Smith out for three weeks after dislocating thumb
Ottawa Senators forward Zack Smith will be out for three weeks after dislocating his thumb on Friday in the Senators' 4-3 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche in the opening game of the NHL Global Series at Ericsson Globe.
Smith did not play the final 3:43.
"Another injury to our top six guys," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "All I know is my therapist came to me in the middle of the game, told me that his thumb was dislocated. He got it back in, he tried to go again, but he couldn't do it."
Nick Paul will take Smith's place in the lineup Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV).
"That's three injuries now, so he's spent very little time," Boucher said. "Top-six forward. It's been tough for us. Guys have battled through. We've got to battle through another game. … At some point we've got to get a little lucky with those injuries."
Smith has six assists in 12 games this season.
-- Amalie Benjamin
Father of Senators associate coach Crawford dies
Floyd Crawford, the father of Ottawa Senators associate coach Marc Crawford, died Friday night. On Saturday, before the Senators played the Colorado Avalanche in the second game of the NHL Global Series (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV), Senators coach Guy Boucher reflected on what Crawford is going through.
"He's part of our own," Boucher said. "And whenever you feel people going through tough times, you feel that as a group. I feel it personally. We spent this year creating terrific bonds. You care about people. It's difficult to see him go through difficult times.
"He was a great hockey man, built some great kids who have gone on to great things in life, and certainly Marc is one of them. The hockey world owes him a lot. And I'm sure Marc is having a tough day, but at the same time he's such a professional. We're all going to have a day and try to honor him today."
Marc Crawford is 549-421-78 with 103 ties as an NHL coach with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Rockies, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars, and guided the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 1996. The Senators hired him as an associate coach on May 9, 2016.
-- Amalie Benjamin
Duchene says hello to former teammates
It was bound to happen at some point: Matt Duchene was going to run into his former Colorado Avalanche teammates, given that both teams in Stockholm for the NHL Global Series are staying at the same hotel. It wasn't exactly something he could avoid.
"Both teams were going for dinner and we were down in the lobby and so were they, so I got a chance to see some of them and actually talk to them for the first time," Duchene said Thursday, the day before the series kicks off with a game on Friday at Ericsson Globe (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, ALT, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV). Game 2 is Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV).
"A ton of guys messaged me after it happened and wished me well," Duchene said. "I appreciate that a lot from them. It was good to see them and kind of get a formal, like, 'Hey, thanks guys.' Tomorrow night it's going to be strange, but I just want to focus on this team in here and treat it like any other opponent."
Duchene, a center who had played his entire career with the Avalanche after being taken No. 3 in the 2009 NHL Draft, said he believed there were no hard feelings with his old team, that anyone who had harsh words to say about the situation was saying it for effect and for the impact it would have on the Avalanche. "They're trying to send a message to their team over there," he said. "There's no hard feelings. It's a business on both sides of it. I've talked to those guys in person and everything is fine."
Still it was something that, as Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said, "has been the elephant in the room for some time now.
"We talked about moving forward, and just winning some hockey games," Landeskog added.
That's the same thing Duchene wants, at this point.
"For me it's about fitting into my new environment and being just one of the guys," he said. "I don't want to stand out in any way. That's an important thing for me right now. It hasn't been a distraction, which I've been happy about."
-- Amalie Benjamin
Girard getting chance to make big first impression with Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard might be in line to play in a top-pair role in his debut with his new team Friday, when the Avalanche play the Ottawa Senators in the first of two games in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series at Ericsson Globe (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN5, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV).
Girard, 19, spent a good portion of practice Thursday skating alongside defenseman Erik Johnson, Colorado's ice-time leader, who plays 26:19 per game, including 19:50 at even strength.
"It's something we're considering," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of a Girard-Johnson pairing.
Bednar was quick to note that he isn't sure if the Avalanche have a defenseman, particularly a lefty, to play every 5-on-5 shift with the right-handed shooting Johnson because of the amount of shifts he plays and the quality of the competition he faces.
"That job has been filled by committee," Bednar said. "I'd like to get a guy [who] we can trust and play there a lot."
It appears Girard will get the opportunity to be that guy.
