NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2022

Check out the latest on Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson, Jakob Chychrun and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill

RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there were rumors that Patrick Kane would prefer to play out this season with the Chicago Blackhawks and decide his future in next summer’s free-agent market. However, sources told him that’s not the case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman noted, we can expect more clarity on what Kane and fellow UFA Jonathan Toews want in the New Year. It’s believed Blackhawks management will meet with both players at some point this month to discuss their futures.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Friedman believes the Florida Panthers have an interest in San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. However, he’s not sure how they’ll pull it off.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson carries a no-movement clause. Assuming he’d agree to be traded to the Panthers, they can’t afford his $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 without shedding salary and having the Sharks retain a healthy chunk of it.

The cost in terms of return would also be high, including at least one first-round pick. That’s something the Panthers don’t have, having traded away their first-rounders for 2023, 2024 and 2025.

The Philadelphia Flyers are at the 50-contract limit and thus cannot promote Artem Anisimov from their AHL affiliate. Friedman wonders if they might make a move to address that issue.

LATEST ON CHYCHRUN

SPORTSNET: Adam Vingan took note of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s recent return to action following off-season wrist surgery. The 24-year-old blueliner’s youth, size and affordable $4.6 million salary-cap hit combined with his puck-moving abilities continue to make him enticing for teams seeking a rearguard with his skills.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres have been linked to Chychrun. So have the Ottawa Senators. Vingan also pointed out that the injury-ravaged Toronto Maple Leafs need some help on defense.

Vingan also cited Chychrun’s injury history and is prone to turnovers. Nevertheless, he considers him to be a “well-rounded defenseman” who can lead a breakout, control a power play and hold his own against tough competition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those interested clubs will want to see Chychrun play some games this season before bidding for his services. The asking price is heavy on futures (draft picks, especially first-rounders, plus prospects and/or a good young NHL player) which is why teams will be cautious given his injury history.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Kings seek a left-hand shot on their blueline. While linked to Chychrun and carrying the type of assets the Coyotes would want, he believes there’s no guarantee it happens. Friedman also thinks Chychrun has let management know that he prefers getting moved to a contender.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could push to move Chychrun this season. The blueliner’s 10-team no-trade clause kicks in next July, giving him more control over where he could be dealt.

SENATORS FACE DEADLINE TO SIGN FORMENTON

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have until 5 pm ET on Dec. 1 to sign Alex Formenton. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent. If he’s unsigned by that deadline, he’ll be ineligible to play in the NHL this season. Garrioch doesn’t anticipate a rival club tending Formenton an offer sheet.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wonders if the Senators will attempt to trade Formenton to a club willing to sign him before that deadline. There’s speculation the winger could face discipline for his potential involvement in the Team Canada 2018 World Junior team’s sexual assault case. He’s among the few players who have not responded to the allegations directly or indirectly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The results from the investigation are expected soon but probably not in time for the deadline. It could be that the Senators or clubs potentially interested in Formenton are leery of signing or acquiring him because of this situation. We’ll find out soon enough. 

CAN THE PENGUINS FIND A TRADE PARTNER FOR KAPANEN?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins can find a trade partner for Kasperi Kapanen by swapping him with another player with a comparably bad contract. The 26-year-old winger is in the first season of a two-year deal with a $3.2 million average annual value.

Kingerski suggested the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary Flames Milan Lucic and San Jose Sharks Kevin Labanc as trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s any market for Kapanen after being a healthy scratch through most of November. Pujujarvi was the subject of trade rumors for months but nothing’s come of it. Lucic is aging and slowing down but he remains a popular dressing-room leader for the Flames.

Labanc is the more productive of that group with 13 points in 25 games. If the Sharks were to shop him I don’t see them wanting Kapanen in return.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2022

Could the Flames re-sign Milan Lucic? Will the Oilers trade a forward to make room for Dylan Holloway? What coaches are available if some teams consider making changes behind the bench? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WILL THE FLAMES SIGN LUCIC TO A NEW CONTRACT?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently mused over whether the Flames will re-sign Milan Lucic. The 34-year-old power forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s been one of their steadiest players this season and is skating on the second line with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli.

Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic (NHL Images).

