Around the rink – Monday, November 1st

With the NHL taking a day off yesterday it gave us all time to clear our heads and get acquainted with other sports for the day. Tonight, the league bounces back into action with all guns blazing with… Wait, three games? Jeez, getting out of the way of the World Series sure makes hockey fans get bored. Anyhow, here’s tonight’s light schedule and, as always, times listed are Eastern.

7:00 pm

Chicago @ NY Rangers

Gotta love the Original Six games, especially when these two teams meet up so rarely. The Rangers are coming off of disposing another Original Sixer in Toronto on Saturday night while Chicago disposed of the Wild. The Rangers are hoping that they can find ways to crack through Chicago’s defense and Marty Turco. Turco’s been great so far this season for the Hawks but they’ll have a tall order themselves in dealing with Henrik Lundqvist. Chicago’s got the offensive edge in the game, but less so without Marian Hossa.

Carolina @ Philadelphia

If the Flyers weren’t winning games, the trials and tribulations of Nikolay Zherdev would likely be a bigger deal than they are now. Zherdev has just two goals this year and was a healthy scratch for their game against the Islanders on Saturday night. Having to deal with the spunky Hurricanes and possibly without Daniel Briere who awaits a potential suspension for cross checking Isles forward Frans Nielsen will provide a decent battle for Philly. The Flyers, however, won’t have to deal with Cam Ward as his backup Justin Peters will get the start in goal.

10:00 pm

New Jersey @ Vancouver

Zach Parise won’t be playing in this one for New Jersey, meanwhile Keith Ballard may be making his return to the Canucks lineup in a game that features a battle between Team Canada goalies Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo. We’ve written more than enough about the problems the Devils have had to start the year, and while Vancouver is certainly doing better than they are, they’ve been a little bit off themselves going 4-3-2 to start the year. Of course, any issues the Canucks have had to start the year seem to be run of the mill kinds of things, meanwhile the Devils can’t seem to score at all. It makes for an intriguing match up to say the least.

Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season:

Francis, Kurri, McKenzie named to Hockey Hall of Fame committee

Ron Francis
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The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee added some big names on Tuesday — most notably, a pair of Hockey Hall of Famers.

Ron Francis (inducted in 2007) and Jarri Kurri (2001) have been appointed to the committee, the Hall announced. Longtime hockey scribe and hockey insider Bob McKenzie was also named; together, he and Francis and Kurri will replace an outgoing trio of Lanny McDonald, Mike Emrick and Peter Stastny.

Francis currently serves as the GM in Carolina while Kurri holds the same title with Jokerit of the KHL.

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McDonald resigned his spot on the committee to become chairman, while the terms of Stastny and Emrick expired.

The Hall also announced Eric Duhatschek, Michael Farber and Bill Torrey were reappointed to the selection committee for a further three-year term.

The next big meeting for the new members of the selection committee comes in late June, when everyone gathers to consider candidates for the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame.

The announcement for new inductees will be made on June 27. As we’ve written about in the past, the list of first-time eligible entrants isn’t exactly overwhelming, so this could be the year some “passed over” candidates get in.

Among those in that category? Eric Lindros, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Jeremy Roenick, to name a few.

Related: Poll: Who should be in the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame?