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Preseason Buzz: Ekman-Larsson day to day with left knee injury

Coyotes defenseman injured in preseason game against Sharks on Saturday @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2017 preseason!

This is a busy time, with preseason games underway, rookies looking to make a name for themselves and veterans aiming to lock down roster spots. Each day, we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here is the preseason news for Sunday:


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Ekman-Larsson day to day with knee injury

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is listed as day to day after an examination of his injured left knee Sunday showed no structural damage.

Ekman-Larsson was injured when he got tangled with San Jose Sharks forward Mikkel Boedker, a former Coyote and one of Ekman-Larsson's closest friends, in a preseason game Saturday at Gila River Arena. Ekman-Larsson fell awkwardly to the ice along the boards, struggled to get up and had to be helped off the ice.

"It is good news," general manager John Chayka said after the examination. "It's a big relief."

The Coyotes are already without defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who is out indefinitely after offseason knee surgery. Chayka said at a town hall meeting on Saturday that Chychrun is still a few weeks away from skating, at which point the Coyotes would have a better idea of a timeline for his return.

Ekman-Larsson played despite a broken thumb for about six weeks last season, and he privately endured the failing health of his mother, Annika, who died of cancer two weeks before Ekman-Larsson took a leave of absence to be with his family for the final three games of the regular season.

The 26-year-old had 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 79 games with the Coyotes last season. He led them with an average of 24:36 of ice time per game.

"Obviously, we dodged a bullet on this one," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "He's a big part of our team, so it's nice to have him and know he's not going to be out long.

"There's no point in rushing him back, but if he can play he's going to play. If he's not 100 percent, we probably wouldn't play him."

--Craig Morgan

Fabbri reinjures left knee, could miss opening night for Blues

St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri could miss the start of the regular season after reinjuring his left knee. He'll miss the remainder of training camp, and the Blues said Sunday he'll be re-evaluated in 10 days.

The Blues open the regular season against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Oct. 4.

Fabbri, 21, tore his ACL in a game against the Penguins on Feb. 4 and missed the rest of the 2016-17 season. He had 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 51 games.

The Blues selected Fabbri in the first round (No. 21 pick) of the 2014 NHL Draft. He has 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) in 123 career NHL games during two seasons with the Blues.


Howard likes boards in Red Wings' new home

Goaltender Jimmy Howard was all smiles after the Detroit Red Wings opened Little Caesars Arena with a 5-1 win against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, and not just because he stopped 19 of 20 shots in the win.

The boards at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings' for 37 years, often left goalies with no idea where the puck was going. Howard said the boards at Little Caesars Arena made it much easier for him to play the puck.

"I think we always seemed to get a couple goals throughout the year where it was a crazy bounce off the boards [at Joe Louis Arena], and it would deflect off the goalie or deflect right out in front for an open net," Howard said. "It's definitely more controlled [at Little Caesars Arena]. These boards are just like any other boards around the league with the league mandate. When it comes to playing the puck, there's really no more surprises."

Detroit's regular-season opener in its new home will take place Oct. 5 against the Minnesota Wild.

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