How long will the Blues continue to carry eight defensemen? Can the Canadiens capitalize in the goalie trade market? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford pondered how long the St. Louis Blues will continue to carry eight defensemen this season. They’re currently doing so because they don’t want to risk losing Tyler Tucker or Scott Perunovich on waivers trying to send them to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug (NHL Images).
If this season continues going the way it has for the Blues, Rutherford wondered if they might revisit the trade market for Torey Krug or other defensemen such as Robert Bortuzzo or Marco Scandella. The latter two are slated to become unrestricted free agents next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford isn’t sure how much interest those three might draw in the trade market. The Blues attempted to move Krug to the Philadelphia Flyers in June but he invoked his no-trade clause and could do so again.
Scandella carries a $3.275 million cap hit plus a seven-team no-trade clause. Bortuzzo carries a more affordable $900K cap hit and lacks no-trade protection but he might not draw much interest and won’t fetch much of a return.
Dumont noted that the Buffalo Sabres might fall into that category, pointing out that Eric Comrie will be sidelined for several weeks with a lower-body injury. They briefly called up Devin Cooley following Comrie’s injury but returned him to their AHL affiliate as Devon Levi is expected to return to action this week.
There’s no indication that the Sabres and Canadiens have engaged in talks with teams like the Sabres. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if they did given that Habs general manager Kent Hughes is keen to move a netminder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Canadiens will move one of their three goaltenders at some point this season. For now, however, it doesn’t appear as though the Sabres will be a trade partner. They appear content for now to stick with their current goalies. If not the Sabres, perhaps another team will come calling if injuries or inconsistent play becomes an issue.
Kings captain Anze Kopitar reaches a career milestone, the Predators, Kraken and Flyers earn shutout wins, the three stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar collected an assist to reach 1,100 career points in a 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Kevin Fiala scored twice and collected four assists while Adrian Kempe tallied two goals as the Kings scored four power-play goals. Oilers captain Connor McDavid netted his league-leading 34th goal of the season. With 54 points, the Kings (24-14-6) sit two points behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. The Oilers (21-18-3) hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 45 points.
Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar sits second in assists (727) and third in points among the Kings’ all-time leading scorers. He’s 33 assists behind Marcel Dionne but still a long way from breaking the latter’s franchise record of 1,307 points.
The Nashville Predators got a 38-save shutout by Juuse Saros to blank the Ottawa Senators 3-0. Roman Josi, Jeremy Lauzon and Filip Forsberg were the goal scorers as the Predators (19-14-6) sit one point behind the Oilers. The Senators, meanwhile, dropped to 18-19-3 on the season.
Seattle Kraken goaltender Martin Jones stopped 21 shots to blank the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 to earn their fifth straight road victory. Matty Beniers, Vince Dunn and Eeli Tolvanen each had a goal and an assist as the Kraken improved to 23-12-4 to sit four points behind the Kings in third place in the Pacific Division with 50 points. The Canadiens dropped to 16-22-3 and have lost eight of their last nine contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Canadiens recalled goalie Cayden Primeau as Jake Allen is sidelined day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Philadelphia Flyers upset the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 with rookie goalie Samuel Ersson kicking out 28 shots for his first career NHL shutout. Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny each had two points for the Flyers (16-18-7) while the Sabres (20-16-2) remain four points out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 42 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Sabres activated goaltender Eric Comrie off injured reserve and loaned netminder Ukka-Pekka Luukkanen to their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak, New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin are the league’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 8, 2023.
THE ATHLETIC: Following their 4-1 win over the Coyotes in Arizona on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins flew to Montreal to attend the funeral of Claude Fouquet, the father of teammate Kris Letang.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nice to see the Penguins going the extra mile as a team to support a teammate in his time of grieving. My condolences to Letang and his family.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Tyler Bertuzzi is expected to make his return to the Red Wings lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. He’s been limited to just nine games this season by two hand injuries. His last game was against the Jets on Nov. 30.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Anthony Mantha called his being a healthy scratch from the Capitals’ game against Columbus on Sunday a “wake-up call”. He’s struggled with consistency this season, managing 23 points in 42 games this season.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks forward Justin Kirkland was hospitalized after a car accident on Sunday while on his way to play against the Boston Bruins. He has full mobility and is communicating with family and teammates. He could be released from the hospital within the next 24-48 hours.
