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NHL Training Camp News: Domi returns; Lemieux finally suspended

The format may be a little different, but the quest for the Stanley Cup remains the same as the stage is set for the NHL to make its return.

When the Canadiens hit the ice on Monday they were joined by Max Domi. The forward, who is a Type 1 diabetic, had not taken part in Phase 3 after it was decided they would take time to make a decision if he would participate.

Head coach Claude Julien said Domi is on board to play, but complications could arise given his situation.

“He’s back, but we know that anything can happen,” Julien said. “If there’s something that comes up that would put him at risk, he can leave again.

“For now, it was a good first day for him. He figured out quickly that the pace was pretty good for a team that’s only been practicing for a week. It was good to see him out there, and he seemed very upbeat and very encouraged by the fact that we have a group that’s healthy.”

Also at Habs camp today, goaltender Michael McNiven took a Shea Weber slap shot to the mask. Ouch.

Video of the incident.

— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) July 20, 2020

Julien said McNiven suffered a cut on his face but did not have a headache or any other injury.

Lemieux finally suspended

It’s been 129 days since Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux had his hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for interfering with the Sharks’ Joonas Donskoi. On Monday, he finally learned his fate as the league announced a two-game suspension.

Lemieux will be able to play in New York’s lone exhibition game on July 29, but will have to miss Games 1 and 2 of their Stanley Cup Qualifier series against Carolina.

Ferland inches closer to return

Concussions limited Micheal Ferland to only 14 games during the regular season. When the Canucks opened training camp opened last week the forward was deemed “unfit to play.”

But there Ferland was taking part in Sunday’s scrimmage with the team’s main group. A sign that he’s closer to returning.

“I’m feeling really good and looking forward to a couple of scrimmages and getting my cardio and game shape better,” he said before the game. “It’s obviously different in practice, but I’m ready to go. It’s just the stimulation. Seeing a bunch of bodies moving around and going at full speed. That’s what I need. “I need to re-wire my vestibular system and get out there with full pace and contact.”

Canucks head coach Travis Green is eager to see how Ferland progresses, leaving the door open for him to be part of the line up when they take on the Wild.

“If he’s ready to go, it’s another body we have to take into consideration,” Green said. “We’re going to have to make some hard decisions. The next couple of weeks are going to be important for a lot of guys, It’s no secret we signed [Ferland] for these type of games when things get heated. His physical presence is well known.”

Crosby remains out for Penguins

The Penguins captain was again absent on Monday as the team held an intrasquad scrimmage. Head coach Mike Sullivan gave the usual “unable to comment” answer when asked about Crosby’s status.

Meanwhile, the nine players who were held out at the beginning of training camp were cleared to join the team for Phase 3. Those players had been sidelined after possible secondary exposure to a person who had contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.

“We chose to give them an opportunity to get a couple of days of skating amongst themselves, first and foremost, before they rejoin the group,” Sullivan said. “We thought it made the most sense to give them a couple of days of an opportunity to skate and get their legs underneath them.”

Coaching in empty arenas

One interesting thing about playing hockey in rinks with no fans is the communication between players, and between players and coaches. A coach shouting directions to his team will likely be heard by everyone, as opposed to a normal situation where maybe it’s heard by those closest to the bench.

How does one adjust to that new kind of setting?

“There aren’t that many secrets,” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer. “Everyone’s got four guys on the bench and usually one guy on the other bench is watching your bench anyway. We’ll have to get creative with some of the stuff we’re trying to put in at different points.”

Brind’Amour using camp to “sharpen the blade”

As the Hurricanes continue preparing for the Rangers, there’s plenty of work to do after a four month break.

“I’d like to get sharp,” said head coach Brind’Amour. “I think we’ve covered a lot of stuff but it’s the sharpness. I think we’ve got to sharpen the blade.”

One area bolstered due to all the time off has been the blue line. Dougie Hamilton and Sami Vatanen are healthy and Brady Skjei is getting more time to fit in following the February trade.

“We have a great, deep D corps right now,” said defenseman Jaccob Slavin via the News and Observer. “Through the playoffs, anything can happen and you see injuries happen and you see some guys get hot and some guys get cold. To have eight guys is going to be extremely helpful. It’s a deep corps and anybody can step into almost any role and play that.”

Anderson on ice

Josh Anderson was a surprise face at Blue Jackets practice on Sunday. The forward had shoulder surgery in March and still needs to be cleared for contact.

If Anderson can return at some point during the Stanley Cup Qualifier series against Toronto -- or later on if they advance -- that will be a big boost to their group up front.
“Although the break, no one really wanted this to happen, it certainly helped this team getting guys healthy,” head coach John Tortorella said. “We’re excited about that opportunity to play with a full team.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.