Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while we quickly approach the midpoint of the summer. How the heck did that happen?
*Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano is honored with a Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award in a pretty cool piece of recognition.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Michael Russo is about to head off on vacation, so here’s a primer for what’s likely to happen with the Minnesota Wild.
*Providence Bruins standout Wayne Simpson has officially closed the door on his P-Bruins time and signed a two-way contract with the Washington Capitals. It’s unfortunate that more experienced AHL guys like Simpson couldn’t get a taste in Boston despite playing well, but that’s a clear sign of the youthful talent Boston has in their organizational ranks.
*Marco Scandella is excited to play for the Buffalo Sabres, and for coach Phil Housley, after getting traded to Buff.
*Top Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat starred at Chicago’s prospect camp this past week and continues to show high-end potential in an undersized package that the Bruins passed on when they made Trent Frederic a pick at the end of the first round in 2016. Time will tell whether that was the right call, or not, for the Black and Gold.
*Former Boston College standout Miles Wood says he wants to be one of the big leaders for the New Jersey Devils this season as they look to make a jump in the Metro Division.
*The Carolina Hurricanes have locked up another young defenseman in Jacob Slavin to a seven-year contract as they continue to build something interesting in Carolina.
*For something completely different: Here’s a cool story about Tom Holland going undercover at a New York City high school to make sure he got the Spider-Man character right. Hard to believe that nobody recognized him there.
BRIGHTON -- In a development that was certainly much sooner than originally anticipated, David Backes has returned to the ice just a matter of weeks after having 10 inches of colon removed during surgery for diverticulitis. It remains to be seen how gradual a process it will be for the 33-year-old to actually return to game action given his original timetable for recovery was eight weeks following the early November procedure, but it seems like it might end up being ahead of the two months Backes was initially expected to be sidelined.
For his part, Backes was happy to be back skating with his teammates and pushing his recovering body after feeling pretty sluggish for the first few days following surgery. He confirmed he’d been skating for a couple of days while the team was on the West Coast, but Monday was his first team doing anything post-surgery with the rest of the team.
“It’s good to be back with the guys and to be around the room, and to have seen the kind of resiliency that these guys showed on the road trip. The back half of the road trip was impressive,” said Backes, who has an assist in five games with the Bruins before succumbing to the surgery. “To be on the ice and moving around after sitting around doing nothing for too long where you don’t think you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it feels good.
“The doc’s advice is that if it doesn’t hurt then I can keep moving forward and add more of a workload on, so that’s the update for today. It’s still non-contact, but we’ll keep moving along and hopefully I’ll be back doing what I love to do on a regular basis. I haven’t been notified that the timeline has changed at all, so I’m just going to keep putting in the work. The more I seem to do the work the better it is, and I seem to be able to do a little more each day. So those are all positive signs.”
For the Bruins it’s clearly a morale booster to see the big power forward back doing regular hockey activities, and serving notice that he’ll be bringing his size, strength, leadership and physicality back to a B’s team that definitely needs him. Clearly the return of another high-end forward would also immensely help a Bruins team that’s still very undermanned up front, but it would appear there will be some other B’s forwards getting back prior to Backes.
Brad Marchand and Ryan Spooner appear poised to return to full practice on Tuesday with a possible return to the lineup not too far beyond that after all three injured forwards took part in Monday’s optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after a rough weekend for the Justice League movie.
*Radko Gudas was suspended for 10 games after slashing at the head of Mathieu Perreault, and it’s an appropriate sentence for a play that has no place in the NHL, and from a player that really deserves to get slapped around by the Department of Player Safety. Some like the Hockey News here believe it should have been a more severe suspension, but this is the right move with a player that’s headed toward a Raffi Torres sentence the next time he crosses over the line. Let’s hope the message finally gets through to a dirty player, but I’m not holding my breath given his past history.
*Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is beginning to take some heat in Edmonton with a hockey team that’s performing way under expectations to this point.
*All Alexander Radulov wanted was to feel like he was wanted, you guys. The Dallas Stars just so happened to say that to him in the form of money and contract years.
*NHL.com does a Calder Trophy voting poll with their own staff and it looks like Clayton Keller is strongly in the lead, and that Charlie McAvoy isn’t getting nearly the mount of consideration that he should be getting right now. This is the only rookie averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game, people…c’mon now.
*It’s officially over for the Montreal Canadiens just a couple of months into the season, and it may be for GM Marc Bergevin as well. I’m not sure the Habs are dead and buried quite yet, but Carey Price as a question mark certainly doesn’t help matters.
*Hall of Famers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne were both honored in Anaheim this weekend after their Hockey Hall of Fame honors last weekend.
*For something completely different: Here’s a petition for fans to get a home release of the Zack Snyder cut of the Justice League movie. These people thirsting for ponderous, bombastic drudgery in their comic book movies amazes me. While I feel for Snyder and his family given their tragedy over the last year, I think his movies are god-awful and can’t fathom why anybody would be pounding the table demanding to see a cut that left the DC and Warner Brothers execs running and screaming for Joss Whedon.