Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Oliver Ekman-Larsson providing humility lesson Kyle Turris needs

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson is off to a big start for the Coyotes this year. With three goals in the team’s first four games, Ekman-Larsson is showing that persevering is one of his better traits. Kyle Turris should be taking notes.

Last season, Ekman-Larsson spent most of the year as a healthy scratch playing in 48 games with the Coyotes and piling up just 11 points and just one goal. While other players worked their way into coach Dave Tippett’s lineup, Ekman-Larsson practiced and worked out but couldn’t crack the lineup. That kind of development can make a young player frustrated, especially in their first NHL season.

This time around, Ekman-Larsson is showing his offensive skills and proving he belongs on the ice more often as an offensive spark plug for a team that desperately needs it. One year of struggling to fit in and an offseason of working harder so far looks like it’s paying off for Ekman-Larsson and it’s providing the kind of example that should be set for unsigned restricted free agent Kyle Turris.

Turris too has struggled under Dave Tippett and is reportedly frustrated with how he’s been used and played in Phoenix. With the kind of breakout that Ekman-Larsson is having this year, it’s showing Turris that sometimes resting on your laurels and banking on your talent won’t cut it enough in some places.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: