Report: Dubois preferred short-term deal, hoping for trade from Jackets

Despite inking a two-year contract on Thursday, it appears Pierre-Luc Dubois isn't happy with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The young forward, who was a restricted free agent, and his camp preferred a shorter pact this offseason to give general manager Jarmo Kekalainen time to potentially facilitate a trade, and because it means Dubois avoids being locked in with Columbus long term, according to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline.

The relationship between Dubois and the Blue Jackets changed during negotiations this offseason, sources told Portzline.

It was reported shortly before his $10-million deal was announced that Dubois could be looking for a change of scenery, but Kekalainen and agent Pat Brisson both declined to comment on the matter.

Columbus drafted Dubois third overall in 2016, and he's the club's most promising young forward. The 22-year-old registered a team-leading 49 points in 70 games last season before adding 10 points in 10 playoff games.

The Blue Jackets are set to open training camp Jan. 3, and they'll kick off their 2021 season Jan. 14 versus the Nashville Predators.

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Islanders agree to terms with UFAs Martin, Greene

The New York Islanders have agreed to deals with forward Matt Martin and defenseman Andy Greene, general manager Lou Lamoriello said Thursday, according to Mollie Walker of the New York Post.

Terms of the agreements weren't disclosed. Both players were with the club last season, but they were on the final year of their contracts.

Martin suited up for 55 games in 2019-20, registering eight points while averaging just over 10 minutes per contest. The rugged winger chipped in five playoff goals during the Isles' run to the Eastern Conference Final.

Greene landed in Long Island at the trade deadline after 14 seasons with the New Jersey Devils. The 38-year-old notched seven points with New York over the regular season and playoffs.

The Islanders held a projected $3.9 million in cap space before factoring in the new deals for Martin and Greene. The club still needs to sign star restricted free agent Mathew Barzal.

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Canada green-lights NHL camps, Alberta 1st province to approve games

Alberta became the first province to green-light NHL games Thursday, the province said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

Provincial lawmakers approved Calgary and Edmonton for competition on Dec. 25 after examining the league's return-to-play protocols.

Meanwhile, Canada's federal government agreed to allow the start of NHL training camps by issuing an exemption to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for players and team staff returning to the country, citing "national interest grounds."

The four other Canadian provinces that host NHL teams - British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec - still need to sign off on permitting NHL games.

All seven Canadian clubs will play in the same division as part of the league's realignment for the upcoming campaign. The new divisional structure has been known for weeks, but the league still requires the approval of provincial and federal governments in conjunction with health officials.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last week the league believes it is "aligned and in agreement (with lawmakers) on the conditions on which each of our Canadian franchises can begin play in their own buildings for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season."

The regular season is slated to begin on Jan. 13. Training camps for clubs that took part in last season's 24-team playoff begin Jan. 3, while the seven squads that missed out on that postseason open camp Thursday.

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Bruins GM expects team to name ‘obvious’ captain this season

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is confident his club will name a new captain for the upcoming season, and that the choice will be a no-brainer.

"We expect to have a captain," Sweeney said Thursday, according to's Amalie Benjamin.

"We'll make a decision moving forward," the GM added, according to the Boston Sports Journal's Conor Ryan. "I think it's an obvious decision."

The Bruins' longtime captain, Zdeno Chara, signed a one-year, $795,000 contract with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Chara wore the "C" for all 14 seasons he played with Boston, beginning in 2006.

Patrice Bergeron appears to be the obvious choice, having served as an alternate captain with the team since it handed Chara the captaincy. Fellow center David Krejci was also an alternate for Boston last season.

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Russia ends Sweden’s 54-game preliminary-round win streak

Russia squeezed out a tight 4-3 overtime win over Sweden on Wednesday to end the country's preliminary-round winning streak at 54 games.

Marat Khusnutdinov scored the game-winner in the dying seconds, and goaltender Yaroslav Askarov turned aside 33 shots.

Sweden's last loss in the opening round of the world juniors came against the USA on Dec. 31, 2006.

The two sides exchanged goals and chances all game long, but Russia took the lead when Kirill Kirsanov scored halfway through the third period.

With the goalie pulled in the dying minutes, Sweden's Noel Gunler tipped home Alexander Holtz's blast from the point to tie things up and send the game to overtime. That's when Russia eventually delivered the dagger in the final seconds while on the power play.

Elmer Soderblom was named the player of the game for Sweden, while Rodion Amirov earned the honor for the Russians.

The game was Russia's final contest of the preliminary round. The country now awaits the results of Thursday's matchup between Sweden and the United States, when the group's final standings will be clear. The winner of Thursday's clash between Canada and Finland will now face the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

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