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Lightning Round: Maxim Cajkovic won’t participate in World Juniors

The NHL may be moving the regular season start to Jan. 15

Canada v Slovakia: Exhibition - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images

According to Hockey Slovakia, Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Maxim Cajkovic has been excluded from the Slovak U20 National Team camp due to disciplinary reasons and won’t participate in the upcoming World Junior Championship. Per reports, Cajkovic delivered a couple of dirty hits during yesterday’s scrimmage against his teammates, which doesn’t correspond with the values set by coaches and players. Cajkovic has responded to this situations and reportedly already left the team.

It was the first preparation game since Team Slovakia entered a training camp bubble in Zvolen, Slovakia. Before being excluded, Cajkovic scored two goals in this game.

After excluding Cajkovic, the Slovaks' chances to make the playoffs, or even to survive in the top division, have significantly dropped. Maxim Cajkovic is one of the few returning players and the biggest star of their team. Their opponents in Pool A are Canada, Finland, Switzerland and Germany and if Canada and Finland are obvious favourites, the remaining two teams have very talented rosters, especially Germany, which has probably one of the strongest rosters in recent years. Their potential opponent in relegation game – team Austria, also doesn’t look like an easy rival, and boasts some big talents, such as Marco Rossi, the first round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild.

Team Slovakia have been in the top division since the implementing of the playoff format at the 1996 World Juniors and has won two bronze medals since that time, most recently in 2015.

Around the League

Per Pierre LeBrun, the NHL is moving the potential date of start for the 2020-21 regular season to January 15. Earlier the league shared the preliminary schedule of 56-game regular season with the NHL teams.

According to draft schedule, training camps could start on January 1, the playoffs would start early in May and the Stanley Cup will be awarded around July 7

However, the financial issue still hasn’t been resolved. The NHL has asked for an additional increase of deferral and escrow payments. The negotiations with the NHLPA are still continuing.

One league is playing in the United States - the ECHL. The Orlando Solar Bears had their first exhibition game last night and fell 5-4 to the Florida Everblades. Adam Rockwood had a goal and an assist while Peter Abbandonato and rookie Nikita Pavlychev also scored.