He averaged 16:54 of ice time per game, including 15:25 at even strength and 1:23 on the power play, in his five games with the Nashville Predators before being traded to the Avalanche on Sunday as part of the blockbuster that saw Kyle Turris land in Nashville and Matt Duchene go to the Senators.
"It's a big job, though, if you look at the opposition E.J. plays against, especially for a young player," Bednar said. "It's something we're looking at."
-- Dan Rosen
Avalanche defenseman Nemeth out Friday; misses homecoming opportunity
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth won't play Friday against the Ottawa Senators in the first of two games in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series at Ericsson Globe (2 p.m. ET; NHL Network, TSN5, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV), a downer to an otherwise unforgettable trip home.
Nemeth is out with an undisclosed injury sustained during the Avalanche's 6-4 loss against the New York Islanders on Sunday. He was not able to practice Thursday, so coach Jared Bednar said he will not play Friday.
His status for the game Saturday between the same two teams (1 p.m. ET; NHL Network, SN, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV) was not been addressed by Bednar.
"You don't want to miss any games, but especially when you're here, you want to play," said Nemeth, who grew up 15 minutes north of Stockholm. "Any game, when you're out due to an injury, it's just tough because you want to be out there to help your teammates."
Nemeth is one of three Swedish Avalanche players who will not play Friday. Defenseman Anton Lindholm and forward Carl Soderberg each remain in Denver for different reasons.
Lindholm is out with a broken jaw and Soderberg is awaiting the birth of his second child.
However, it's likely that the Avalanche will get forwards J.T. Compher and Colin Wilson back for Friday; each practiced Thursday. Each has missed the past six games.
Compher centered the third line between Matt Nieto and Blake Comeau. Wilson centered the fourth line between A.J. Greer and Rocco Grimaldi.
Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost practiced but wore a red no-contact jersey. He is not expected to play.
Defenseman Sam Girard, who was acquired from the Nashville Predators on Sunday, will make his Avalanche debut Friday, Bednar said.
-- Dan Rosen
Alfredsson enjoying life as full-time dad
Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson called being able to be a full-time dad to his four hockey-playing sons a great time in his life and said he isn't actively trying to get back into the NHL with the Senators or any other team.
Alfredsson played for the Senators from 1995-2013 and retired in 2014 after one season with the Detroit Red Wings. He spent the past two seasons as a senior adviser of hockey operations with Ottawa. Alfredsson parted ways with the Senators after last season but said he and general manager Pierre Dorion remain on good terms and still communicate.
"We're all good," said Alfredsson, who is in the process of moving into a new home in Ottawa with his wife, Bibi, and their four sons. "We left on really good terms. With the family situation, I just really enjoy this time we've had now. To be really present at home is something I haven't been able to be for a long time. I'm really thankful I have the opportunity to be able to do that."
Alfredsson wouldn't rule out the possibility of getting back into the NHL in the future, but said he wasn't willing to sacrifice time at home to put in the hours necessary to be successful in a front office role. He said he would ideally like to be an owner.
"Right now, I just want to be totally on my own time and do whatever I want," Alfredsson said. "I really enjoy being able to do the little things I haven't done before, coach the kids in hockey and just take a step back to see what's going to happen in the future. Who knows. I'm not forcing anything and I'm in no rush either. I'm just enjoying the time right now."
-- Dan Rosen
Cannata thrilled to be emergency goalie for Avalanche
Joe Cannata found out he was going to Stockholm to be the Colorado Avalanche's emergency third goalie for the SAP Global Series after a morning skate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. It was like picking up a winning lottery ticket.
"It's pretty cool," an understated Cannata said after practice at Ericsson Globe on Tuesday. "I was with San Antonio and they told me I was going so it was obviously a surprise. It's going to be an experience of a lifetime."
Cannata, 27, who started the season with the Colorado Eagles in the ECHL, was backing up Spencer Martin with San Antonio of the American Hockey League because Ville Husso had been called up to the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 29 to replace backup Carter Hutton, whose wife was expecting a baby.
The Blues and Avalanche have a shared affiliation with San Antonio this season.
However, the NHL allowed the Avalanche and Ottawa Senators to bring an emergency third goalie with them to Stockholm, in case either of their two goalies couldn't dress for a game.
