Injury Reports for Montreal, Pittsburgh

guerinteed.jpgHere’s a bit of scattered injury news from around the NHL. I didn’t come across much for Detroit and San Jose, but you will be informed if anything particularly noteworthy surfaces.

Updates on Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Spacek

There was some scuttlebutt about Andrei Markov possibly playing in the playoffs again despite “an unspecified knee injury,” but Habs Inside/Out flags down that rumor. The same entry also touches on the other Jaroslav (Spacek) in Montreal.

First, to toss a little cold water on those expecting an imminent return of Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov, who left Game 1 with an unspecified (knee) injury:

Habs head coach Jacques Martin says that Markov is on this trip simply because the team’s entire medical staff is here, and it’s easier for him to continue to undergo treatment here than in Montreal.

Defenceman Jaro Spacek is getting closer to a return, but he’s not there yet.

Jordan Staal building confidence, the Penguins’ possible lineup for tonight

Earlier I mentioned that Bill Guerin will most likely be in Pittsburgh’s lineup. Pensburgh’s game preview post points out that Jordan Staal grew more and more comfortable as Game 4 went along and may be able to play more minutes in tonight’s games. These two factors, plus a few probable shuffles when it comes to healthy scratches, could make for an altered Penguins lineup. Here’s the forward lines from the day’s morning skate, which could very well be who the team puts on the ice for tonight’s game (also from Pensburgh).

Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin
Talbot-Malkin-Dupuis
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Letestu-Adams

I’ve been impressed with Letestu from the limited amount I’ve seen him play (and not just because I enjoy calling him “Letestube Baby”). It’s a big game for both the Penguins and the Canadiens so we’ll see if Dan Bylsma’s adjustments pay off.

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    2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Wednesday, April 26

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    The second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin on Wednesday, and the NBC Sports Group has you covered with wall-to-wall coverage.

    After disposing of the Calgary Flames in the first round, the Anaheim Ducks will look to take down another team from Alberta, while two red-hot goalies, Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne, go head-to-head.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues

    Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

    Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

    Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks 

    Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

    Network: NBCSN (Stream online)

    Green will be judged on progress of Canucks’ youngsters

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    Expectations have officially changed in Vancouver.

    Whereas the last few years the Canucks have tried to stay competitive and make the playoffs (failing miserably the last two seasons), the plan now is to develop their youth with an eye towards the future.

    “I’m not sitting up here and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to win the Stanley Cup next year,'” new head coach Travis Green said today.

    “But I will tell you we’re going to get better.”

    Green was hired after four seasons as head coach of Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica. He understands that the Canucks need to keep injecting youth into their lineup. He knows that’s why he was hired, despite his lack of coaching experience in the NHL.

    “We need to get younger, that’s no secret,” he said.

    So, for Green, it will not be wins and losses that he’s judged on for the next year or two. Instead, it will be the progress of Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser, Nikolay Goldobin, Ben Hutton, Troy Stecher, Brendan Gaunce, Olli Juolevi, Jonathan Dahlen, and any other youngsters in the organization.

    A veteran of over 1,000 NHL games as a player, Green is not expecting this to be a smooth ride. Young players make mistakes. They are inconsistent. They can be immature. Sometimes they progress, only to regress.

    “You have to let them learn on the fly, some of them,” said Green. “You have to give them rope. You want them to swim, you don’t want them to sink. (But) you want them to go through adversity as well. I think it’s good for young players to go through adversity.”

    Green started his coaching career in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks. Combined with his AHL experience, he believes he’s learned a thing or two about getting through to younger players.

    Not that he’ll be Mr. Nice Guy all the time. He intends to push his players. He’s more than willing to make them uncomfortable, if that’s what he thinks is required.

    “I want my players to be accountable,” he said, “in what they do, how they prepare, how they practice. But I think if you build relationships and you communicate with players, they appreciate it — especially today’s player. I don’t play a lot of mind games. They always know where they stand. At the end of the day, when I was a player, you always wanted to know where you stood.”

    The end goal — whether it’s two years down the line, or even three or four — is to produce a winning team that can compete for a championship.

    “We know where we’re at,” said Green. “I know the management group understands that, I feel confident in that. But hey, I want to win. No one likes winning more than me. I want to see our team get better. I want to start the process and push the envelope with these players, and see improvement.”

    Related: Trading Burrows and Hansen represents significant ‘shift’ for Canucks

    Report: Vegas’ first-ever game will be preseason tilt in Vancouver

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    The Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to be busy this fall, and they’ll reportedly start their work north of the border.

    Per the Review-Journal, Vegas has finalized its preseason schedule and, pending league approval, will play its first-ever game on Sunday, Sept. 17 against the Canucks at Rogers Arena.

    The Golden Knights have submitted a loaded, compacted preseason schedule, which makes sense. The players selected in June’s expansion draft will have little to no familiarity with one another, meaning head coach Gerard Gallant has a massive task in trying to build chemistry.

    More, from the Review-Journal:

    On Sept. 19, they’ll travel to Colorado to face the Avalanche at Pepsi Center followed by a trip to San Jose Sept. 21 to face the Sharks at SAP Center. The road portion of the preseason concludes at Anaheim against the Ducks Sept. 24.

    The first of the three home games at T-Mobile will be Sept. 26 against the Los Angeles Kings. The other home games are Sept. 28 against Colorado and Oct. 1 vs. San Jose.

    Vegas team officials wouldn’t comment to the Review-Journal about the preseason schedule. According to the report, the timing of the Vancouver game hinged on the dates for the Canucks-Kings games in China this fall (Sept. 21 in Shanghai, and Sept. 23 in Beijing.)

    Habs announce Emelin underwent knee surgery

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    On Wednesday, Montreal announced that d-man Alexei Emelin underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, and would be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks as a result.

    Emelin, 31, was hurt near the end of the regular season with a suspected knee injury, and missed the final few games down the stretch. The ailment kept him out of the Habs’ first four playoff games against the Rangers, though Emelin did return for Games 5 and 6.

    In the finale, the veteran Russian rearguard scored his first playoff goal, but only saw 16:11 TOI.

    The knee injury and subsequent surgery marred what was an otherwise healthy campaign. Emelin appeared in a career-high 76 games, and averaged a career-high 21:19 TOI per night, leading the team in hits.

    Next year is a big one for Emelin. He’s heading into the last of a four-year, $16.4 million deal with a $4.1M average annual cap hit.