Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson uttered a phrase this morning that Buffalo Sabres fans became all too familiar with over the last eight years:
Tim Connolly is hurt.
Wilson alerted the media this morning after Toronto’s practice that Connolly would miss the next 10-14 days with an unspecified upper body injury. Connolly had already missed the first eight games of the year with a shoulder injury, though Wilson was quick to explain this current issue has nothing to do with the shoulder.
“It’s totally unrelated to the earlier injury,” Wilson said (courtesy the Globe and Mail). “He got hurt in the game the other night [against Boston]. I said it’s upper body; I’m not going to get into specifics. He got hurt on the first penalty kill; he left the ice for a bit and then he felt okay. He played regularly in the game and I didn’t even think about it until I got an email yesterday that he was going to be out 10 days to two weeks.”
Staying healthy — or the inability to stay healthy — has defined Connolly as of late. After starting his career as a virtual iron man (he only missed three games in his first four seasons), the Syracuse native has been besieged by injury, clearly illustrated by his TSN transactions/injuries/suspensions page:
It’s expected that Tyler Bozak will fill Connolly’s center position on Toronto’s top line between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. Wilson also said the Leafs will “probably call someone up” to fill the roster void, which could be Toronto Marlies sensation Joe Colburne, the key returnee from last spring’s Tomas Kaberle deal that leads the AHL in scoring with 19 points in 12 games.
The growing ranks of Tuukka Rask detractors gained some serious ammunition during last night’s loss to Tampa Bay.
The deciding goal in the 6-3 defeat was a “bad one,” according to Rask and most anyone else who was watching.
It may have been a hard shot by Jonathan Drouin, unleashed at the top of the circle, but it still should’ve been stopped.
After the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters that Rask “needed to be better tonight.”
In fact, Rask hasn’t been very good the past few months. Since Jan. 1, his save percentage is just .888. But with nobody trustworthy behind him, he’s had to just play through his struggles.
It’s impossible to say if Rask’s numbers would be better if the Bruins had a more capable backup. He’d be more rested, though. And when he was struggling, the coach would at least have another option to consider. With an .897 save percentage on the season, Anton Khudobin simply hasn’t been reliable enough to garner that consideration.
Don’t expect Rask to get the next game off. Saturday in Brooklyn, the Bruins — losers of four straight in regulation, and suddenly on the verge of falling out of the playoff picture — face the Islanders in arguably the biggest game of both teams’ seasons.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, after earning a big win last night in Boston, may not have defenseman Jason Garrison tonight in Detroit.
The Bolts recalled d-man Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse this morning — a move that would seem to put Garrison’s status into doubt against the Red Wings.
Garrison was forced to leave the Bruins game in the second period with a lower-body injury.
Koekkoek has played 29 games for the Lightning this season, recording no goals and four assists.
Sidney Crosby won’t face a disciplinary hearing for his slash on Ottawa d-man Marc Methot, an NHL spokesman confirmed — news that won’t be welcomed by Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.
The incident occurred during Ottawa’s 2-1 win on Thursday night, and forced Methot from the game with a bloodied, lacerated finger. The club later announced that Methot would be “out for weeks” with the injury.
Crosby’s slash came two nights after he speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt. It should be noted that neither the O’Reilly spear or Methot slash resulted in penalty calls, and neither was subjected to supplementary discipline.
One individual that’s guaranteed to be upset with today’s news is Melynk. He appeared on TSN 1200 radio this morning and seemed to suggest the league was looking into the Crosby-Methot incident.
He also had a few choice words for No. 87:
NEW YORK (AP) The Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators will play two regular-season games in Sweden next season.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association on Friday announced their new Global Series games Nov. 10 and 11 in Stockholm.
The Avalanche and Senators will play the NHL’s first regular-season games in Europe since 2011. It’s the NHL’s sixth trip to Europe and the seventh and eighth games played in Sweden.
Colorado’s captain is 24-year-old Swedish forward Gabriel Landeskog. Ottawa’s captain is 26-year-old Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson, winner of the 2012 and 2015 Norris Trophy.
Other Swedes currently playing for the two clubs include Ottawa’s Frederik Claesson (Stockholm) and Viktor Stalberg (Gothenburg), and Colorado’s Anton Lindholm (Skelleftea) and Carl Soderberg (Malmo).
Commissioner Gary Bettman says with more Swedish players than ever, it’s a good chance to showcase the game there. Eighty-four Swedes have played in the NHL this season, roughly 9 percent of the league.
“We have more Swedish players than ever in the NHL, and we are extremely pleased that the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series will allow us to showcase a number of those players, with their NHL teams, in their homeland,” Bettman said. “The return of regular-season NHL games to the international stage will provide yet another highlight for our Centennial celebration.”