Alexandre Bouldoc - Nick Johnson - Paul Bissonette
Scratched: David Rundblad
Suspended: Raffi Torres
Alexandre Bouldoc - Nick Johnson - Paul Bissonette
Scratched: David Rundblad
Suspended: Raffi Torres
CALGARY, Alberta – With the "Battle Of Alberta" considered among the League's most physical rivalries, Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger has opted to install one of the team’s tougher forwards into the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames.
Darcy Hordichuk will see his first action of the season when the Oilers visit the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome, and the six-foot, one-inch forward is expecting to spice up what should be a spirited affair between the provincial rivals.
"I think that’s why they’re putting me in there, to bring that physicality," Hordichuk said. "It’s going to be a fun game to play and every time we play these guys they’ve been a tough team to play against."
Hordichuk will also be tasked with keeping an eye on some of the Oilers’ young stars. With Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov all in the lineup, it’s Hordichuk’s responsibility to make sure the opposition doesn’t take liberties with Edmonton’s core.
Hudler left training camp and missed the opening three games of the season for Calgary after tending to the passing of his father, Jiri Hudler Sr., in the Czech Republic.
Cervenka missed training camp with issues relating to a blood clot. After seeing a hematology expert at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, the Czech forward has been cleared to play and is ready to be inserted in the lineup against the Oilers for his first career National Hockey League game.
"He’s confident and good for him," Hudler said of his teammate and countryman. "He’s got his big day. We took a picture having breakfast this morning, his first game-day breakfast. It’s nice."
Though he's no stranger to NHL action, the game will hold special significance for Hudler, too. Saturday's match will mark the 29-year-old’s first in a Flames uniform after signing a four-year, $16-million contract in July.
The final sequence of the New Jersey Devils' overtime win over the Washington Capitals Friday night was a microcosm of where forwards Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk stand in the fantasy landscape at this stage in their careers.
Ovechkin, trying to create a scoring chance in transition, lost his footing before losing the puck, causing an odd-man rush in the opposite direction.
While it may only be a single play in a 48-game season, it really represented what has been a contrasting opening week for fantasy owners who spent first-round draft picks on either Kovalchuk or Ovechkin. Kovalchuk, 29, has fully lived up to fantasy expectations (2 G, 2 A, plus-5, 6 PIM, 1 PPP, 13 SOG), but Ovechkin is off to the least productive four-game start of his NHL career (0 G, 1 A, minus-1, 4 PIM, 0 PPP, 13 SOG). Both averaged better than a point per game playing in the Kontinental Hockey League during the work stoppage, but only Kovalchuk has risen to the occasion since returning to NHL action.
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers already have had three players make their NHL debut this season, and they could have a fourth Saturday night.
Forward Quinton Howden, one of the team’s three first-round picks in the 2010 NHL Draft, was recalled Friday from San Antonio of the American Hockey League and took part in the morning skate Saturday.
“Very excited,” Howden said. “This is what you dream of, opportunities like this. I’ve been working hard to get this opportunity and I’m looking forward to it.”
He was so excited, in fact, he didn’t mind dressing on a chair in the middle of the dressing room because all the seats were filled. Howden, who had nine goals and 10 assists in 41 games with San Antonio, is among the large group of blue-chip prospects in the Panthers organization.
“It’s exciting,” Howden said. “You can see that things are starting from the bottom and building up, but all those draft picks with [Shore] and [Huberdeau] and me and [Erik Gudbranson] and all that, there’s a lot of guys that are making their debuts and are going to make a name for themselves.”
A 6-foot-2, 189-pound left wing who can also play center, Howden was the 25th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.
Asked what he was looking to get out of Howden, Panthers coach Kevin Dineen didn’t hesitate.
“Speed,” he said. “That’s his No. 1 asset is his speed. If he can come out and establish that, that’s a part of his game, that’s a good step.
“I think he’s had a solid first rookie season that he’s gone out there and he’s found the adjustment to the schedule and how it is to play against big men. He’s still a work in progress but he’s headed in the right direction and deserves his shot if he can get in there tonight.”
After completing the morning skate in preparation for Saturday night's contest against the Florida Panthers, the first game of Knuble's second stint with the Flyers, the 40-year-old recent signee wasn’t about to complain.
While he enjoyed his one-game stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, Knuble is happy to be back in the NHL after signing Friday with the Flyers.
"It was good. It was in my hometown. It was important. [I'm] pretty shocked that it wasn’t a little bit longer," Knuble said of his stint with the Griffins. "I thought I had two, three weeks before anything would pop up, but it was fun. Good experience. It’s funny to say, but I wish it would have been a couple more games there. It would have been fun."
Knuble was signed after the Flyers lost wing Scott Hartnell for 4-8 weeks with a foot injury. Knuble isn’t likely to replace Hartnell’s scoring, but he’s the kind of veteran who should fit in comfortably.
Nicklas Grossman - Braydon Coburn
Notes: Veteran defenseman Kurtis Foster returns to the lineup after sitting out the last two games. Foster said an undisclosed injury kept him out against New Jersey on Tuesday, but he could have played Thursday night against the Rangers. The Flyers also will have forward Brayden Schenn back in the lineup after he served his one-game suspension for his hit on New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov. “You may not agree with it, but you respect their decision,” Schenn said. “It’s no fun missing a game, but I’m glad I’m back after sitting out one game.”
Notes: The Florida Panthers’ lineup was up in the air after the morning skate because of the uncertain status of both Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg. “We were a hard scout today,” Dineen said. “You look at the morning skate and you look at the bodies in the lineup and the possibilities. We’re not sure what we’re putting on the ice tonight just based on guys are that close to coming back.”
Reimer took part in the team’s morning skate that day, but was scratched with what was believed to be whiplash issues before later being diagnosed with a concussion near the end of the season. The Maple Leafs recalled Ben Scrivens to back up Jonas Gustavsson for that contest and Reimer didn’t see the ice again until early December.
More than a year later, Reimer will likely get a chance to make his Madison Square Garden debut against the Rangers on Saturday night. Reimer was the first goaltender off the ice at practice while Scrivens stayed longer for extra work.
Reimer was expected to be the No. 1 goaltender in Toronto this season, but rumors swirled that the Leafs would acquire Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks. That trade wasn't consummated by the start of this season and Scrivens was given the Leafs’ first two starts. Four games into the 2012-13 campaign, he has made three starts compared to just one for Reimer.
SUNRISE, Fla. — Forward Danny Briere is inching closer to making his season debut for the Philadelphia Flyers, but he didn’t sound optimistic following the morning skate that it would happen Saturday night against the Florida Panthers.
Briere, who sustained a wrist injury during the lockout while playing for Berlin Polar Bears of the Deutsche Eishockey League in Germany, took part in the morning skate after being cleared for contact on Thursday.
“I’m going to come back, try to warm up, it didn’t feel great this morning,” Briere said. "There’s ups and downs. Maybe [it will be] a little better tonight, we’ll see what happens. But probably more no than yes at this point."
Briere wasn’t sure whether he would even take part in pregame warmups.
"It’s where it’s at, how much strength, how much pain, at this point," he said. "Sometimes during the day it loosens up and it might be a little better."
NOTES: St. Louis has posted shutouts in two of its first four games, including a 4-0 blanking of Nashville at Scottrade Center on Thursday. Wade Redden made his Blues debut against the Predators, seeing 17:23 of ice time in his first NHL action since 2010. Heading into the contest Saturday, St. Louis has the NHL’s second-ranked power play, converting at a rate of 53.8 percent (7 of 13) and is tied for second in the League with seven power-play goals. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was behind the Dallas bench between 1996 and 2002, leading the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup. RW Jamie Langenbrunner has spent two stints in Dallas, the first from 1994 through 2002 and the latter coming in 2011 when he skated in 39 games after coming over prior to the trade deadline.
NOTES: This concludes a short, two-game homestand for Dallas, who lost 3-2 to Chicago in overtime on Thursday night. Through their first four games, the Stars have been on the power play six fewer times than their opposition. Dallas put the Blackhawks on the PP seven times in the OT loss with Chicago converting on three of those opportunities. Rookie goaltender Christopher Nilstorp gets his second NHL start against the Blues. Nilstorp was also between the pipes for Dallas in a 1-0 loss Sunday at Minnesota and stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced from the Wild.
I mean, hockey had to change the rules because of Marty, and that's impressive. I got two Stanley Cup rings because of the guy. Look at the banners of [Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko] and Marty is right up there when you think about the New Jersey Devils; he was part of the core group and he'll go down as one of the greatest goalies ever.