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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 3:10 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes expect Smith will start in goal Friday

According to the Phoenix Coyotes, starting goaltender Mike Smith will return from a lower-body injury and start Friday night against the Dallas Stars.

"He's going to play tomorrow, barring anything between now and then," Coyotes goaltending coach Sean Burke told NHL.com Thursday. "He'll go out in the morning skate tomorrow and if everything goes well he'll play tomorrow night in Dallas."

Smith, who enjoyed a breakout year last season in Phoenix when he set career highs in games (67), wins (38), minutes (3.902), goals-against average (2.21) and save percentage (.930), missed four games with the injury. He initially suffered a groin injury during pregame warm-ups before the Jan. 23 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was pulled from that game after facing four shots and was officially placed on the injured reserve list Monday.

According to Dave Vest, the Coyotes senior director of news content, Smith participated in the team's optional skate Thursday before declaring himself ready to play.

"It's gotten a lot better over the last few days, so I'm excited to get back in the lineup. I'm ready," Smith said.

In his absence, the Coyotes suffered losses to the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings in which backup Jason LaBarbera stopped 57 of 65 shots for an .877 save percentage. Following those two losses, Phoenix decided to replace LaBarbera as starter with Chad Johnson, who was called up from the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates on Monday. In the two games Johnson started, Phoenix went 1-0-1 with Johnson allowing two goals, including Nail Yakupov's overtime winner on the power play for the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.

"I think we've played a lot better as of late ... so it's an exciting time to get back in," Smith said.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 3:05 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Luongo will start third straight for Canucks on Friday

The Vancouver Canucks will continue to ride the hot hand in goal, and for now that means Roberto Luongo.

The Canucks announced Thursday via their official Twitter account that Luongo will receive his third straight start on Friday when the team hosts the Chicago Blackhawks.

Luongo shut out the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, giving him a 1-0-2 record with a 1.61 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in four appearances (three starts) this season.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 2:24 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Islanders sign Strait to three-year contract

The New York Islanders have signed defenseman Brian Strait to a three-year contract, reportedly worth $775,000 per season.

Strait is scoreless in six games with the team this season since being claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 18.

Prior to joining the Islanders, Strait had appeared in 12 NHL games with the Penguins, collecting one assist and four penalty minutes. The Penguins selected the 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenseman in the third round (No. 65) of the 2006 NHL Draft.

In 220 career American Hockey League games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Boston native has eight goals, 40 points and a plus-46 rating.

Strait played three years of college hockey at Boston University, highlighted by a NCAA National Championship in 2009, his final season with the team. He also spent two seasons with the United States National Development Team in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

On the international stage, Strait played for the U.S. National Team at the 2008 World Junior Championship and the 2006 Under-18 World Championship, winning gold as team captain in 2006.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 12:11 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins claim Boychuk off waivers

The Pittsburgh Penguins have claimed forward Zach Boychuk off waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 23-year-old Boychuk was the 14th pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, but was never able to find a regular place in the Carolina lineup. He played in the Hurricanes' season opener and hadn't seen action again since.

In 73 games over parts of five seasons, Boychuk posted seven goals, 18 points and a minus-4 rating. He was a 20-goal scorer each of the past two seasons for Carolina's American Hockey League affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he expects to give Boychuk a chance to play on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.

"He's a guy who's a first-round pick," Bylsma said. "He's got speed to his game. He's got limited NHL experience, but he's going to add some competition in our lineup. He could see time on Malkin's line on that wing and see him in that position and adding speed and a little bit of grit to that line."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 10:52 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Spezza to undergo surgical procedure on back

Jason Spezza, the Ottawa Senators top center, will undergo a surgical procedure on his back.

The Senators have tweeted the following statement from general manager Bryan Murray: "Jason Spezza is out indefinitely. Will have back surgery in Toronto on Friday."

According to reports, the surgery is not considered to be major. Murray is currently holding an 11 a.m. press conference.

Spezza has missed the past two games with what the team is terming an upper-body injury that occurred sometime during Ottawa's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

Spezza, a four-time 30-goal scorer, has been a point-per-game player this season, with two goals and three assists in five games.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 7:59 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes hope to have Smith back by weekend

The Phoenix Coyotes have spent a week without starting goaltender Mike Smith, who left last Wednesday's game with a lower-body injury, but they're hopeful he'll be back in a couple of days.

Coach Dave Tippett had high hopes for an early return after watching Smith practice on Wednesday.

"I'd be surprised if he's not ready by the weekend," Tippett said.

Smith is eligible to be activated from injured reserve on Friday. Phoenix has a home-and-home series with Dallas on Friday and Saturday nights.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 6:45 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers' Callahan expected to miss 10-14 days

New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan will miss 10 to 14 days after injuring his shoulder in Tuesday night's game against Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden.

Callahan, who scored the winning goal in the 2-1 victory, was injured early in the third period during a scuffle with Philadelphia forward Max Talbot.

After undergoing an MRI on Wednesday, the Rangers said Callahan was diagnosed with a subluxation of his left shoulder. Callahan was dragged down by the arm by Talbot and immediately skated off the ice. His left arm dangled as Callahan went down the tunnel to the locker room.

Callahan's second-period goal gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead and was the 200th point of his NHL career.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 6:45 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kaleta out of hospital, but not ready to play

Buffalo forward Patrick Kaleta was released from the hospital Wednesday after an overnight stay following a hard hit late in the first period of Buffalo's 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Kaleta was sent home and will not travel to Boston for the Sabres' game against the Bruins on Thursday.

Kaleta, who has a history of head and neck problems, was driven into the boards by Toronto's Mike Brown, who was assessed a minor penalty. Kaleta skated off awkwardly with 2:26 left in the period and did not return.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 4:19 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Report: Landeskog to miss second straight game

The Denver Post is reporting that Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog will miss his second straight game when he sits out Wednesday's game at the Vancouver Canucks due to head and leg injuries.

Landeskog was hurt during the first period of a game Jan. 26 against the San Jose Sharks on a hard hit by defenseman Brad Stuart. Landeskog returned to the game, but has not played since.

The newspaper reported that while Landeskog is traveling with the team and was at the arena during the morning skate, it only was to receive medical treatment and he did not get on the ice.

Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said there is no timetable for Landeskog to return.

In four games, the 20-year-old forward has one goal and a plus-3 rating.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 12:53 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils place Janssen on waivers

The New Jersey Devils on Wednesday placed forward Cam Janssen on waivers.

Janssen, 25, had no points and a minus-1 rating in three games this season. He was a healthy scratch Thursday, and has played less than four minutes per game when he has been in the lineup.

A 2002 fourth-round pick, Janssen has played four of his eight NHL seasons with the Devils. He's also played with the St. Louis Blues, and in 311 NHL games, he has 11 points and 750 penalty minutes.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic