Quick Hits: Nichol practices, Don Waddel speaks

  • Atlanta Thashers GM
    Don Waddel on distinguishing between legal and illegal hits:

    Waddell: First, body checking is such a big part of the NHL and
    it’ll continue to be. We need it to be a big part of the game but there
    are a few incidents, every so often, that we don’t like. We have to be
    careful with bringing in rules that prevent players from doing their
    job of banging bodies. Over the next few days here we’ll talk more
    about it and maybe come up with some kind of resolution.

  • Scott
    Nichol is practicing
    — sort of — with the Sharks as he tries to
    return from the shoulder injury he suffered from Maxim Lapierre’s hit
    last week.

    “It’s about the strength coming back and the pain going
    away. It hasn’t been a week yet and it’s much better than I would have

  • Ryan Jones is out four weeks and now we learn that Denis Grebeshkov
    is out for 1-2 weeks himself. The players that Oilers and Predators
    “swapped” have not had that good of luck with their new teams.

    The Preds have lost defen­se­man Denis Gre­besh­kov for one
    to two weeks with a lower-body injury. He appa­rently suf­fe­red the
    injury fairly early in Sunday’s loss to Van­cou­ver, but pla­yed
    through it for a while.

  • Jonas Hiller on putting the puck in the net himself, when he stood
    up and the puck fell over the goal line. The play was never blown dead,
    and the puck was sitting on Hiller’s pads.

    “I thought the puck was slipping,” said Hiller, who made 40 saves in
    regulation and overtime. “He was shooting five-hole and I couldn’t find
    the puck. I thought it was still slipping through so I tried to put my
    skate back so it won’t go in.

    “As I saw on the video afterward, it was on my pad and I put it in
    myself I guess. I don’t even know exactly what the rule is on that. It’s
    a tough one.”

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
AP Photo
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.

NHL key dates for the 2015-16 season

Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares
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Nov. 10 —  NHL General Managers Meeting (Toronto)

At last year’s November meetings, the GMs decided to kill the dry scrape. But these meetings usually serve as a table-setter for the rest of the season. It’s the more in-depth meetings in March where the majority of things get decided.

Nov. 27 — NHL Thanksgiving Showdown: Rangers at Bruins

The first of 12 “NHL on NBC” games in 2015-16. Click here for the full list, including the games on NBCSN.

Dec. 7-8 — NHL Board of Governors Meeting (Pebble Beach)

This is where we could find out about expansion. Will both Las Vegas and Quebec City get the nod? Only one of them? Neither of them?

Jan. 1 — Winter Classic: Canadiens at Bruins

From Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Please don’t make any “deflated pucks” jokes. You’re better than that.

Jan. 28-Feb. 1 — All-Star Break

This year’s festivities are being held in Nashville, which is a pretty fun town we hear. Skills competition on Saturday the 30th, game on Sunday the 31st. Over/under has been set at 25 goals and 60 percent effort.

Feb. 29 — NHL trade deadline

Leap day! Click here for a list of pending unrestricted free agents, a.k.a. potential rentals.

Mar. 14-16 — NHL General Managers Meeting (Boca Raton)

As mentioned, these are the more in-depth meetings where any recommendations are typically made. Last season, the GMs recommended 3-on-3 overtime and a coach’s challenge.

Apr. 9 — Last day of the regular season

All 30 teams in action on this Saturday. Playoffs begin four days later on Wednesday. Also, the draft lottery’s date is still to be determined, but should be held sometime around here.

June 18 — Last possible day for the Stanley Cup Final

Click here for PHT’s Cup picks.

June 24-25 — NHL draft

In Buffalo this year. Click here for Central Scouting’s “players to watch” list, led by Auston Matthews.

July 1 — Free agency begins

And then it’s summer.