before each of the first two days of training camp. 

Jeff Carter would likely take Crosby’s place on the first line, possibly with Jake Guentzel at left wing and Bryan Rust to the right. Teddy Blueger, normally on the fourth line, is an option for the second line. — Wes Crosby

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