NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, has plenty to talk about Monday, one day after the New York Rangers' 7-3 win against the New Jersey Devils in the first of two 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games at Yankee Stadium. Winning goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will stop by the studio.
Kevin Weekes has the distinction of having played for the Rangers, Devils and New York Islanders in his career, including serving as the Rangers goaltending tandem with Lundqvist at the beginning of the Swede's career. He'll join Mears and Hradek on the show.
In addition, NHL Network insider Bob McKenzie will provide the latest on trade rumors from around the League.
Remember to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and join the conversation on Twitter as we ask you to pick the game of the night.
The Detroit Red Wings are expected to get a key player back into their lineup Sunday for their game against the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena when forward Johan Franzen is activated after missing the past 16 games with a concussion.
Franzen has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 30 games.
"He can really shoot the puck," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told MLive.com. "Any time you come back from an injury, I don’t know how you’re going to respond. I mean, [Darren] Helmer's an example of that. I don’t know what to expect from the Mule. We’re just going to play him and see how it goes."
Due to sun glare on the ice and in the interest of player safety, the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET, has been delayed. Puck drop is officially set for 1:38 p.m. ET.
There isn't a set timetable for his return, however, and Lightning coach Jon Cooper made sure to clarify Stamkos is not fully cleared for practicing yet.
"He's getting better every day, but there are lots of things that have to go on still," Cooper said. "He hasn't been cleared and he's still a ways away from being cleared. He hasn't done any battling. It's just the process that is slowly going on here. But, in saying that, when you take the minimum-maximum of what the injury was, he's closer to coming in at the minimum time frame than the maximum time frame, so that's good for all of us."
Alfredsson had missed the past six games with a back injury. He has 11 goals and 30 points in 39 games in his first season with the Red Wings. During his career with the Ottawa Senators, he had 31 goals and 105 points in 89 games against the Canadiens.
"It's been really good three days of skating and no issues so I'm ready to go," Alfredsson told MLive.com. "It's always frustrating to be out and now be able to skate like I have and have no issues it feels great actually."
New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein made his debut with the Blueshirts on Thursday night following a trade from the Nashville Predators, and on Friday he'll be part of NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network with Steve Mears and Butch Goring. Klein will discuss the trade, his new team and fans can tweet questions to @NHLNetwork for him to answer.
It's time once again for our College Hockey Report, and this week we'll talk to Boston College freshman and top NHL prospect Thatcher Demko on his season to this point and his thoughts on the upcoming NHL Draft.
A five-game night in the League is highlighted by the New Jersey Devils hosting the Washington Capitals in a Metropolitan Division battle, and Capitals insider Chuck Gormley will join us from the Arena Cam at Prudential Center to talk about the status of Alex Ovechkin and the inconsistency of the Capitals' season.
Stamkos joined his teammates on the ice Thursday at Tampa Bay Times Forum for the morning skate and said his right leg feels as good as it has since he broke it in November.
"I thought [Thursday] was the best it's felt," Stamkos told reporters. "That's a positive. Every day I've gotten on the ice trying to get a little better each time. A lot of it is physical but a lot of it is mental as well, trying different things that you can trust the healing process is taking place. … I have never had an injury like this, but I'd like to think that I'm ahead [of pace in recovery]. I'm feeling good. I know I'm not 100 percent, but it's getting there."
Though the Penguins and Islanders reside at opposite ends of the Metropolitan Division standings -- 23 points separates first-place Pittsburgh from eighth-place New York -- a run of 10 wins in 13 games has pulled the Islanders to within five points of the Columbus Blue Jackets for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.
These teams met in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, with the Islanders taking the Penguins to overtime of Game 6 before they were eliminated on a Brooks Orpik goal. New York won the opener of the 2013-14 season series before Pittsburgh came back to take the next two, including the previous game at the Coliseum on Dec. 3, 3-2 on an overtime goal by Sidney Crosby.
NHL Live with Steve Mears and Ken Daneyko, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will get fans set for a 10-game Thursday night that features the Columbus Blue Jackets hosting the Philadelphia Flyers as they shoot for an eight consecutive win. Jody Shelley, who played for both teams over the course of his career, joins us from the Arena Cam at Nationwide Arena to talk about the game.
Voracek left the Flyers' 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Monday midway through the third period with what the team has called an upper-body injury. It was reported by multiple media outlets that the injury was to Voracek's left hand. He did not take part in the team's morning skate Tuesday, but the game scheduled for that evening was postponed until Wednesday due to a snowstorm and the extra time may have helped Voracek's chances to play.
In 50 games Voracek has 14 goals and 35 points. He hasn't missed a game since March 8-11, 2012.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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