On the shelf with a neck injury since Dec. 20, Calgary winger Alex Tanguay will likely return to the lineup tonight against the San Jose Sharks.
“He slept well last night. He had a good breakfast this morning and he came to the rink and he was good this morning,” head coach Brent Sutter told the Flames website. “In all likelihood, he’ll play tonight.”
Tanguay’s missed the last 15 games with a neck injury that was rumored to be a concussion. The 32-year-old told reporters it wasn’t, but failed to elaborate on exactly what the ailment was.
“I don’t want to elaborate on it too much,” Tanguay told the Calgary Herald. “But it’s a problem that I have with my neck. As far as I’m concerned, it’s been pretty frustrating throughout this whole process.
“But it is what it is. I haven’t been told I have a concussion, so that’s a good, positive sign.”
Sounds like Sutter will ease Tanguay back into the lineup with the hopes of working him back up to his usual 18-plus minutes per night. Tonight, the winger will play alongside Blair Jones and Tom Kostopoulos in what amounts to fourth-line duty.
“Conditioning is certainly going to be an issue when you miss a month,” Tanguay said. “For the most part, you don’t do a whole lot … but I’ve been working extremely hard.
“I know I’m going to have to work hard over the course of the break and over the course of the next few weeks but I’m hoping that I can use my experience to find a way to help the team.”
Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.
It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.
The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.
Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.
They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.
You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.
With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.
Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).
In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:
Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.
Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.
So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.
The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.
No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.
He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.
There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.
So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.
Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.
(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)