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Pietrangelo stays away; Hodgson secures long-term deal

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AS players arrived for the start of NHL training camps, the bigger focus was on those who didn't report.

In St. Louis it was defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, in Toronto defenceman Cody Franson, in Ottawa defenceman Jared Cowen, and in New York centre Derek Stepan, all restricted free agents without contracts. Those players aren't holdouts but nevertheless their absences were noticeable.

"Talks between the Blues and Alex's camp have broken off for now and Alex will not be reporting for our camp today," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a team statement Wednesday morning.

Cody Hodgson went into Buffalo unsigned, but the centre announced his new six-year contract in a video message posted on the social media site Vine.

Sometimes the situation isn't that simple. The Philadelphia Flyers expect Dan Cleary to report to training camp Thursday after agreeing to a professional tryout contract, despite a report that the left-winger would not be signing.

In Carolina, the absence of Joni Pitkanen was more troubling. The defenceman who suffered a broken heel bone during an icing play in March will miss the entire season, and the fear is that his career could be over.

"Any time someone has an injury like that, especially what Joni did with a broken heel, it can be never mind starting the season, it can be career-threatening," captain Eric Staal said last week.

The Senators were dealing with more than just Cowen not reporting. They were dealing with life after the departure of longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings after 17 seasons in Ottawa.

Moving on

"It's been talked about so much and I know I've talked about it so much that it doesn't really seem like today has any impact on him not being here," centre Jason Spezza said. "It will be different a little bit, but in hockey you're used to guys moving on and having lots of change."

As the Calgary Flames embark on the next chapter of their rebuild, they're doing so without both former captain Jarome Iginla and veteran netminder Miikka Kiprusoff for the first time in 11 years. The battle to be the Flames No. 1 goalie is expected to be between Joey MacDonald of Pictou, N.S., Karri Ramo of Finland and Swiss native Reto Berra.

"Most years coming to camp, most teams have their clear-cut number one," MacDonald said. "Being in Detroit for so long, you always had an old guy there that you had to battle. This year, it's going to be exciting. The opportunity is there and it's going to be an exciting team."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 12, 2013 D4

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