Nichols' Notes

Tristan Jarry backstopped the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Memorial Cup this spring and Penguins goaltending coach Mike Bales, who survived the off-season shakeup in Pittsburgh, believes it’s only a matter of time until Jarry is NHL-ready.

“We want talented hockey players who happen to be good people in this organization,” Bales told The Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe. “Tristan happens to be both of those things.”

And Jarry’s goaltending style?

“Tristan is a little different,” Bales said. “He has something of a throwback style. He definitely stands up more than most guys do. He's no cookie cutter. But that's not a bad thing. He's got great hockey sense, and that will help him into the NHL.”


The Sun’s Mike Zeisberger relays how well Peter Holland’s Wednesday went. Aside from his two-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs being announced, Holland also aced a par-3 at the Cory Conacher Golf Tournament.

“It was amazing,” a jubilant Holland said in a phone interview. “It went straight into the hole on the fly — it didn’t even hit the green.

“What a day. A contract with the team I grew up cheering for. And a hole-in-one. Maybe I should be grabbing a lottery ticket while I’m at it, given the way my fortunes are going right now.”


Joe Colborne doesn’t anticipate reaching his Aug. 1 arbitration date with the Calgary Flames, as relayed by The Herald’s Jefferson Hagen. The forward believes both sides want to get a contract done.

In terms of the on-ice product, Colborne is excited as he looks ahead.

“We were a team that prided ourselves on being tough to play against and not being a team that other teams would want to come to the Saddledome and play against,” said Colborne. “If anything, we’ve even surpassed that, so we’re going to be a tough team and teams are going to know if they want to come in and take two points from us, they’re going to have to bring their work boots.

“We worked really hard at developing an identity and I think just bringing in these guys . . . guys who want to be here, hometown guys like Mason, and tough guys like Bollig, Engelland . . . people aren’t going to want to go into the corner against us. It’s going to be a fun team to watch.”

Incidentally, The Sun's Wes Gilbertson covers the arbitration angle as well and points out the 6-foot-5 Colborne is now up to 220 pounds.


The Province's Jason Botchford outlines why Linden Vey may well be ready to step into the third line centre role for the Vancouver Canucks.

Included in the profile is an anecdote about how new Canucks bench boss Willie Desjardins used to coach Vey in Medicine Hat. Vey had posted around a point-per-game in his second and third WHL campaigns and in the summer headed into that fourth season, Desjardins was leaving to become an associate coach with the Dallas Stars.

“The funny thing is, even though he wasn’t my coach any more he was still very impactful that year,” Vey said.

“I spent a lot of time with him that summer. He sat me down and told me that was the year I had to really focus on training.

“It was probably the first year that I actually dedicated to working out.”

Vey, in case you were wondering, went on to post a dominant 46-70-116 in 69 GP in that final year of junior.


Speaking of Linden Vey, he joined Team 1040 on Wednesday. He describes himself as a two-way player who really evolved his game playing in the Los Angeles Kings' system. Vey also noted the importance of his AHL development, learning the type of game you need to play at that level. He wants to target his strength training with the Canucks' staff this summer.

Vey was asked about being a member of the Kings' Black Aces this spring, meaning he saw the Cup run first-hand from the sidelines as one of the extras. Did he touch the Cup?

"No, I was the only guy not to. I've always been under the influence that you've got to win it, you've got to earn it first. Even though I played a handful of games or whatever this season, I just felt like it wasn't right and I told myself to make sure I'm going to work hard enough and that I'm going to try to get back in that situation."

He continued.

"It was definitely tough, just because growing up in Canada and just being a hockey player, you know, that's what you work towards. You want to achieve that one day. Just being so close, it's tough. But at the same time, like I said, you want to earn it and you want to feel like you absolutely deserve to be the guy lifting it."


Ryan Strome offered his thoughts to Newsday’s Arthur Staple last week at prospect camp on the fact that the Islanders have 16 forwards under contract.

"[Having all the forwards] makes for good competition, but at the end of the day I have to worry about myself," Strome said. "Ultimately, wanting to make the team is one thing, and the next thing is wanting the team to be competitive. I really haven't looked at it from the selfish side. It's more, the team's going to be better and hopefully I can be here to contribute. I feel like I can be and I feel like I will be."

The addition of pivot Mikhail Grabovski, which pushes Frans Nielsen down one line, might impact whether or not Strome even lines up as a center or is moved to the wing.

"It doesn't really change and I don't know what to expect," Strome said. "I played center most of my time here and then the last week I played wing and I thought I played pretty well. Things change and being versatile is obviously an advantage. Whatever they have in mind, I'm prepared for."


The Tennessean's Josh Cooper projects how each of the top four lines for the Nashville Predators might look with the current roster.

James Neal * Mike Ribeiro * Colin Wilson

Viktor Stalberg * Derek Roy * Craig Smith

Olli Jokinen * Calle Jarnkrok * Filip Forsberg

Rich Clune * Paul Gaustad * Eric Nystrom


The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Chris Butler to a one-year, two-way deal, and he explains how the situation unfolded.

"St. Louis reached out the first or second day of free agency, talked to my agent, but things didn't sound too serious at that point," Butler said, via The Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford. "Then about a week ago, I was in Europe and my agent said (Ken Hitchcock) wanted to talk to me. I had a 15-minute with Hitch and just talked about a few different things. Then just this past Monday, I had a sit-down with Doug Armstrong and we went over a handful of items, where he kind of saw me fitting in. In the last 24 hours, we kind of talked numbers and came to an agreement." 


