Ryan Malone

More injury woes for Tampa Bay

Can’t blame Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher for being exasperated right now. Upon learning LW Ryan Malone suffered a lower-body injury (which kept him out of Tuesday’s game against Toronto and, apparently, tomorrow night’s game against Ottawa as well), the fiery bench boss all but threw up his hands.

“Again with the injuries,” Boucher told the Tampa Tribune. “Happy New Year! It’s been that way since Day One this year, so we are not going to cry about it. We are going to move forward and continue to find ways like we’ve been doing.”

Malone was injured during Monday’s practice on what appeared to be an innocuous collision with Nate Thompson. So innocuous, in fact, that Thompson didn’t realize his teammate was hurt.

“We had a collision, but I’m not sure what is going on,” Thompson said after learning Malone was being held out against Toronto. “This was the first I had heard about it, too.”

The Malone incident is the latest in what’s been an injury-ravaged season for the Bolts. Mattias Ohlund (knees) hasn’t played a single game this year and Victor Hedman is out indefinitely with a concussion. Ryan Shannon is expected to miss another two weeks with a knee sprain (he’s been out since Dec. 21) while Martin St. Louis, Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie have combined to miss 11 contests.

It’s all added up to an extremely disappointing season. The Lightning were within a game of the Stanley Cup Final a year ago but, heading into tonight’s action, sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of eighth-place New Jersey.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)