CBS SPORTS: The St. Louis Blues placed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (lower body) on injured reserve.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators broadcaster Pete Weber expects to return to work after undergoing brain surgery on Monday for hydrocephalus. He anticipates being ready to return to the booth for the Predators’ home game on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres and hopes to return to the road in three weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Weber for a speedy recovery.
Hat-trick performances by the Bruins’ David Pastrnak and the Jets’ Kyle Connor, Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson return to the Capitals, the Blackhawks’ Lukas Reichel nets his first three NHL points and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick and collected an assist to crush the Anaheim Ducks 7-1. David Krejci collected three points and Jeremy Swayman stopped 28 shots as the league-leading Bruins (32-4-4, 68 points) extended their points streak to 14 games (11-0-3). Trevor Zegras replied for the Ducks as they dropped to 12-25-4.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
Spurred by Kyle Connor’s hat trick and a four-assist performance by Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Winnipeg Jets rolled to a 7-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Nikolaj Ehlers enjoyed a three-point performance for the Jets (26-13-1) as they remain one point behind the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars with 53 points. J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks as they fell to 17-19-3.
Speaking of the Stars (24-11-6), they dropped the Florida Panthers by a score of 5-1. Jason Robertson scored two goals while Jake Oettinger made 27 saves for the win. Carter Verhaeghe replied for the 18-19-4 Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Stars as center Roope Hintz left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. He is expected to be evaluated on Monday.
Washington Capitals forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson made their season debuts in a 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Darcy Kuemper kicked out 38 shots for the shutout while Erik Gustafsson tallied the only goal for the Capitals (23-14-6) as they sit one point behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 52 points. Elvis Merzlikins made 18 saves for the 12-25-2 Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals are 13-2-2 in their last 17 games. Backstrom and Wilson were held scoreless in this contest.
The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 to snap the latter’s four-game win streak. John Tavares and Calle Jarnkrok each had a goal and two assists, Auston Matthews scored his 20th goal of the season and Matt Murray made 34 saves for the Leafs (25-9-7), who hold second place in the Atlantic Division with 57 points. Travis Konecny netted his 21st of the season for the 15-18-7 Flyers.
St. Louis Blues goalie Thomas Greiss made 35 saves to shut out the Minnesota Wild 3-0. Brayden Schenn tallied two goals as the Blues improved to 20-18-3 (43 points) to sit two points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Wild (22-14-3) played without winger Jordan Greenway due to a non-COVID illness (flu). They are in third place in the Central Division with 47 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo missed this game to an undisclosed injury suffered on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Pittsburgh Penguins got two goals from Jake Guentzel and two assists from Sidney Crosby en route to a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Penguins (20-13-6) hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 46 points and hold two games in hand over the New York Islanders, who also have 46 points. Barrett Hayton scored for the Coyotes (13-21-6) as they’ve now lost five games in a row.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The win snapped a six-game winless skid (0-4-2) for the Penguins.
Chicago Blackhawks rookie Lukas Reichel scored his first NHL goal and collected two assists (the latter on Max Domi’s game-winner) in a 4-3 overtime upset of the Calgary Flames. Alex Stalock stopped 44 shots for the 10-25-4 Blackhawks. Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom was pulled after giving up three goals on 11 shots as his club’s record dropped to 19-14-8. With 46 points, they hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Saturday, the Flames placed forward Brett Ritchie on injured reserve. He last played on Dec. 29.
The Hurricanes take a 2-0 series lead over the Bruins, the Lightning, Oilers and Wild tie their opening-round series, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes became the first team in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs to open a 2-0 lead in the opening-round best-of-seven series with a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Pyotr Kochetkov made 30 saves in relief of an injured Antti Raanta for the win in his first-ever NHL playoff game. Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter each scored twice for the Hurricanes. Patrice Bergeron scored both goals for the Bruins, who also lost defenseman Hampus Lindholm following a thunderous hit from Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta was sidelined in the first period following a collision with Bruins winger David Pastrnak. His status, and that of Lindholm, remains uncertain as there was no update on their respective conditions following this game.
