NHL Players of the Week, Mike Richards on waivers, the latest notable injury reports and suspensions, plus the possible beginning of the end of the Corsi stat.
NBC SPORTS: Columbus’ Ryan Johansen, Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and Minnesota’s Zach Parise are your NHL stars for the week ending January 25.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings have placed center Mike Richards on waivers. If he clears by noon ET today he could be sent to their AHL affiliate in Manchester.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more coverage on Richards’ situation in my rumors sections. I can’t say I’m surprised by this news. Richards’ stats have been in decline for a couple of years and he’s been the subject of frequent trade speculation. Given his $5.75 million annual cap hit through 2019-20, I will be surprised if a rival club claims him. If Richards is demoted, all but $925K of his cap hit for this season counts against the Kings cap, so they’re not getting much relief.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Because Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skipped this weekend’s NHL All-Star Game citing a lower-body injury, the league is banning him from playing in tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. Under the CBA, any player selected to the All-Star Game who misses the game to injury, no matter the severity of the injury, is automatically prevented from playing in his first NHL regular-season game following the ASG.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Penguins riding high in the Eastern Conference standings, it’s not as though his absence from tonight’s game will put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.
NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (groin injury) in injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 21.
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders winger Kyle Okposo will miss the next six-to-eight weeks following surgery for an undisclosed upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Okposo is one of the Isles key players so this could be a significant blow to their roster.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson is out three-to-eight weeks following an arthroscopic knee procedure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could put additional pressure on Avalanche management to bolster their defensive depth. The Avs are just a handful of points out of playoff contention. Losing Johnson could scuttle their postseason hopes.
NEWS 1130: Confirms Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa underwent successful hand surgery and will miss six-to-eight weeks.
PHILLY.COM: Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo was suspended for eight games by the NHL for boarding and charging Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang during a recent game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinaldo’s fortunate he didn’t receive 10 games. Another incident like this one and he could face considerably more time on the sidelines.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils have placed forward Tim Sestito on waivers.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have sent goalie Darcy Kuemper to their AHL affiliate in Iowa on a conditioning stint.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: New technology to track puck possession could spell the end of Corsi and other methods of tracking advanced stats.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the technology will simply provide more accuracy to advanced stats, as well as perhaps simplify the numbers for casual fans. Corsi, Fenwick and PDO aren’t going anywhere.