Brandon Prust has been working hard this summer to regain strength lost by his twice-torn oblique muscle, as detailed by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs.

“I’m already looking forward to getting back and making a big impact this year,” Prust said.

The Montreal Canadiens forward is also preparing for his July 29 Prusty 4 Kids golf tournament, which will benefit young cancer patients at Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Center.

"Going into children’s hospitals and seeing these kids is what drew me to this type of charity,” Prust said. “The kids didn’t do anything wrong, they didn’t do this to themselves. It’s terribly unfortunate what some of them are going through. Maybe they don’t even know the extent of it.

“What they’re going through with their families gives you a different outlook on life. They’re very strong and courageous kids who don’t get to be normal kids. They have very tough times so it’s good to put a smile on their face and raise money to make their lives easier in the hospital.

“When you have the power to do stuff, as I do and other hockey players do, you have to take advantage of it.”


Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Jason Garrison joined Team 1040 Wednesday morning, discussing his move from the Vancouver Canucks.

"I guess before it got announced, I think it was draft day, it was about two weeks kind of prior to that they had contacted my agent and kind of let me know the situation and how they felt and what they were doing. I wasn't in Vancouver at the time. It was initial shock, for sure. You know that that's part of the business and it can always happen to you no matter what, but it felt like when I signed with Vancouver there was some stability there, it was going to be definitely more than two years. So just to move again, it was shocking. A little frustrated and all those emotions. It's settled in. It was kind of a process of figuring it all out before it got announced. I'm happy that it's over with now for sure. It's unfortunate to leave my home town, but I guess you've got to continue the career somewhere. I'm looking forward to moving to Tampa Bay."

On the disaster that was 2013-14:

"I think everybody on that team will agree the year sucked and everybody had a crappy year... You figured changed were going to happen and that's kind of what it did. It started with the coach and GM and then you figure it was going to happen with players. It's tough. It was just a tough situation."

Garrison touched on the difficulty the team had scoring goals and how it certainly wouldn't be fair to place all the blame on John Tortorella. The defenceman mentioned how the Canucks had been used to so many years under Alain Vigneault's system and with a new person coming in, "It was an adjustment for everyone on the team."

Garrison loved playing in front of family and friends in his hometown and wishes he could have done it for a longer period of time. "My family had a blast and they came to all of the games, obviously watched on TV. Just a lot of support. It brings everybody a little closer together when they can all rally behind something. It was a lot of fun. They understand the business part of it. They were heartbroken a bit, but they've kind of wrapped their arms around it now and it's kind of going back to how it used to be when I stayed for the summers and go away for the season."

Garrison is "super-excited to go" to the Tampa Bay Lightning and loves the make-up of the team with the skill level and the pace of their play. "I'm looking forward to being a part of that."

Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner joined Sportsnet 590 Wednesday morning.

He is excited about the additions of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik to the back end, noting each skill set they bring. "I'm fired up about it. I think we have, on paper right now, one of the deepest bluelines, so I'm happy about that."

On how the players don't get caught up in the big dollar contracts handed out to incoming teammates in free agency:

"You know that you have to pay players to get them sometimes and we're happy. I'm happy for all the guys whenever they can get a good paycheck and that's great. So if we're going to have to pay guys numbers that other people don't necessarily agree with and we want that player and need that player, then it doesn't matter to us - you've just got to get them. And if they're going to help us win, pay each one of those guys $10 million a year if we're going to win next year. So it doesn't bother me one bit. You've got to do what you've got to do. I think these are two good signings, two good players for us to have and yeah, I'm just hoping it can help change our team a little bit."

Alzner said Evgeny Kuznetsov has "just got so much raw talent," also believing "he was maybe a little bit taken aback by the physicality at times, but he'll get used to that. He's got all the tools. He's just got to continue playing, continue getting more confidence."

On Mikhail Grabovski, who signed with the New York Islanders:

You know what, he's a good player. He plays hard at both ends of the rink. He's a good guy to have in the room. People like him. He's nice. He struggled with injuries with us and it's hard when you kind of get out of the mix a little bit and then try to come back in - it makes it tough on the guy. But I thought he was a good player. Good guy to have in the room. Everybody enjoyed having him around. It just didn't quite work out and we all know that him and Kulemin are good buddies there and they wanted to play together again. I'm sure if we could have made it work, we would have made it work. He can do stuff. He can help a team win. It didn't quite work out in Toronto, didn't quite work out with us. But it seems like he's in a good situation now and he can do some damage in this league."

On Barry Trotz as the new head coach:

"I think it's going to be great. He's been known as a big-time defensive guy, which is great for me. I like that. It's going to play right into my style of game. Nothing against Nashville, but we're a team that spends to the cap and pay a lot of high-flying offensive guys that love to score goals. I don't know exactly what his mentality is now with that, but it could change people's perspective and thoughts on him. Maybe he's not just a defensive guy and he wants to show a little bit of flair as well in his coaching style and we'd be the right type of team for that. But when it comes to defense, I'm excited about this because that is one of the knocks on us. We've let in too many goals. Hopefully he can help stabilize our team and we can start winning games 2-1 and 3-2 instead of having to be up in that 4-3, 5-4 range all of the time and getting into all of these shootouts like we did last year. Everything I've heard about him has been nothing but positive."

Alzner's wife, incidentally, is pregnant and the due date is around two weeks before the Winter Classic.