Cannata thought Martin would get the call because he has technically been third on the Avalanche's goaltending depth chart behind Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier. He was shocked to hear from Rampage coach Eric Veilleux that he was going instead.
"I got off the ice for pregame skate that day in Des Moines and coach just called me in and said they were going to send me," Cannata said. "I thought Martin would go, but I'm sure they wanted him to continue playing games. This is awesome."
Cannata left Des Moines and flew back to Denver on Saturday to pick up some winter clothes. He joined the Avalanche's injured players, including forwards Tyson Jost, Colin Wilson and J.T. Compher, on a flight to Newark, New Jersey, on Sunday. He then flew with the team to Stockholm.
Cannata, who has bounced between the AHL and ECHL since turning pro in 2012, said this is his first visit to Sweden. He's excited to get a chance to work with Varlamov and Bernier, and hopes to have a chance to work with goalie coach Jussi Parkkila at some point this week. But he is just as excited to be a tourist.
"I've been to Finland before and I'm sure they're somewhat similar, but Stockholm is definitely beautiful," he said. "I just have to enjoy it really enjoy this. It's pretty cool how big hockey is here and just to experience another culture is great."
-- Dan Rosen
Senators eager to see rookie forward Paul
While there's a lot of anticipation to see Matt Duchene's debut as a member of the Ottawa Senators, there's internal anticipation about another player, as well: Nick Paul. The Senators recalled Paul prior to their trip to Sweden for the NHL Global Series, and general manager Pierre Dorion said he expected to see him play at least one game this week.
"We're anxious to see how Nick Paul will play, to see where his development is at," Dorion said. "He was our best forward in Belleville (Ottawa's American Hockey League affiliate). … We just felt that he really has taken a step forward this year after having a so-so year last year, so we want to see what we have in Nick Paul."
The 22-year-old has five assists in 11 games with Belleville this season. He was selected by the Dallas Stars in the fourth round (No. 101) of the 2013 NHL Draft and acquired by Ottawa on July 1, 2014, in the trade that sent center Jason Spezza to the Stars.
"This call-up was warranted," Dorion said. "If we would have been back in North America we might have made a switch, but at this point we feel that Nick deserves a game at some point in time. It might not be the first one, it might not be the second one. I would hope it would be one of the two, but stranger things have happened."
-- Amalie Benjamin
Senators GM Dorion remembers Halladay
Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion took a moment to recognize someone who meant something to him: former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay, who died on Tuesday when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Halladay was 40.
"First, I think any sports fans, our thoughts and prayers should be with the Roy Halladay family," Dorion said. "Being an Expo fan growing up, transferring to the Jays, I think it's a pretty sad day for all of sports."
Halladay pitched for the Blue Jays for 12 of his 16 years in MLB, winning the Cy Young Award twice.
-- Amalie Benjamin
Avalanche hope Wilson, Compher can play vs. Senators
The Colorado Avalanche hope to have some injured forwards return to their lineup Friday, when they play the Ottawa Senators in the first of two games in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series at Ericsson Globe (2 p.m. ET; NHL Network, ALT, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV).
Colin Wilson (lower body) and J.T. Compher (broken thumb) were full participants in practice Tuesday. Neither Wilson and Compher has played since Oct. 19; each has missed the past six games.
"I think Wilson is probably a guy that will be ready to go," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "It looks like Compher is progressing nicely and could be joining us."
Bednar said Compher is the top candidate to take over for as Colorado's No. 2 center, replacing Matt Duchene, who was traded to the Senators on Sunday.
"That's good to hear, but it's just about first of all getting back from an injury and feeling comfortable and then getting back to try to help the team," Compher said. "I thought I was off to a good start. Injuries happen. It's a part of the game."
Rookie forward Tyson Jost also participated in practice Tuesday, but he was wearing a red no contact sweater and did not take part in drills. Jost has missed the past eight games with a lower-body injury.
"Jost is a big question mark just from his lack of ability to kind of dig in and go through full-pace practices with physicality, the things he needs to do in order to get ready to go after missing a significant amount of time," Bednar said.
Forward Blake Comeau practiced and said he is day-to-day. Comeau left the game against the New York Islanders on Sunday after getting hit in the back of the left ear by a deflected shot. He was wearing a no contact sweater at the start of practice but switched to a regular jersey. Comeau had a big cut and bruise on the back of his ear.
In addition, Bednar is not ruling out the possibility that center Carl Soderberg could return in time to play Friday. Soderberg is in Denver awaiting the birth of his second child.
-- Dan Rosen
Karlsson thrilled to show off Sweden
This might not be Erik Karlsson's hometown (that would be Landsbro, Sweden), but that doesn't mean that Karlsson is any less thrilled to be playing in the NHL Global Series games in Stockholm than Stockholm natives Gabriel Landeskog or Johnny Oduya or Fredrik Claesson.
"Talking to Erik today and he's very, very excited, like I've seen him like that in playoff games where he just feels this is an important moment," Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "I think that it is a very important moment for not just the Swedes, but I think the NHL."
It's a chance for the Swedish players to show off their country, to show their teammates what they've always been so proud of, what they've talked up in the dressing room over and over. Because, as Karlsson pointed out, most players aren't planning vacations to Sweden in the offseason.
But these games between the Senators and Colorado Avalanche at Ericsson Globe on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, ALT, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV) and Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV), give them a chance to see and experience what they otherwise might not, including the food and the culture and the sights.
"Most guys in the League these days have played with one or more Swedish teammates over the course of the years," Karlsson said. "I think that as a nation we produce a lot of quality players around the League and we carry a lot of respect over there.
"So to be able to bring them over here and show them what it's really like to be Swedish, because I know that we talk a lot about it in the dressing room and they ask a lot of questions, just that experience is something that they're going to appreciate a lot. They're going to get a better understanding for how things work and how we operate. To see it firsthand the way that they're going to do it now is something that's going to be extremely special.
"It's not really that exotic destination that you take in the offseason, so for that aspect it's great to show more people around the League how good our country is and what it's all about, and how passionate we are about hockey over here."
-- Amalie Benjamin
Girard takes unconventional route to join Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche rookie defenseman Samuel Girard followed the untraditional Los Angeles to London to Helsinki to Stockholm flight plan to meet his new team.
Girard, acquired Sunday from the Nashville Predators in the blockbuster three-team trade that sent center Matt Duchene from Colorado to the Ottawa Senators and center Kyle Turris from Ottawa to Nashville, was on the ice with the Avalanche for practice Tuesday, roughly nine hours after completing the 14-hour journey that got him to Stockholm at 1:30 a.m. local time.
"I fell asleep at 3:30, so a short night for me but I think it was a good practice," Girard said. "I'll try to get a nap this afternoon."
Girard, 19, found out he was traded to Colorado after waking up from a nap in the Predators' hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday. He immediately became excited for the opportunity because he has a chance of playing in a top-four defense role immediately with the Avalanche.
He was behind Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm and injured Ryan Ellis on Nashville's depth chart. Girard had three points (one goal, two assists) in five games and was a healthy scratch for nine games.
"When you're a key player, you need to prove to the coaching staff that you deserve to be in the top four," Girard said. "That's what I'll try to do for the next couple days. That's what I want. I want to be in the top four."
Girard will get his first chance with the Avalanche on Friday, when they play Duchene and the Senators in the first of two games as part of the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series at Ericsson Globe (2 p.m. ET; NHLH, TSN5, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV).
"We'll have a couple days here to brush him up," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "We'll trickle some information to him today, [Wednesday] and Thursday to get him up to speed so he feels comfortable and ready to play."
-- Dan Rosen
Soderberg returns to Denver
Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg did not travel with the team to Stockholm, instead flying from New York to Denver to be with his wife, Caroline, who is expected to give birth to their second child. She is due Tuesday.
The Avalanche are not ruling Soderberg out for the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series games against the Ottawa Senators at Ericsson Globe on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, ALT, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV) and Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, ALT, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV). He could return later this week if all goes well with Caroline.
Soderberg is from Malmo, Sweden and is one of four Sweden-born players on the Avalanche. Defenseman Anton Lindholm, from Skelleftea, Sweden, won't play because of a broken jaw.
-- Dan Rosen