NHL News: L.A. Kings now face COVID issues, Tim Stuetzle era soon to begin in Ottawa, and no James Neal for Oilers opening night

The L.A. Kings have joined a growing list of teams that have had to deal with multiple players being declared “unfit to play” at training camp. According to multiple reports, five players were not part of yesterday’s practice.

“The players that didn’t play today were deemed unfit to play, and we’re gonna have to be prepared for that throughout the season, whether it’s now, three months from now, four months from now,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. “That can pop up at any time.”

The five players who were out are Gabriel Vilardi, Sean Walker, Cal Petersen, Matthew Villata, and Kurtis MacDermid. At this time, it doesn’t appear a season postponement is coming for Los Angeles similar to what happened in Dallas.

Tim Stuetzle era beginning in Ottawa soon

The Ottawa Senators top pick in the 2020 NHL Draft has made his way back from the WJC. Tim Stuetzle was selected third overall by the Sens. A one man force for Germany at the tournament scoring 5 goals and 10 points in five games. He is expected to take the ice today.

Tim Stuetzle
Tim Stuetzle (Photo Credit: Simon Hastegård/Bildbyrån).

At 18 years of age, the transition to the big stage will be made easier thanks to astute moves by GM Pierre Dorion. Most importantly was the acquisition of Derek Stepan, who will be a mentor to Stuetzle and a leader in the room.

No James Neal to start the season for Oilers

James Neal was stuck in quarantine after traveling late from the U.S. to Canada. He finally was able to join training camp yesterday but is not expected to play on opening night.

“I was coming in from the United States so I was in quarantine and 14 days is a long time,” said Neal after practice. His head coach Dave Tippett was very forthcoming about where that puts Neal right now.

“James is a ways from playing,” said coach Tippett. “He was off the ice for almost a month so it’ll take time to get up and running but he’s got a great attitude and this was his first day with the big group.”