In addition to Lucic’s improved play, he’s also become a leader in the dressing room. Macfarlane believes there’s little doubt he wants to stay in Calgary and would cost a lot less than the $6 million average annual value he’s earning split between the Flames and the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have limited cap space ($1.7 million) for 2023-24. Fortunately, all their core players are under contract and Lucic is their most noteworthy pending free agent.

They might have to create some additional cap room even if Lucic’s next contract is a short-term one at a far more affordable rate than his current one. Still, I think the two sides can work something out if he wants to stay and management feels he can still contribute.

WILL THE OILERS MOVE A FORWARD TO MAKE ROOM FOR HOLLOWAY?

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell examined the Edmonton Oilers’ options to get promising winger Dylan Holloway more playing time this season. The easiest choice would be to send him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield and then recall the 21-year-old if he does well there after a few games.

Another would be finding a way to create room on the roster for Holloway to skate among the top-six forwards. That could come down to making a decision on moving Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele.

Mitchell believes Yamamoto will stay put, in part because he’s signed through next season. Puljujarvi has frequently surfaced in media trade rumors but Mitchell believes the big winger helps the team even when he’s not scoring.

That leaves Foegele as potentially vulnerable. He‘s a left-shot winger filling the position Holloway is best suited to play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele hasn’t popped up as much as Puljujarvi in the rumor mill but he has been mentioned before as a trade candidate. However, general manager Ken Holland has found ways to balance his roster thus far without resorting to a trade. I think Holloway’s destined spend some time in Bakersfield.

AVAILABLE NHL COACHES

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin looked at the notable former NHL coaches currently available for any team that might be considering a shakeup behind the bench this season.

Topping the list, of course, is Barry Trotz followed by Rick Tocchet. Other familiar names include Alain Vigneault, Dave Tippett, Andrew Brunette, Travis Green and Jeff Blashill.

Larkin also listed “up-and-comers” such as Ryan Warsofsky, Jay Leach and Ian Laperriere. He also noted former NHL coaches Mike Babcock and Joel Quenneville are available but suggests both carry too much baggage to return to the league’s coaching ranks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2022

Recapping games from a busy Thursday night includes the Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin setting a league record, 2022 first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first goal, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin became the first defenseman in league history to score in each of his first four games of the season as his club doused the Calgary Flames 6-3. Alex Tuch tallied a hat trick while Eric Comrie kicked out 40 shots for the win. Flames winger Milan Lucic skated in his 1,100th career NHL game.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dahlin is off to a terrific start and leads all NHL blueliners in scoring. The Sabres’ speed made the difference in this one as they overcame an early 1-0 deficit with three first-period goals. They’re still giving up a lot of shots but their goaltending has been solid thus far.

Montreal Canadiens rookie (and 2022 first-overall draft pick) Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first NHL goal in a 6-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored a Pavel Datsyuk-like goal on a penalty shot while Jake Allen made 25 saves. Travis Boyd had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rout was on for the Canadiens as they grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first period. Rookie defenseman Arber Xhekaj endeared himself to the hometown crowd with a decisive win in a fight with Coyotes winger Zack Kassian.

Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and three assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4. Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell made 36 stops. Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov tallied a hat trick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers rookie Dylan Holloway missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a head injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Nick Robertson scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, to drop the Dallas Stars 3-2. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves for the Leafs while Stars goalie Scott Wedgewood stopped 40 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson’s winner was the result of a smart defensive play on his part when he broke up a two-on-one by stripping the puck from Stars captain Jamie Benn and sending the play the other way. He finished it with a one-timer off a pass from Auston Matthews.

The Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Los Angeles Kings 6-1. Jeff Petry had a goal and Tristan Jarry kicked out 39 shots. It was a costly win for the Penguins as Jake Guentzel suffered an undisclosed injury late in the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have scored six goals in three of their first four games this season.

Kirill Kaprizov’s overtime goal gave the Minnesota Wild their first win of the season as they dropped the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Kaprizov finished with three points while Mats Zuccarello scored twice and added an assist. Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski played in his 1,000th career NHL contest while teammate Jordan Greenway left with a suspected shoulder injury. Greenway was making his season debut after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks remain winless (0-3-2) to start the season. It was also the fifth straight game in which they blew a lead.

