Things were already bad enough for the Columbus Blue Jackets. After a 6-0 shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, the team should have plenty of questions about its future in net and the future of the moribund franchise in general. Now they also have to deal with the injuries of far and away their best player, Rick Nash (with all due respect to the fragile Derick Brassard).
Nash, the top scorer, did not return for the second period because of what the team called a lower-body injury. Nash confirmed to The Dispatch that he has been nursing a couple nagging injuries since the March 2 game against Vancouver.
He’s not expected to play tonight in Anaheim.
At times, Nash was among the best players on the ice for Canada in the Olympics. It must have been quite the breath of fresh air for the power forward, who has dealt with an incompetent franchise that only managed one win-less trip to the playoffs since the team debuted in 2000.
That being said, I can’t help but wonder if Nash will struggle to live up to the mammoth extension he signed this off-season. Despite the considerable physical presence he brings to the ice, a $7.8 million per year cap hit seems like a bit much for a player whose career high (and possibly his ceiling) is 79 points. Yes, he hasn’t had much help, but that’s a big price to pay.
Then again, I’d probably need to be overpaid to lose year after year too. Here’s hoping that Nash (who apparently is “day-to-day”) recovers quickly. The Blue Jackets could be an even bigger mess without him.
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: