Ideally, Patrik Elias would have liked to return to a Devils team that was running away with the Atlantic Division, scoring goals by the bushel and playing the kind of defense that showed they were barely missing Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer.
He would have preferred to slip back into the lineup almost unnoticed, if that could ever be possible.
Instead, after fighting his way back from a debilitating case of hepatitis A he acquired last winter while playing in Russia during the NHL lockout, Elias will play his first game of the season tonight at Continental Airlines Arena with the hope he can help a team that isn’t sure it is capable of making the playoffs.
Barring an unfortunate turn of events, the best U.S.-born goaltender in the NHL will get no closer to Olympic ice than his television clicker or a Turin cafe.
With the start of the Olympic tournament just six weeks off and the U.S. goaltending picture getting uglier by the day, Buffalo Sabres rookie netminder Ryan Miller continues to be a painful reminder of an opportunity lost.
What is Lamoriello doing? Basically, he is trying to get a handle on the team’s personnel problems. He is trying to find out who is his type of player and who isn’t.
In an earlier era, people such as Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko and Martin Brodeur followed the party line — drank the Kool-Aid, as the saying goes.
They took less money than they were worth on the open market. They allowed themselves to be treated like immature adolescents. They shrugged off the snooping and spying that is part of life as a Devil. And they came down hard on anyone who had the temerity to suggest that life in hockey’s gulag was anything less than perfect.
The Flyers are somewhat optimistic about Primeau’s latest progress. He’s been receiving medication the past couple weeks that is aimed at reducing his dizzy spells.
“We’re encouraged because his symptoms aren’t lasting as long,” head trainer Jim McCrossin said Thursday. “I spoke with him [Wednesday]. He’s skating and doing imbalance rehab at HUP. He’s still getting dizzy spells, but they aren’t lasting nearly as long as they have.
Heatley received some cheers but mostly boos when he took the ice for the first time in Atlanta since leaving the team.
“I wasn’t putting too much emphasis on [the booing],” he said. “I think you have to put that behind you. At least they were making some noise.”
Before the start of the NHL season, Heatley told the Thrashers that for the sake of his happiness and hockey career he needed to move on.
Cory Schneider made 30 saves and Phil Kessel and Chris Bourque scored goals to lead the United States to a 2-1 quarterfinal victory over the Czech Republic on Monday night in the world junior championship.
Led by a sparkling 53-save performance by Tuuka Rask and an overtime goal by Teemo Laakso, the Finns outlasted arch-rival Sweden 1-0 on Monday in one of two quarter-finals.
Colorado Avalanche forward Brad May will miss four to five weeks because of a sprained knee.
May was hurt in the second period of Colorado’s 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Today was to have been goalie Robert Esche’s first practice back with the Flyers. It’s not going to happen, general manager Bob Clarke said yesterday.
“Jimmy McCrossin [the trainer] told me the other night on the plane ride that Esche is still sore,” Clarke said. “We’re bringing him back slowly. I don’t know when he will start practicing with us. We were hoping [today], but it looks like it’s going be a little longer now.”