NHL suspends Scott Nichol four games for elbow on David Schlemko

As we noted earlier, the NHL held a disciplinary hearing with San Jose Sharks forward Scott Nichol for his elbow to the head of Phoenix Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko today. TSN’s Gord Miller reports that the rugged Sharks forward received a four-game suspension for the infraction.

Nichol will be unavailable for a road game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, a home game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, a road game against the Los Angeles Kings on January 26th and a home game against the Phoenix Coyotes on February 1st. He will be available for the team’s upcoming seven-game road trip, which starts against the Ducks on February 2nd.

Video of the hit hasn’t surfaced just yet.

The Sharks already added some players to take his place, though, as they acquired Ben Eager in a trade and claimed Kyle Wellwood off of waivers. Nichol isn’t a major player for the team, but does the kind of dirty work that opens things up for the team’s star players. San Jose probably hopes that Eager can fill some of that void while bringing an even larger physical edge.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.