Training Camp Buzz: Landeskog practices with Avalanche

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Colorado Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog practiced for the first time Friday after the forward was unfit for the first three days of training camp.

Landeskog, who skated on a line with right wing Brandon Saad and center Nazem Kadri, said he expects to play in the Avalanche’s season opener against the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 13.

Landeskog said he has healed from the right knee injury he sustained against the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

“Just per protocol I was told to stay away from the rink for a few days,” Landeskog said. “I only really missed three days. It’s good to be back and I’m looking forward to finishing off camp in a good way and then starting off with the first game on Wednesday. Honestly, I thought it was going to feel worse after a few days off the ice, but I felt pretty good.”

Goalie Philipp Grubauer also practiced after being unfit the previous three days. Defenseman Erik Johnson remained out; he hasn’t practiced since camp opened.  — Rick Sadowski

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

Kasperi Kapanen is expected to arrive in Pittsburgh on Saturday after missing the first four practices of training camp because of an immigration issue.

Once the forward reaches the United States, NHL rules require him to quarantine for seven days before joining the Penguins, who begin their regular season at the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 13 and also play at the Flyers on Jan. 15.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he is not sure when Kapanen could debut.

“That’s a tough one to answer because until we get him here and I can have a conversation with Kasperi about his fitness level and his comfort level with how we’re trying to play, it’s hard for me to answer that question,” Sullivan said Friday. “What we will do is I’ll have a lot of interaction with him via WebEx or phone calls while he’s going through the quarantine period. We’re going to introduce our team concept to him through that process.”

Kapanen, who was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Aug. 25, could join center Sidney Crosby and left wing Jake Guentzel on the first line. Evan Rodrigues has started camp at right wing on that line. — Wes Crosby

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Alexander Kerfoot returned to the ice after injuring his leg on Tuesday.

Kerfoot did not take part in practice with the team, but Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said he was encouraged by the center’s progress. 

“He banged up his leg. He fell into the boards. But he’s progressing,” Keefe said. “The fact he skated today is a very positive sign. What it means going forward, I don’t have that answer yet. Just have to see how he progresses in the coming days.

Kerfoot began training camp on a line with Zach Hyman and Ilya Mikheyev. Forward Pierre Engvall has occupied that spot in his absence. — Mike Zeisberger

 

Anaheim Ducks

Brendan Guhle will be out approximately six weeks with a sprained MCL.

The defenseman, who was injured in a scrimmage Thursday, signed a two-year contract with Anaheim on May 10.

“It was bad news, he hurt his knee,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said Friday. “I feel terrible for the kid because he’s one of the guys that, he really put the work in the offseason. … I guess it was just some fluke thing in the game. I didn’t even see it happen.”

Guhle scored eight points (four goals, four assists) in 30 games with the Ducks last season.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Nineteen players did not practice with the Blue Jackets on Friday.

According to the Blue Jackets website reporter, of the 40 healthy players in camp, 21 were on the ice including 10 from their NHL group: Forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson, Kevin Stenlund and Riley Nash; defensemen Zach Werenski, Scott Harrington, Gabriel Carlsson and Dean Kukan; and goalies Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo).

“I thought we had a really good day of work for the players that were here,” coach John Tortorella said. “That’s what it’s going to be sometimes. The players that are able to be in the building, those are the players that you’re going to work with. That’s all part of it.”

The Blue Jackets released a statement that said they “held a number of players out of today’s scheduled practice out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.” It was not clear how many players were held out of practice for that reason.

“I don’t really know too much of what’s going on or whatnot,” defenseman Zach Werenski said. “I just came here today like any other day, ready to practice and ready to get to work. But yeah it was definitely different. I’m sure things will be changing every day here with the COVID protocols and what not. Like I said, I don’t know too much or what’s going on. I just came here ready to practice but definitely different.”

Columbus is scheduled to open its season against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 14. — Amalie Benjamin

 

Dallas Stars

The Stars aren’t expected to begin the regular season as scheduled after six players and two staff members recently confirmed positive tests for COVID-19.

The Stars did not practice Friday, and in a statement, the NHL said they likely would not play a game earlier than Jan. 19.

Dallas was scheduled to play their first game on Jan. 14 at the Florida Panthers, and has games scheduled against the Panthers (Jan. 15) and Tampa Bay Lightning (Jan. 17 and 19). 

 

New Jersey Devils

Corey Crawford has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Devils.

The 36-year-old goalie participated in the first two days of camp on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 but needed a maintenance day the next two days before missing the past three practice days for personal reasons.

“I reached out to him; I think it was Sunday or Monday,” Devils forward Kyle Palmieri said Thursday. “You want to give him his space … it’s a personal issue for him and his family, what they’re going through. We’ve gotten to know ‘Crow’ a little bit over the first couple days. I think you’re there to support him as a teammate and as a guy who, obviously I have a ton of respect for, for what he’s done in his career.”

Crawford signed a two-year contract Oct. 9, one day after New Jersey placed goalie Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout. Schneider agreed to terms on a contract with the New York Islanders on Dec. 31. — Mike Morreale

Tweet from @NJDevils: #NEWS: We have released a statement regarding Corey Crawford: pic.twitter.com/2g6HSVh3kW

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