NHL notes: NHL's R&D camp set
|Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller makes a save against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que., Jan. 22, 2011. (SHAUN BEST/Reuters)
The NHL research and development camp begins Wednesday at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto.
A variety of experimental rules will be examined, while other wrinkles, such as five-man shootouts, 3-on-3 overtime and referees chatting on head sets will be tried. Penalties will be served in their entirety and defending teams can't ice the puck.
"All of this is with the understanding that we really like the game right now," NHL vice-president Brendan Shanahan told the Boston Globe. "But if there are things down the road that concern us, like, 'Is the penalty killing too good?; Do we need to speed up the game?' then we'll have taken a look at a few things over time."
Thirty-six of the top prospects for next year's draft will act as guinea pigs for the NHL during the two-day camp. Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguis and Dave Tippett of the Phoenix Coyotes will coach the two teams.
Hiller good to go?
Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller told a Swiss TV network that he no longer has symptoms of vertigo and will be ready for training camp, according to Yahho's Puck Daddy blog.
Hiller missed a good chunk of the 2010-11 season due to recurring vertigo, which first hit in early February.
But he told Schweizer Fernsehen TV that he's symptom-free and has been working out with SC Bern of the Swiss league, along with Mark Streit of the New York Islanders and Yannick Weber of the Montreal Canadiens.
In 49 games with the Ducks last year, Hiller was 26-16-3 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.
Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov, the potential first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, put to rest Tuesday off-season rumours that he would stay in Russia for the 2011-12 season.
Rumblings over the summer suggested Yakupov would suit up for his hometown team, Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik of the KHL, rather than return to Sarnia for another season of junior. While he acknowledged that he did work out with some of the Russian club's players, he said there was never really any question that he would be returning to North America.
"I always want to play in Canada this year," he said. "I want to be No. 1. I want our team to finish first in OHL. The other things -- how many goals, how many points (he scores), the draft, are not as important."
Beginning Wednesday, an army of scouts will be watching Yakupov, along with 35 other top-rated, 2012 draft-eligible players, when they participate in the NHL's Research, Development and Orientation Camp in Toronto. The 2010-11 CHL Rookie of the Year had 49 goals and 52 assists with the Sting last season.