It’s been a wild weekend across the NHL. Jesperi Kotkaniemi is officially a member of the Carolina Hurricanes after the Montreal Canadiens elected not to match their offer sheet. Meanwhile, it looks like the Washington Capitals are starting to head back to D.C. and even get some skates in with training camp just a couple of weeks away.
Let’s recap all the latest headlines from Labor Day weekend.
- After signing a one-year “prove it” contract with the Capitals back in December 2020, Conor Sheary made an immediate impact. Here’s more on how he was able to elevate his game last season and why he could be a major x-factor going forward. (Washington Hockey Now)
- The Capitals will get a somewhat “normal” training camp and preseason in before the 2021-22 season officially kicks off. J.J. Regan and Andrew Gillis debate how much this will benefit Washington. (NBC Sports Washington)
- Speaking of training camp, a few familiar faces hit the ice at Medstar Capitals Iceplex for a pre-camp skate. Ian Oland takes a look at the action in Arlington. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
- The Canes are taking a big gamble on Kotkaniemi with the NHL’s first successful offer sheet since Dustin Penner in 2007. James O’Brien wonders if Carolina will truly get more from the 2018 No. 3 pick than Montreal did. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- How will Brian Boyle fare with the Penguins? Will Christian Dvorak work out for the Habs? Dan Kingerski shares quite a few hot talks with the season quickly approaching. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
- From Alex Ovechkin to Sidney Crosby, several players are approaching key milestones this season. Jason Chen discusses the top storylines to watch heading into 2021-22. (Sports Illustrated)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Stick taps to Capitals netminders Vitek Vanecek and Pheonix Copley, who got engaged this past week. Also sending congrats to former Washington bench boss Todd Reirden, who will be behind the bench in Beijing as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
- Speaking of current and former Capitals goaltenders, Jose Theodore was on Spittin’ Chiclets and admitted that leaving Colorado was “the biggest regret of my career.” Theodore signed a two-year deal with Washington following his tenure with the Avs and went 62-24-12 with a .905 save percentage and 2.84 GAA. He also won the Masterton in 2010. Theodore is also the third goalie in NHL history to have won the Vezina and Hart in the same season (2001-02 with the Canadiens).
- Michal Kempny is back in the District after a busy summer. Kempny shouted out STACA, the strength training academy in the Czech Republic founded by fitness coach of the Czech hockey team “A” Dominik Kodras, for his offseason training. I believe he’ll have a bounce back year after spending time on the LTIR and that he can be a top-4 guy.