Ottawa Senators winger Drake Batherson tallied twice and Brady Tkachuk collected two assists as their club overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-2. Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves in a losing cause for the Capitals while Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless. The Senators unveiled a banner to their late owner Eugene Melnyk in a pregame ceremony to honor his memory.

The San Jose Sharks picked up their first win of the season by nipping the New York Rangers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Erik Karlsson, who also collected an assist in this contest. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored to extend his points streak to five games. He also leads the league with 11 points.

Four unanswered third-period goals carried the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Nashville Predators 5-3. Johnny Gaudreau started and ended the rally with two goals.

New Jersey Devils winger Ondrej Palat tallied twice while teammate Nico Hischier had a three-point performance to beat the New York Islanders 4-1. Jesper Bratt collected two assists for the Devils. Anders Lee scored for the Islanders while teammate Ilya Sorokin made 39 saves.

Jack Eichel scored two goals, Alex Pietrangelo collected two assists and Adin Hill stopped 26 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Eichel has five points in as many games.

A shootout goal by Taylor Hall lifted the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Hall also opened the scoring during the second period while Frank Vatrano replied for the Ducks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

CBS SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews is being evaluated for an injury suffered during their 4-3 overtime loss on Wednesday to the Jets.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche also claimed winger Dryden Hunt off waivers from the Rangers.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Limited salary-cap space is preventing the Panthers from signing Eric Staal. The veteran forward attended training camp on a professional tryout offer and is still skating with them during practice as a non-roster player.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed backup goaltender Dan Vladar to a two-year contract extension with an average annual value of $2.2 million.

NHL.COM: The 32 NHL teams yesterday unveiled their “Reverse Retro” jerseys for this season.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 14, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 14, 2022

Could the Flames attempt to trade Milan Lucic? Would there be room on the Bruins for his return? What’s the latest on P.K. Subban, Phil Kessel and Josh Bailey? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

COULD THE FLAMES MAKE ANOTHER BIG MOVE?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently observed Flames winger Milan Lucic was trending on social media last week after the Boston Bruins signed Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. He believes the Flames have no urgent need to move the 34-year-old power forward unless they’re planning on making another big trade.

Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic (NHL Images).

The Flames made headlines last month with a blockbuster trade by shipping Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. Macfarlane wondered if they might make another impact trade or free-agent signing.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy half-jokingly made the suggestion that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney should attempt to bring back Lucic after signing Bergeron and Krejci. He pointed to Lucic’s close friendship with those two as well as Bruins wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

Murphy wondered if Sweeney would be interested in acquiring Lucic if the Flames agreed to retain part of his $6 million cap hit. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins want a reunion with Lucic (and there’s no indication Sweeney is considering that) they’ll have to wait for next summer. Macfarlane pointed out he remains a key part of the Flames’ leadership core for the coming season as they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Flames GM Brad Treliving could surprise us with another big off-season move. However, I think he’s already made his big splash for this summer.

SUBBAN AND KESSEL TO THE OILERS?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples reports oddsmakers have the Oilers as the potential destination for free agents P.K. Subban and Phil Kessel.

Staples also noted Oilers Now insider Bob Stauffer said the club could be a choice destination for some aging free agent players. Kessel has been frequently linked to the Oilers this summer in the rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m no oddsmaker but I’d say Kessel has a better chance of joining the Oilers than Subban. They could use more offensive depth on right wing and he put up a respectable 52 points last season on the offensively anemic Arizona Coyotes. However, we don’t know if the Oilers are interested in him.

LATEST ON JOSH BAILEY

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz poured cold water on speculation suggesting the New York Islanders could move Josh Bailey to clear cap room to sign Nazem Kadri. He believes if that deal was going to happen it would’ve by now, pointing out most rosters around the league are now set. There are few teams that can afford the 32-year-old winger’s $5 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.

Kurz acknowledged the Isles could retain $1.5 million to $2 million of Bailey’s salary-cap hit to facilitate a trade. However, it wouldn’t make much sense for them to do that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bailey was in the final season of his contract it might make more sense to retain part of his cap hit. Doing so for two years, however, leaves dead cap space carrying over into 2023-23. Retaining part of his salary could still hamper efforts to sign Kadri, depending on how much they spend to re-sign restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows.

