MONTREAL - Marian Gaborik, the Columbus Blue Jackets' leading scorer, will miss his team's game against the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night due to an illness, the team announced just over two hours before puck drop.
Gaborik's spot in the lineup will be taken by Sean Collins, who will make his season debut.
Gaborik has two goals and four assists in five games this season playing on the Blue Jackets' top line with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson. Rookie Boone Jenner is expected to take Gaborik's spot on that line.
Collins played five games with the Blue Jackets last season. He is still looking for his first NHL point.
DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche can tie a franchise record for consecutive wins to begin a season (seven) with a victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at Pepsi Center. The Quebec Nordiques began the 1985-86 season with a 7-0-0 record.
But Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said Thursday morning he wants his players to remain "humble" and to focus more on what they need to do against the Red Wings rather than be concerned about the record.
"I'm saying to the players every day, let's stay humble," he said. "We want them to be humble, we want them to take it one day at a time. When we met Ray Bourque in Boston (last week before the Avalanche's 2-0 win against the Bruins), Ray said, why not us? Those have been the words we've been using, why not another win tonight? We certainly want to focus on things we control, and what we control is how we're going to prepare ourselves tonight."
Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter admits he has a healthy respect for Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz. Both men are among the longest-tenured and most-respected bench bosses in the NHL, having each coached in over 1,000 games. A picture of consistency since being named Nashville's first head coach in 1998, Trotz has proven himself a formidable foe, even for a Stanley Cup-winning coach like Sutter.
That chess match between these two should be on full display as the Kings visit Nashville Thursday night.
"I don't like coaching against him. He's a good coach," Sutter said Thursday. "Part of the challenge in this League is there are probably about seven, eight really experienced guys that are pretty successful guys, and he's one of them."
E.J. Hradek Game Picks Thursday October 17th:
E.J.'s Season Record: 43-21-1
CHICAGO -- After taking a hit from behind and getting a scare Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues left wing Brenden Morrow is well enough to play Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Morrow, 34, took a shot from the Sharks' Brent Burns that sent him crashing into the boards and he left for a stretch in the first period but returned to finish the game. Morrow sat out practice Wednesday in St. Louis but was on the ice Thursday morning and gave the thumbs-up after testing his neck area.
"Yeah, I was just out, moved around a little bit and made sure everything was working properly and where it should be," Morrow said. "I've had some neck problems and I've put in a lot of time [rehabilitating]. I'm trying to keep it healthy and it freaked me out a little bit and got a burner going. It's just letting it settle down. That nerve gets a little irritated at times and it was just about letting it settle down and I think it's run its course."
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It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.