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Mattias Ohlund might be done for the year

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Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times reports that Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund — who underwent dual-knee surgery on Oct. 11 and hasn’t played this year — might be lost for the entire 2011-12 campaign.

Yesterday, Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher told Cristodero he’s operating as though Ohlund won’t be back, then offered a bleak outlook on the alternate captain’s future.

“I’ve been doing that for a while; not because I didn’t think he’d come back, but that’s how I have to be as a coach,” Boucher said. “As a team, guys are not really waiting for him. We’ve accepted we’ve lost one of our top [defensemen] and other guys have to play against the top lines and log the minutes.”

The 35-year-old Ohlund had surgery on both knees to clean out “loose bodies” (a phrase that’s entirely new to me) and hasn’t skated since mid-November. Many see his absence as a big reason for Tampa’s inflated goals-against total and spotty defensive play — last season, Ohlund finished second on the team in blocked shots, third in hits and was one of the top-three penalty-killing defensemen.

“It just hurts him a lot more than what he would have expected or the doctors would have expected,” Boucher said. “It’s difficult to manage because you can’t do much more than what’s been done. It’s pain tolerance. It’s a question of mobility. It’s a question of can he skate at the level in the NHL he needs to follow.”

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.