GLENDALE, Ariz. — Summer acquisition Dave Bolland failed his physical on Thursday as expected, and defenseman Kevin Connauton suffered a lower-body injury in an informal skate that will sideline him for the start of training camp on Friday at Gila River Arena.
Coyotes general manager John Chayka characterized Connauton’s injury as short-term. Every other healthy player passed his physical, including defenseman Cam Dineen, and should take part when training camp opens. Dineen suffered an injury in junior camp but has recovered.
As Arizona Sports reported when Bolland was acquired this summer, he will head to long-term injured reserve before the season begins, freeing the Coyotes from paying 80 percent of his $5.5 million salary.
Bolland still has three years left on his deal, but has battled a combination of injuries including the severed ankle tendon he suffered in November 2013, back issues and a concussion history.
“There’s nothing that he would like more than to play in the National Hockey League again,” his agent, Anton Thun said. “Will that happen? I don’t think anybody can project that.”
STONE TIMELINE STILL FUZZY
Michael Stone still has Oct. 1 circled on his calendar as a date when he hopes to resume full practices, including contact and reactive drills, but he has no idea how realistic that is.
“I think the timeline changes daily,” Stone said, laughing. “There is no timeline, I guess. The low-end rehab time is six months, which is Oct. 1, but you’re never sure what’s going on inside the knee. I feel good. That’s all I know.”
Stone, who is rehabbing from ACL/MCL surgery has been skating on his own but has not been cleared for contact or all drills. He said the rehab process has been arduous.
“It was long; it still is long, but the way I look back on it now, I feel 100 times better than I did in April,” he said. “Even just the two weeks after surgery when all the guys were on the road, I was at home. It was not the best experience. My wife was probably sick of me watching sports all day. Post-surgery was worse than the actual injury. It was awful.”
Chayka praised Stone’s commitment over the last six months.
“He’s done everything possible to get back to where he can be,” Chayka said. “I know it’s been a long road for him but I’ve been impressed with how he has approached his business in terms of his rehab.”
Unsigned restricted free agent forward Tobias Rieder is still playing for Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. Europe will play Sweden in the semifinals on Sunday.
Chayka said there is little new to report on contract talks with Rieder’s camp, aside from some terms being discussed.
“It’s kind of become an unfortunate situation in the sense that we tried to get something done longer term with Tobi, but there was just no consistency in the longer-term deals,” Chayka said. “Now we’re talking about a bridge deal. When you get to that point there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room or creativity involved in those discussions. You’re limited to what you have and the comparable sets to comparable sets.”
Coach Dave Tippett said he had a productive dinner with Rieder in Montreal while both were at the World Cup of Hockey, but no deal has been reached. Rieder is not expected to report to camp without a new deal.
Center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek concluded their World Cup of Hockey play with a 4-3 win over Team USA on Thursday evening in which Michalek had a goal and Hanzal had an assist. Tippett’s World Cup also ended when Russia defeated Finland on Thursday, eliminating team North America despite a 2-1 record and a one-goal loss.
Tippett said by phone that he would return to camp on Friday and probably take the ice on Saturday. He wasn’t certain, but he was guessing that Hanzal and Michalek would report on Sept. 29 and be full participants.
That leaves defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Rieder as the only healthy, missing players. Ekman-Larsson is playing for Sweden. The World Cup could go as late as Oct. 1 if the finals series extends to three games.
Two prospects that won’t be attending camp are Swedish forwards Jens Looke, 19, and Anton Karlsson, 20. Looke was a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2015; Karlsson was a third-round pick (87th overall) in 2014. Both are playing in Sweden — Looke with Timra IK, Karlsson with Oskarshamn IK — and will remain there this season, Chayka said.
“We talked to Karlsson about coming over, but we have a large graduating class at this time,” Chayka said. “It’s nothing against him. We still think he’s a good player but when he goes back and plays another year in Sweden, he is still a prospect (and not a pro under contract). With Looke, at his age, having a spot in Sweden makes sense to play another year and develop. We have a lot of good young players so there’s no rush.”
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