Bailey lacks no-trade protection so he could be shopped to rebuilding teams with cap room such as the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks. However, the Isles will be expected to include a decent draft pick or prospect in the deal. There is also the question of whether those clubs want or need a veteran winger at this stage in their rebuilding process.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2022

The Lightning swept the Panthers, the Avalanche take a commanding lead in their series with the Blues, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning rode a 49-save shutout by Andrei Vasilevskiy to blank the Florida Panthers 2-0 in Game 4 to sweep their second-round series. Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat scored in the third period for the Lightning, who had two second-period goals overturned on challenges by Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette. The Lightning will face the winner of the Carolina Hurricanes – New York Rangers series in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a well-deserved sweep by Tampa Bay as they did a magnificent job squeezing the life out of Florida’s league-leading offense, holding them to just three goals in four games. Vasilevskiy was outstanding in this series while the Lightning’s defensive game (especially their shot-blocking) neutralized the Panthers’ scorers.

For the Panthers, this was a disappointing finish to a regular season that saw them take home the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history. They also won their first playoff series in 26 years by eliminating the Washington Capitals in the opening round. Those are accomplishments to build on going forward. They must improve their defensive game and bring some more grit into their lineup.

This game may have been the last for Joe Thornton as an NHL player. The 42-year-old Panthers center appeared in just 34 games during this season and made his 2022 postseason debut in Game 4.

Prior to Game 4, Brunette disputed an uncorroborated report claiming several of his players were out partying in a Tampa Bay strip club following their Game 3 loss on Sunday. “Check your sources. That was not the case last night,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Lightning winger Brandon Hagel was fined $3,750.00 for boarding Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen in Game 3.

A hat trick by Nazem Kadri powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their second-round series. David Perron tallied twice for the Blues. With a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Avalanche can close things out on Wednesday in Game 5 back in Colorado.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Overshadowing this contest were reports that the St. Louis police were investigating racist threats aimed at Kadri stemming from his collision with Jordan Binnington in Game 3 that sidelined the Blues goaltender for the remainder of the series. Kadri indicated he’s been dealing with such vitriol throughout his career and used it as motivation for this game. “For those that hate, that was for them,” he said.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said he’d like the Blues to help defuse the public anger toward Kadri, calling the collision with Binnington accidental.

Kadri wasn’t happy with Blues coach Craig Berube for his remarks following Game 3 suggesting the Avalanche center deliberately intended to injure Binnington. “I guess he’s never heard of bulletin board material,” said Kadri. Berube also drew criticism from fans and pundits on social media for declining to comment about the racist threats aimed at Kadri prior to Game 4.

HEADLINES

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen spent 20 minutes practicing with his teammates yesterday. He’s been sidelined since April 16 with a lower-body injury. Thanks to the play of backup Antti Raanta, the Hurricanes can afford to allow Andersen as much time as necessary to make a full recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to whether Andersen will return to action in this series.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Ryan Reaves intends to “go run some people and get in their faces” in Game 4 after Hurricanes forward Max Domi whacked Blueshirts defenseman Ryan Lindgren late in Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers coach Gerard Gallant indirectly referenced Reaves following Game 3 when he said his club had a guy who could handle the Hurricanes if that’s how they wanted to play. We’ll find out tonight what impact Reaves might have in Game 4.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Milan Lucic said he wasn’t trying to run Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith when the two collided in Game 3 of their series. Lucic received a major and a match penalty for charging but said he was trying to stop when the incident occurred. He added if he actually was charging Smith, “we both wouldn’t be playing tomorrow.” Game 4 is tonight in Edmonton with the Oilers leading the Flames two games to one.

TSN: Speaking of the Flames, they’re moving their AHL affiliate from Stockton to Calgary starting next season.

PHNX SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports the Tempe City Council will discuss the Arizona Coyotes proposed arena deal on June 2.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets winger Kristian Vesalainen has signed a one-year contract with Swedish club Malmo.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

Brady Tkachuk reaches a milestone, Ben Bishop’s career is over, more details emerge regarding Olympic quarantine rules, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Brady Tkachuk tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Anton Forsberg made 25 saves for his first career NHL shutout as the Ottawa Senators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Drake Batherson had three assists and Thomas Chabot collected two helpers.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Sebastian Aho scored two goals and collected an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes over the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. Aho has netted multiple points in five straight games. The Hurricanes have won four straight while the Oilers’ losing skid has reached five straight. The Oilers played without defenseman Kris Russell (upper body), who was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

