Training Camp Buzz: Penguins cancel practice out of COVID-19 caution

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Welcome to the 2020-21 NHL training camp buzz. Training camp is underway for all 31 teams and NHL.com has you covered with all the latest news.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins canceled their training camp practices and scrimmage scheduled for Saturday. 

They said the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution due to potential exposure of COVID-19” and information about their schedule Sunday would come at later time. 

The Penguins practiced and had a scrimmage on Friday after an off day Thursday.

They are the third NHL team in two days to have a practice impacted by COVID-19 concerns. 

The Dallas Stars canceled their practice on Friday and later the NHL announced six Dallas players and two staff members recently tested positive for COVID-19. The Stars facilities are closed down and their first two games of the 2020-21 NHL season, at the Florida Panthers on Jan. 14 and 15, have been postponed.

Also Friday, 19 players did not practice for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who said an unspecified number of players were sidelined “out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.”

 

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

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Alexander Kerfoot returned to the ice Friday 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

 

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

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