Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins

Simon Gagne’s injury troubles resume; out for tonight’s game, possibly Tuesday as well

It’s not quite a broken record sort of thing, but Simon Gagne is hurting yet again. He missed 18 games earlier this season with a neck injury and he’s out of the lineup for tonight’s game against Ottawa and is likely out for Tuesday’s game against the Islanders as well.

What’s ailing the veteran goal scorer this time? Turns out it’s a flare up with the same injury that he appeared to be finally getting over. Coach Guy Boucher told Damian Cristodero that they’re not too concerned with what’s bothering Gagne.

“If we wanted to we could have done it later,” Boucher said. “But that would be close to the playoffs and we wanted to give ourselves a little bit of time. The reality is we want to win every game, but we want to have all our guys healthy even if we have to sit some guys down in the short term.”

Gagne hasn’t been the clutch goal scorer he was in Philadelphia where netting 30-40 goals a season was the norm. Now with nagging injuries, Gagne’s racked up just 12 goals and 16 assists this season but his last three games showed promise that he was past his problems scoring two goals and four assists against Florida, Toronto, and Montreal.

The Lightning are a bit thin at left wing without Gagne as Ryan Malone is still out battling injuries of his own. Considering Gagne’s track record with injuries, they have to have some concern in the back of their mind. On the upside, if they’ve been unhappy with Gagne’s production this year (which is eerily similar to his injury-shortened production last season) Gagne’s an unrestricted free agent after this year and can let him walk away or re-sign him for less than the more than $5 million a year his cap hit demands now.

Still, Boucher is making a good call being cautious with Gagne now. The Lightning, while still fighting for a shot at home ice in the playoffs with Pittsburgh, will need to have everyone healthy and ready to go when the playoffs begin. If there’s even a doubt about anyone’s condition, there’s no need to rush them back to the ice.

The madness that Boucher’s worked by so far this year has worked and there’s no reason to start questioning it now since no one was banking on Tampa Bay to be a playoff team, never mind one fighting for a shot at home ice or a division title. If Gagne gets back healthy and picks up where he left off, Tampa Bay is a much more dangerous team outside of Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.

NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
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Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

Your call, Marc Bergevin.

Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL

Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

Joni Ortio
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Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.