The New York Islanders finally picked up their first home win at UBS Arena by doubling up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Zach Parise scored his first of the season while Mathew Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had two points. Devils center Nico Hischier and defenseman Ryan Graves missed the game after being placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark kicked out 40 shots in a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had two points. The Flames also honored winger Milan Lucic for his 1,000th career NHL game. He reached that milestone in April but the Flames wanted to honor him during a game against the Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

A late goal by David Kampf gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, who had overcome a 4-1 deficit. William Nylander had a goal and two assists while Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek made 31 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a groin injury in October.

James van Riemsdyk scored two goals as the Philadelphia Flyers dropped the Arizona Coyotes 5-3, winning two straight games for the first time since October. Travis Konecny picked up two assists. Arizona defenseman Jakub Chychrun and forward Ryan Dzingel missed this game as both are day-to-day with injuries. The Coyotes have lost five straight.

T.J. Oshie’s shootout goal lifted the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, extending the latter’s losing skid to seven games. Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary returned from injury and scored the tying goal to force overtime and the shootout.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 33-save shutout from Casey DeSmith to blank the Anaheim Ducks 1-0. Brock McGinn tallied the only goal. Ducks goalie John Gibson left the game following the second period with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

An overtime goal by Jake Bean gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken, who scored three unanswered third-period goals to force the extra frame. Max Domi had two goals and an assist for the Jackets. The Kraken were without Yanni Gourde and Riley Sheahan after they and assistant coach Jay Leach were placed in COVID protocol.

The Minnesota Wild’s eight-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. Brendan Lemieux snapped a 1-1 tie during the third period in his first game since serving a five-game suspension for biting the Senators’ Brady Tkachuk. Kings defenseman Alexander Edler left the game early in the first period with an injured left leg following a hit by Wild forward Brandon Duhaime. Kings coach Todd McLellan said Edler could be out “long term”.

Erik Karlsson scored what proved to be the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks held off the Dallas Stars 2-1. Sharks center Tomas Hertl scored in his fourth straight game while James Reimer made 34 saves for the win in his 400th career NHL contest. San Jose forward Kevin Labanc left the game following his first shift after being hit by the Stars’ Jani Hakanpaa.

The St. Louis Blues got a goal and an assist from Pavel Buchnevich to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1, spoiling netminder Jake Allen’s return to St. Louis for the first time since he was traded to Montreal in 2020. Former Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren picked up the win with 22 stops. Before the game, the Canadiens announced Tyler Toffoli would be sidelined eight weeks following surgery on an injured hand while Jake Evans is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

HEADLINES

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars general manager Jim Nill said Ben Bishop’s playing days are over after the 35-year-old goaltender spent over 14 times attempting to rehabiliate a degenerative knee injury. The news comes after Bishop allowed eight goals on 34 shots during a game on Thursday while with the club’s AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint. He was recalled by the Stars yesterday and placed on long-term injury reserve. He will speak with the media on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a sad ending for a terrific, albeit injury-hampered career. The 6’7”, 210-pound Bishop was among the league’s elite goaltenders when healthy, winning 222 of 397 starts with a career goals-against average of 2.32, a .921 save percentage and 33 shutouts. “Big Ben” was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2014 and 2016 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2019 with the Stars. He was also a Second Team All-Star in 2016 and 2019.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are still awaiting word on the condition of captain Blake Wheeler after he left Friday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks with a possible knee injury. Jets coach Paul Maurice suspects Wheeler could be sidelined for a while.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Canucks, they placed defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower body) on injured reserve on Friday.

TSN: Chris Johnston reported the International Olympic Committee confirmed any confirmed positive COVID-19 test at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics must produce two subsequent negative tests 24 hours apart. Otherwise, the quarantine period could last from three to five weeks according to Chinese law.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be troublesome for NHL players participating in the Games if they should contract COVID while in China. Johnston indicated there will be a call between the IOC, the International Ice Hockey Federation, NHL and the NHL Players Association medical personnel soon to review these matters.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players to decide before the Jan. 10 opt-out deadline if they’ll still participate. The possibility of spending up to five weeks in China under quarantine could give participants a reason to reconsider taking part in the Games.