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Avs’ Downie is 100 percent healthy, but not quite ready


Colorado Avalanche winger Steve Downie is 100 percent healthy after recovering from knee surgery, yet he told the Denver Post that he isn’t 100 percent ready for full-speed competition.

“The way I look at it this camp is, I haven’t played a game in two years,” Downie said. “I just have to get the legs going. I’m going to take it relatively slow, because I still have almost a month to get ready. I’ll be ready for opening night. No question about opening night.”

The 26-year-old forward has only played in 22 games since being traded to the Avs during the 2011-12 season, including just two contests in 2013.

New head coach Patrick Roy reiterated that the plan is to line up Downie with Nathan MacKinnon and Jamie McGinn, a combination that could very well serve as the league’s most dangerous third line.

Downie brings the kind of snarl of a…

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Sharks insist Havlat won’t be ready for season opener


San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson reiterated the team’s position regarding Martin Havlat’s rehab on Wednesday, telling that the injury-prone winger won’t be ready for the team’s season opener. That being said, Wilson did say he expects Havlat to play sometime in 2013-14.

“Our goal is to get this player back 100 percent on top of his game,” Wilson said.

This stands in contrast to what Havlat, 32, told’s Brodie Brazil earlier today.

“If there were a game tomorrow, I’d want to be in it. And I would be playing,” Havlat said. “[It] feels great right now.”

Havlat is recovering from a very significant procedure (pelvic reconstruction surgery) and has suffered from lousy injury luck for much of his career. It’s a shame, too, as the Czech-born winger has shown glimpses of All-Star talent and production in the rare moments when he’s been healthy.

It just so…

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Blackhawks Bickell, Handzus cleared for camp


Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman confirmed to the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Lazerus on Wednesday that both Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus have been cleared to participate in training camp.

Bickell, 27, is recovering from a fairly gruesome thumb injury while Handzus, 36, underwent surgeries on a torn ACL and broken wrist this summer.

Both forwards were integral parts of Chicago’s impressive run to a second recent championship.

Bickell showed the grit and scoring touch that prompted Blackhawks management to hand him a four-year, $16 million contract this offseason.

Meanwhile, Handzus’s $1 million salary cap hit expires after 2013-14, so he has much to gain if he can prove that his surprisingly effective work as a second/third-line center wasn’t a fluke.

Overall, this continues an almost uniform stream of good news for Chicago as of late.

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Avs’ Roy to Johnson: ‘Don’t live in the past’


Being the top pick of an NHL draft cannot be easy. That’s especially true for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, who went first in 2006 ahead of the likes of Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel and Nicklas Backstrom.

Really, there’s nothing the 25-year-old blueliner can do about how well those players are performing. Instead, Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy told the Denver Post that he simply wants him to be the best player he can be.

“Honestly, I’m confident he’s going to have a really good year. The thing is, we’re going to work really hard with him to ‘don’t live in the past.’ It’s now,” Roy said. “Don’t worry about the ‘first overall’ thing. Don’t worry where people say ‘first overall pick’ – it’s over. We want you to be who you are. Erik needs to be Erik Johnson. Go hard, go out there and play his game and be…

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PHT Morning Skate: Karlsson’s Achilles not the same or an issue


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson’s Achilles tendon isn’t what it used to be, but he doesn’t think it will be an issue going forward. (Ottawa Citizen)

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien’s weight has never been a concern as far as team captain Andrew Ladd is concerned. (Winnipeg Sun)

Henrik Tallinder has faith that fellow Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers, will bounce back after enduring a hard fall since his Calder Trophy-winning campaign. (The Buffalo New)

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri doesn’t think that his newly signed two-year deal will prevent him from playing with a “chip on my shoulder.” (Toronto Sun)

Former New York Islanders captain Mark Streit thinks John Tavares’ promotion to team…

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Peverley held out of Stars camp after ‘blip’ on EKG


The Dallas Stars are without one of their key offseason acquisitions to start training camp.

Rich Peverley, acquired in the seven-player blockbuster with Boston in early July, has been held out of the start of camp after a ‘blip’ on his EKG during physical testing, according to Stars Inside Edge.

EKG (short for electrocardiography) is the measure of the heart’s electrical activity — the one where they attach electrodes to the surface of the skin and measure rates with an external device.

Peverley, 31, is expected to be a big part of Dallas’ remade roster this season. He’s slotted in to be the No. 2 or 3 center after new Stars GM Jim Nill completely revamped the position, acquiring fellow ex-Bruins teammate Tyler Seguin, then dealing for former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Peverley will be “checked out further” regarding the EKG results. No…

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