Oilers’ Grebeshkov to train in Edmonton

Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish thinks Denis Grebeshkov (above) will be a fine role model for young Russian sniper Nail Yakupov. (CP)
July 28, 2013, 11:29 PM

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OILERS’ GREBESHKOV TO TRAIN IN EDMONTON

The Edmonton Journal points out that despite having a crowded blueline headed into training camp, Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish did not hesitate when Denis Grebeshkov wanted to give the NHL another shot after three years in the Kontinental Hockey League. The Oilers signed Grebeshkov, 29, to a one-year, one-way, $1.5-million contract earlier this month.

“What I see with him is he had a bit of a rocky year last year in the KHL,” MacTavish said. “But he’s coming back as soon as we get his immigration (worked out) and he’ll be training virtually the whole month of August here.

“He’s going to be highly motivated on just a one-year deal and I’m sure he wants to make a career over here. He’ll be a good role model for Yak (Russian forward Nail Yakupov). Denis is a hell of a guy.”

MacTavish thinks Anton Belov, a 27-year-old, nine-year KHL veteran signed to a two-way contract, is not far away from being an NHLer.

“Belov and Denis could be a pretty good pair because Belov plays the offside. Our goal is quick puck decisions, getting the puck up to the forwards. He’s got that. He’s physical. He’s got some bite to his game, too.”

MATURITY SHOWING FOR HAWKS’ KANE

Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tells The Chicago Tribune he’s planning on relaxing, enjoying his summer and keeping himself out of trouble.

“It’s hard to the point where there’s so much social media and so much cameras and people who want to take pictures where anything you do is going to be under the microscope and people are going to record it,” Kane said. “Something even minor I do is going to be reported because of things that have happened in the past. You have to be aware of that.”

Kane appears to have come to the realization that good times can be had while maintaining composure and staying focused during an offseason that can be used to improve his considerable hockey skills as well.

“It seems to be easier these days as you get older,” Kane said of staying out of trouble. “You’re obviously going to have your fun. You still feel like a young kid, but with what has happened in the first six years of my career, I still can prove a lot more as a player and maybe accomplish some more things with this team.

“That’s what you have to look at and be excited about. Keep pushing yourself in the summer because that’s where coming back into the season (you) maybe have an edge or two on guys to get some more goals or points to help myself start strong.”

WHEELER: GREAT THINGS IN STORE FOR JETS

The Winnipeg Sun observes how Jets winger Blake Wheeler has already achieved financial security after signing a six-year deal worth $33.6 million, but his quest to take his game to the next level is merely beginning.

“Now having that vote of confidence from a franchise, I’m the kind of person that kind of takes that and runs with it,” said Wheeler. “Having faith put in me just gives me life and energy to go out there and hopefully reach new heights because I think there’s more in store, for sure.”

The Jets have invested heavily in their core and now it’s time to see if they’re ready to grow into a playoff team.

“I have believed since I got here — and I’ve told you guys that a million times — I believe we have what it takes to take it to the next level,” said Wheeler. “And this is just a part of that process. I really, truly believe that great things are in store for this group.”

TOOTOO HEADED BACK TO PREDATORS?

Michigan Live reports the Detroit Red Wings have had discussions with the Nashville Predators about sending forward Jordin Tootoo back to the organization that drafted and developed him, according to a source.

The Red Wings have been trying to swing a trade for more than a month to alleviate their roster and cap crunch. Tootoo, with two years at $1.9 million per season remaining on his contract, appears to be their most viable trade candidate.

Nashville, a team that typically doesn’t spend up to the cap, has $4.6 million in cap space, according to capgeek.com. But, the Predators have 14 forwards, after signing a trio of free agents (Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg and Eric Nystrom) and would likely need to move a player to make room for Tootoo.

BICKELL FINDS CONSISTENCY LEVEL FOR BLACKHAWKS

CSNChicago.com recalls how Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell got ready for this past season by playing in Europe and stayed ready when the NHL lockout ended.

“The last few years my game’s been getting better. The biggest thing for me was the consistency level,” he said. “This year, for the season I had, I took steps in the right way and just skyrocketed in the playoffs. I had a lot of confidence. (Coach Joel Quenneville) put it in my head what I needed to do every night to help my game and help the team win, and I just ran with it.”

Considering how long he’s been with the organization, be it in the system or on the big club, Bickell’s arguably part of the core.

“It took me a while to get up here from the minors. But after we won the last game, I know (general manager Stan Bowman) said they were going to do whatever it took to keep me here. ‘We feel you’re a piece of this core,’” Bickell said. “In 2010 we had to let a lot of guys go. (Bowman) felt that I was a part of it and I was honored. Hopefully I can stay here the rest of my career.”

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