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FlightZone: Training Camp Opens, Life Begins

After backpacking across Europe to find itself, FlightZone returns!

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The Winnipeg Jets opened training camp today at the MTS Iceplex! Despite there being no surprises on the roster, hockey is finally here(-ish), and it's wonderful.

And now, your AIH News at Noon.

Patrick Kane

You may have heard there was a press conference yesterday. Long story short, it was a mild-to-moderate PR disaster, as a scan of social media will attest. Patrick Kane taking questions ended in appreciation and little else (not that any substantive answers from him should have been expected), and the attempt to "talk hockey" did little but insult reporters and fans alike. As Elliotte Friedman put it, the press conference "did lasting damage to the franchise. The number one lesson of media relations and public relations is no matter how bad the situation is, don't make it worse, and they made it exponentially worse today."

I'll be honest, I do not understand why Patrick Kane is at training camp. According to Forbes and TSN contributor Eric Macramalla, Kane is facing a process where the threshold for indictment is notoriously low and the proceedings take about a month. If he is indicted, the look for a supposedly image-conscious organization will go from bad to worse (and no, this is not a matter of being unable to suspend him). Without knowing what the Chicago Blackhawks organization thinks it knows, having Patrick Kane at camp seems like one heck of a dice roll.

Damien Cox said that "in the total absence of evidence or public information at this point regarding Kane’s involvement with the woman in question, it may not necessarily be smart to let him come to camp, but it’s not patently wrong either." And to be clear, he has a point. The Chicago Blackhawks are under no obligation to suspend Patrick Kane, or to come to any sort of 'personal leave of absence' arrangement. It's just mildly mind-boggling that they didn't.

Central Division

Brent Seabrook and the Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly moving towards a long-term contract extension. Seabrook's ability and age aside, I'm not exactly sure where the Blackhawks are planning to find the cap room for this. Trading Bryan Bickell will only go so far, and it would be nice to have a bit more flexibility than none at all. (The Hockey Writers)

Dan Carcillo announced his retirement yesterday via The Players' Tribune, in what was a wonderful tribute to his friend Steve Montador:

I’m a big believer in signs. When we won the Stanley Cup and I was still lying awake at night thinking about how to carry on Monty’s legacy, it felt like it was a sign that it’s time to close one chapter and open another one.

Today, I’m retiring from the National Hockey League. My immediate goal is to help athletes transition to the next phase of their life — whether it’s continuing education, finding internships with companies, or networking with other athletes who are dealing with the same issues. My mission is to help guys who are dealing with anxiety, depression, and uncertainty about their future. Not down the line, not next week, but right now.

Dan Carcillo, The Players' Tribune

Despite his contract, Reto Berra will be forced to fight off Calvin Pickard for the Avs' backup gig. I may have to reconsider my complete dismissal of Colorado this season. (Denver Post)

Tyler Seguin continues to be reminded of his intimate photo shoot with a rubber duckie. This year's Christmas card from the Dallas Stars is sure to be delightful. (The Score)

USA Today thinks the Dallas Stars now have "a Blackhawks vibe". No, not the fallen from grace vibe. The other Blackhawks vibe. In other news, aggressive General Managers such as Jim Nill, Garth Snow and Tim Murray make me a sad, jealous panda. (USA Today)

Our Wild friends ask if Minnesota will miss Kyle Brodziak. The correct answer is "probably not". (Hockey Wilderness)

Mike Russo explains how Zach Parise and Ryan Suter working with horrible head coach Adam Oates in the offseason wasn't a slap in Mike Yeo's face. (StarTribune)

The Nashville Predators saw a young offensive LHD prospect deficit in their system, went out and signed OHL d-man Trevor Murphy to an ELC. Seeing undrafted players such as Murphy and Damir Sharipzyanov snapped up is made all the more frustrating by our own pipeline's deficiencies. There are ways other than the draft to at least partially address it. (On The Forecheck)

Sticking with the Perds, our Nashvillian friends take a look at their defence heading into 2015-16. Hint: it's pretty darn good, even with an over-the-hill Shea Weber. (On The Forecheck)

A few faces have changed, but expect the St. Louis Blues to still play a heavy game. If there is a single team in the league which will be judged solely by its post-season performance, the Blues are probably it. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

If you have ten minutes today or this weekend, take a look at Ken Hitchcock and the St. Louis Blues coaching staff debating various facets of the new 3-on-3 overtime format. Thankfully, Hitch's attitude is "you might as well go for it". The Jets' offseason had about as much excitement as a can of coke that's gone flat, but extra time is something we can all look forward to. (Sportsnet)

After a rather restless night, Jim Slater is ready to start looking overseas to continue his hockey career. I'm going to make a bold statement here: I would rather have Jim Slater on the fourth line than Andrew Copp, provided it meant Copp would get big minutes with the Manitoba Moose. There, I said it. (Winnipeg Sun)

Episode 8 of the AIH Superfans podcast is now up and ready for your listening pleasure. I haven't had chance to listen to it yet, so I can't say if it's just terrible or the worst podcast episode ever. Hold up, someone's knocking at the door... (Podomatic)

