Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen owned up to the reasoning behind his benching on Saturday night when he met with the media this morning. Kapanen had been a healthy scratch, but head coach Sheldon Keefe declined to provide any details as to why in his post-game media availability. It turns out that Kapanen had specifically asked for the opportunity to speak about the issue. Kapanen told a number of reporters, including Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, that he had overslept on Friday and was late to a team meeting and practice. This was not the first incidence of this, as Kapanen had previously had problems being punctual in the AHL, also under Keefe. He stressed this morning that these were honest mistakes and he does not want his coaches and teammates to think that he does not care about being the best player that he can be. It seems that Kapanen and Keefe are ready to move past this but these locker room issues won’t help to quell the trade rumors surrounding the young winger.
- In an entertaining article that was mostly educated guesses, Pierre LeBrun did manage to drop a few rumor nuggets in his recent trade deadline piece for The Athletic. One such report was that the Carolina Hurricanes – known to be seeking defense – had inquired about the Minnesota Wild’s Mathew Dumba. Not only does this say that the Hurricanes are at least looking into options beyond rentals, with Dumba signed for three more years at $6MM, but it implies that the Wild are at least listening to offers on the young defenseman. New GM Bill Guerin has stated that the team is open for business, but moving Dumba would be a major move for the franchise. The team would have to recoup some highly valueable pieces to warrant trading away one of their few young difference-makers.
- Hurricanes prospect Patrik Puistola is on the move in the Finnish Liiga yet again. Puistola, 19, has struggled while playing for the team that owns his rights, Tappara, with just two points in 24 games. However, in an earlier loan this season to Jukurit, the swift winger posted five points in just seven games. Tappaara will try to loan him out again now, announcing that he has been sent to Kookoo. If Puistola performs with Kookoo as he did with Jukurit or at the World Juniors, where he posted eight points in seven games, then the team will be very happy about this temporary arrangement. Meanwhile, as Puistola’s attachment to Tappara continues to diminih, the odds are improving that he will make the jump to North America next season.