Dominated by the Hurricanes for lengthy stretches in the first two games, the Bruins have been forced to play catch-up thus far in this series. I expect Jeremy Swayman to replace Linus Ullmark in goal for the Bruins as the series shifts to Boston for the next two games.
The Canes, meanwhile, will be hoping Raanta or sidelined starter Frederik Andersen will be ready for at least backup duty in Game 3. Third-stringer Kochetkov played well in Game 2 but they’re running out of healthy netminders with NHL experience.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and three assists as his club held off the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3, tying their first-round series at a game apiece. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner each had two points for the Leafs while teammate Michael Bunting scored in his return to the lineup after being sidelined by injury on April 23. The series moves to Tampa Bay for the next two games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning rebounded well from their lopsided loss in Game 1. They made the Leafs pay for their undisciplined play in this contest, going three for seven on the power play.
Speaking of bounce-back performances, the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Los Angeles Kings 6-0 to tie their opening-round series 1-1. Mike Smith picked up the shutout with a 30-save effort while Evander Kane scored twice and collected an assist. Games 3 and 4 of this series will be played in Los Angeles.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers blew this one open with three goals in the second period, outshooting the Kings 19-9 in that frame. They remain lethal with the man advantage in this series, going two for four on the power play for the second straight contest.
Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a hat trick and teammate Joel Eriksson Ek tallied twice in a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, tying their series at one apiece. Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 32 shots for the win. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov continues setting franchise records for the Wild. He became the first player in team history to record a postseason hat trick.
St. Louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo left the game after being struck in the head by a puck in the first period. Blues rearguards Marco Scandella and Nick Leddy missed Game 2 with injuries while sidelined Scott Perunovich won’t be ready for Game 3.
NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban and Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty are among this season’s 32 players nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The award is presented annually to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the community.”
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Tom Wilson (lower-body injury) is a game-time decision for Game 2 of his club’s series with the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins announced goaltender Casey DeSmith (undisclosed injury) and winger Rickard Rakell (upper body) are listed as day-to-day. Each remains under evaluation. The Penguins recalled netminder Alex D’Orio from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Penguins starter Tristan Jarry still rehabbing an injured right foot, Louis Domingue will get the call for tonight’s game if DeSmith isn’t cleared to play.
TSN: Don’t expect any change to the current NHL playoff format. League commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday dismissed the notion of expanding the format, claiming the current one creates greater competition and more meaningful games during the regular season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league’s expansion to 32 franchises has some pundits calling for an expansion from the current 16-team setup to 20 or 22 with a “play-in” round. The only way I see Bettman changing his mind is if it can be proven that expanding the format will bring about a significant increase in revenue. Any change to the current format will have to come from a majority of the NHL board of governors.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils parted ways with assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine. No word on the future of head coach Lindy Ruff, who has a year remaining on his contract.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former NHL player Mike Ribeiro has been charged with sexual assault stemming from two incidents last June in East Texas. He was arrested on April 28 and released the same day on a $200,000 bond.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Frans Nielsen intends to retire after he plays for Denmark in the upcoming 2021 World Championships. The 38-year-old center spent 15 seasons with the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings and was bought out of the final year of his contract with the Wings last summer. He spent this season with Eisbaren Berlin, helping them win the German DEL championship.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nielsen was considered a solid two-way center during his playing prime. He finished with 167 goals and 306 points for 473 points in 925 NHL contests. Best wishes to Nielsen in his future endeavors.
Sidney Crosby tallies his 499th career goal, Brad Marchand could face another suspension, Tuukka Rask’s comeback could be over, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby tallied his 499th career NHL goal and Danton Heinen scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Boston Bruins 4-2. Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 43 saves for the win but was also on the receiving end of a punch and a stick to the head from Bruins winger Brad Marchand late in the game. Marchand received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline for attempting to injure Jarry. David Pastrnak scored both Bruins goals.