And All The Rest

David Satriano of names ten training camp tryouts who have a shot at sticking with the big club. Thomas Raffl does not make the list. (NHL)

Dennis Seidenberg is set to miss the first few days of training camp with an upper body injury. Would it be possible for him to be out for a bit longer? I'd like to see what Matt Irwin and/or Zach Trotman can do. We already know what Seidenberg brings to the table. (CSN New England)

Provided he's healthy, Evander Kane not only thinks he can be a 30 goalscorer again but would like to push the envelope further. He will certainly be given the opportunity to succeed as a go-to option in Buffalo, and with an improved Sabres squad surrounding him, it's not outside the realm of possibility. I'm most curious to see who will be his centre: Eichel, or O'Reilly? (NHL)

UPDATE, with lines:

Eddie Lack continues to win the internet, now with a goalie mask featuring Roberto Luongo's cartoon visage. As if his well-documented love for tacos wasn't enough. (Yahoo! Sports)

We now have an idea of what the Columbus Blue Jackets forward lines and defensive pairings are going to look like at the start of camp. I have to admit that, even with Brandon Saad, I'm still hard-pressed to see a playoff team. (BlueJacketsXtra)

The Detroit Red Wings have a number of interesting storylines going into training camp: Jeff Blashill establishing himself, Johan Franzen's health, Howard vs. Mrazek in net, the abundance of young players knocking on the door, and whether Danny DeKeyser and Mike Green will form a good pairing, or a very good one. (Detroit News)

Apparently, all the change that's happened in New Jersey has players energized about training camp. They do know that the post-Lamoriello Devils still aren't very good, right? (NHL)

Former Florida Panther and Minnesota Wild winger Sean Bergenheim is pulling a Jiri Tlusty and waiting on a contract offer, rather than accepting a PTO. **insert paging Kevin Cheveldayoff remark here**

It sounds as if Lawson Crouse will be getting a nine-game tryout with the Florida Panthers to begin the season. No harm, no foul I suppose. (Rotowire)

Max Pacioretty has been named the 29th captain in Montreal Canadiens history. This about as surprising as watching the sun cross the sky. (Sportsnet)

In an unusual win-win trade, the New York Islanders sent Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for, and take a deep breath now, Taylor BeckMatt FinnChris GibsonTom Nilsson and Carter Verhaeghe. The Islanders rid themselves of a player long on the trading block and bolster organizational depth, while Toronto clears contracts and creates roster spots in the minors for those they must believe possess higher upsides (not to mention gaining a tradeable asset in Grabner). I'm a little surprised they hit the eject button so soon on Finn, Gibson and Verhaeghe, but it is what it is. (The Hockey News)

Here's an invite out of left field: Kirill Kabanov is attending the New York Rangers training camp on a PTO. You may remember him from his rather unfortunate yet memorable draft photo. (ProHockeyTalk)

With the corpse of Chris Phillips likely to miss weeks if not months, Chris Wideman is in a very good position to seize himself an NHL roster spot. To which I say, it's about friggin time. Also, Shane Prince is now waiver eligible and 29 other teams should keep an eye on that. (Ottawa Sun)

Speaking of Ottawa, the Senators have named Daniel Alfredsson as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations. Working part-time in 2015-16 before becoming full-time next season, Alfie will work closely with GM Bryan Murray and have "a hand in everything from scouting to player development". (Ottawa Citizen)

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Johnston remembers how priority #1 when facing the Toronto Maple Leafs was shutting down Phil Kessel. Now, he gets to start Kessel beside Crosby, with Malkin as the fallback option. The future might be a bit rough for Pittsburgh, but the here and now looks pretty good. (Toronto Sun)

While we're on the topic of Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Toronto fans may want to circle Tuesday on their calendars:

While I don't expect a warm embrace following their 2016 Stanley Cup victory, it sounds as if the spat between Joe Thornton and Doug Wilson has at least publicly simmered down. Thornton even (rightly) praised Wilson's offseason additions. (The Hockey News)

If everything continues trending in the right direction, the Tampa Bay Lightning should be set with Ben Bishop and Kristers Gudlevskis for the regular season. Which is good, because I really don't know how much Ray Emery has left in the tank. (ProHockeyTalk)

According to Dan Hamhuis, he expects contract extension talks might go on throughout the season. Between him and Radim Vrbata, the Vancouver Canucks have some valuable assets to trade in the event they become sellers at the deadline. As is, they are an extremely mediocre cap team in my opinion. But hey, at least they locked up Brandon Sutter long-term and kept Ryan Miller. (ProHockeyTalk)

Barry Trotz continues his transformation of the Washington Capitals franchise. Unsurprisingly enough, the well-respected veteran has a rather in-depth player development and organizational improvement plan. (Video: CSN Mid-Atlantic)

And finally, here are Tom Hanks and Martin Short yelling about the Hamilton Bulldogs. No, I haven't the slightest idea either:

Thanks for reading! This is what happens when there's no FlightZone for a while; I get extra wordy.