Washington Capitals forward Lars Eller has decided against opting out of the return to play tournament, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be there for the whole thing. Eller told reporters including Greg Wyshynski of ESPN that he will leave the “bubble” at some point for the birth of his child. The expected due date is August 8th, right in the middle of the qualification round that the Capitals will not be taking part in.
As Wyshynski explains, leaving the bubble is relatively easy—it requires extenuating circumstances like the birth of a child and a GM’s approval—getting back in is not. Eller will be subject to several tests before being allowed to return, including a potential 14-day quarantine depending on where they have traveled.
- With assistant Mike Kitchen opting out, the Florida Panthers will have to make some changes to their coaching staff. George Richards of Florida Hockey Now reports that with Kitchen gone, Andrew Brunette will be taking care of the defense while former captain Derek MacKenzie will organize the forwards. Geordie Kinnear, the head coach of the Springfield Thunderbirds, has also been added to the staff.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs will be getting some reinforcements when they take the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a few weeks. Ilya Mikheyev, whose rookie season was lost after he suffered a frightening wrist injury in late December, is seemingly back to full strength. In fact, Mark Masters of TSN reports that teammates are raving about the improvements that the 25-year old has made to his game during the time off. Mikheyev was already off to a strong start in Toronto, scoring 23 points in his first 39 games before going down to injury.