The Penguins are tied with the New York Rangers with 64 points but the latter holds second place in the Metropolitan Division with 30 wins while the Pens have 28. With 54 points, the Bruins remain four points behind the Washington Capitals, who hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins also lost captain Patrice Bergeron in the third period when he fell awkwardly into the boards following a collision with Crosby. He was assisted off and the Penguins captain received a minor penalty for roughing though the contact was minor and didn’t appear intentional on Crosby’s part. **CORRECTION: Crosby received the roughing penalty a minute later for a different incident.**
Speaking of the Capitals, they suffered their fourth loss in their last six games by falling 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Boone Jenner snapped a 4-4 tie late in the third period while teammate Patrik Laine scored twice and collected an assist. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist after emerging from COVID protocol yesterday.
Alex Pietrangelo scored to collect his 500th career NHL point while Laurent Brossoit kicked out 28 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. William Karlsson and Reilly Smith each had a goal and an assist. Oilers goalie Mike Smith made 24 saves in his first start since Jan. 5. The Golden Knights sit on top of the Pacific Division with 59 points while the Oilers (49 points) remain three points behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
The Winnipeg Jets got a 28-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck in a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Mark Scheifele and Nate Schmidt were the goalscorers as the Jets (49 points) sit seven points behind the Flames. The Wild remain in third place in the Central Division with 59 points. Wild forward Marcus Foligno received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for kneeing Jets forward Andrew Copp in the head during their third-period scrap.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had three assists and winger Conor Garland scored against their former club in a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. With 48 points, the Canucks are four back of the Flames.
Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk scored two goals as his club held on to down the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. The Hurricanes were down 4-0 but made it interesting with three goals in the third period. Anton Forsberg stopped 42 shots as the Senators have gone 5-2-2 in their last nine contests. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points.
The New Jersey Devils snapped a seven-game losing skid by humiliating the lowly Montreal Canadiens 7-1. Michael McLeod scored twice for the Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some pundits are wondering how many more embarrassing lopsided losses the Canadiens front office is willing to endure before they start making changes. Apparently, they’re willing to endure many more over the remainder of this season.
Trades seem unlikely at the moment because they probably prefer waiting until the March 21 deadline when they hope the value of their trade candidates is at their highest. A coaching change would have a more immediate effect but they committed to head coach Dominique Ducharme for the rest of the season and seem reluctant to change their minds.
The Canadiens have been walloped by injuries and illnesses to key players throughout the season. Ducharme hasn’t been placed in the best position as a coach to deal with these unique situations he’s faced since becoming their head coach. Nevertheless, they’re now mired in a toxic atmosphere. Many veterans appear to have tuned out Ducharme knowing he’s a goner at season’s end while their younger players are growing discouraged with the constant losing. That’s not going to help improve the club’s culture going forward.
Bottom line is the Canadiens are a laughingstock and an easy two points for most clubs, including those fading in the playoff race like the Devils. That’s not going to change over the remainder of this season. It might help improve the Canadiens’ chances of winning the draft lottery, but it’s not a healthy mood for a franchise facing what could be years of rebuilding.
THE ATHLETIC: Sources tell Fluto Shinzawa that the Boston Bruins don’t expect Tuukka Rask to continue his comeback. He felt discomfort in his surgically repaired hip following his last game on Jan. 24 and has been on injured reserve. He could finalize his retirement in the next several days.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Rask is calling it a career he’ll be retiring as one of the top goaltenders in Bruins history. He backstopped them to two Stanley Cup Finals (2013 and 2019), won the Vezina in 2014 and was a finalist in 2020, and is their franchise leader in games-played for goalies with 564 and win with 308.
CBS SPORTS: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson (finger) was placed on injured reserve yesterday.
TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning signed forward Patrick Maroon to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1 million.
The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to a two-year, $1.9 million contract extension.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman remains sidelined with headaches and migraines and continues to meet with doctors.
CBS SPORTS: Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich was placed on IR with an upper-body injury.
TSN: The Seattle Kraken claimed forward Austin Czarnik off waivers from the New York Islanders.
ESPN.COM: The Anaheim Ducks named Hall-of-Famer and former captain Scott Niedermayer as a special advisor to their hockey operations department.
NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday named Daniel Briere as special assistant to general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).
Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.
A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.
Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.
The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.
A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.
SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.
SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.
TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.
FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.
NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.
Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.