Patrick Kane cleared to return, Jamie Benn to undergo hip surgery, Ryane Clowe facing retirement and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL Playoff News.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (broken clavicle) has received medical clearance to return to action and will be in the lineup for Game One of the ‘Hawks opening-round series against the Nashville Predators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The original prognosis had Kane returning in mid-May. It’ll be interesting to see how effective he’ll be in the series against the Predators.
THE TENNESSEAN: As many as nine Nashville Predators could be making their NHL playoff debuts. Among them are regulars Filip Forsberg, Seth Jones, Mattias Ekholm and Calle Jarnkrok.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has his club entering the playoffs with a balanced scoring attack.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins are unfazed by their unusual role as underdogs in their upcoming series against the Rangers.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Ducks backup John Gibson is dealing with an unspecified “minor” upper-body injury. Jason LaBarbera will back up Frederik Andersen when the Ducks open their series against the Winnipeg Jets.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings have named Petr Mrazek their starting goalie for Game One of their upcoming series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The Lightning enter this year’s playoffs healthier and better prepared than they were a year ago.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders welcome back forwards Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin, who missed the final three games of the regular season to undisclosed injuries. The Isles will be without defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower-body injury) for Game One of their upcoming series against the Washington Capitals.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Sidelined Capitals Eric Fehr, Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson could be close to returning to the lineup.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues remain coy over whether Brian Elliott or Jake Allen will be their starter when they open their series against the Minnesota Wild.
TWINCITIES.COM: Matt Cooke and Jordan Leopold could be in the Wild lineup to add more muscle for their opening game against the Minnesota Wild.
NHL.COM: Dallas Stars winger Jamie Benn, Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Palat and Ottawa Senators right wing Matt Stone are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 12.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Jamie Benn will undergo hip surgery soon. Recovery time is four-five months.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benn played through pain during the final weeks of the regular season and still won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer. That makes his achievement all the more notable. By having surgery soon, Benn could be ready in time for training camp.
CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he won’t require off-season surgery to repair a torn PCL in his left knee.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins won’t be re-signing pending UFA forwards Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings players are downplaying a recent report claiming they locked out coach Darryl Sutter from the dressing room following a game in February.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils forward Ryane Clowe admits he’s facing retirement due to multiple concussions. The club also agreed to a two-year contract extension with backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid, though the deal has yet to be finalized.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quality of life is far more important for Clowe than risking further injury by continuing his playing career. It’s sad that his playing days are cut short like this, but he must think of his health.