The Detroit Red Wings will be without veteran forward Justin Abdelkader on Saturday night when they host the San Jose Sharks.
The official word from the team is that he is sidelined with a lower body injury.
He will be replaced in the lineup by Andreas Athanasiou. Athanasiou has appeared in three games this season and yet to record a point.
He was not only in the lineup on Friday in the Red Wings in their 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators, but also scored his first goal of the season and played a season-high 17:55.
After scoring 19 goals and recording 23 assists in 82 games in 2015-16 the Red Wings signed a seven-year $29.7 million contract extension.
According to general manager Ken Holland (via Helene St. James) he is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
When the Dallas Stars take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday evening one of their top forwards will be making his 2016-17 debut.
The team announced on Saturday afternoon that forward Ales Hemsky will be activated from injured reserve after missing the first four games of the season due to a groin injury at the World Cup of hockey.
Now 33 years old, Hemsky isn’t quite as dynamic as he was during his prime years in Edmonton, but he is still an extremely skilled playmaker that is a solid fit in Dallas’ system. He is entering his third year with the Stars and has 71 points (24 goals, 47 assists) in 151 games with the team.
With Hemsky now activated and back in the lineup, the Stars also announced on Saturday that veteran forward Jiri Hudler has been placed on IR retroactive to Oct. 15 due to illness.
Playing against your former team is always special, but Flames goalie Brian Elliott won’t have that pleasure tonight.
Instead of giving Elliott the start against St. Louis, Calgary will turn to Chad Johnson.
“You want to play good against your old teams,” said the veteran goalie, per beat reporter Wes Gilbertson. “Turns out, I didn’t get the opportunity today. Can’t really get hung up on it.”
Elliott spent the previous five seasons with the Blues.
It’s important to point out that these two teams will go head-to-head in St. Louis on Tuesday and Elliott will probably start that game.
“We thought about it, obviously, with (Elliott) having such a great career in St. Louis,” Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said, per the St. Louis Dispatch. “But at the end of the day, we thought we wanted to keep (Johnson) going a little bit so we put him in.
Still, it has to be disappointing not to face your old teammates.
The 31-year-old has struggled with his new team. He’s dropped each of his first three starts of the season and he’s allowed four goals or more in each of those games.
Jake Allen will be between the pipes for St. Louis.
–The Columbus Blue Jackets have yet to name their starter. Kari Lehtonen will be between the pipes for the Dallas Stars. Lehtonen has a 2.03 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage against the Jackets in his career.
—Marc-Andre Fleury makes his sixth straight start for the Penguins. The Predators, who have been hit by food poisoning, have yet to name a starter.
It’s Heritage Classic weekend in the NHL, which means that there will be an alumni game between the Jets and Oilers on Saturday afternoon.
The rivalry between these two teams has come down a few notches over the years (mainly because the Jets moved to Phoenix), but that doesn’t diminish how intense it used to be.
It was so intense that Wayne Gretzky, who will be dressing for the Oilers alum, was surprised when he was cheered during Friday’s practice at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.
“I was kind of Public Enemy No. 1 back in the day,” Gretzky said, per NHL.com. “But, that is the way it should be. I was with the other team. When I was in Winnipeg, the people were great to me and they always treated me with respect. You have to cheer for your own team and I understand that.”
It’s not hard to figure out why Gretzky and the Oilers were so hated in Winnipeg during the 1980’s and early 90’s.
Edmonton won five Stanley Cups between 1984 and 1990 and they beat the Jets all six times they met in the playoffs, sweeping four of those.
Gretzky, who’s looking forward to playing against the Jets alumni on Saturday, hasn’t played much hockey since retiring in 1999.
“I don’t play a lot. I skate once a year. I just never really find the energy, the enthusiasm to grab my equipment and say I’m going to go play pickup hockey.
“I played in one outdoor game in Edmonton and it was fun and it was great for hockey. When Winnipeg talked to me about this game a couple years ago, playing in Winnipeg was always fun and when we get together as a team, it is always a unique situation.”
Here are the rosters for this afternoon’s game:
The alumni game gets going at 4:00 p.m. ET.