Andy McDonald’s long road to recovery is nearly at an end in St. Louis. The Blues forward is close to returning to action after being out since October with a concussion.
Dan O’Neill of The Post-Dispatch reports that McDonald was practicing on a line with Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund which could mean he’s ready to play. Judging by practice with a team as banged up as the Blues are at forward is tricky business but McDonald says he’s feeling good but isn’t totally sure he’ll be back in the lineup this weekend.
“I honestly don’t know,” McDonald added, when asked about a weekend return. “That’s obviously a decision that will have to be made with the training staff and doctors, and the coaches will have a say in it, too. But like I said, I felt really good today and I feel like I’m ready to play.”
The Blues are currently without Jason Arnott, Matt D’Agostini, and Alex Steen as well but McDonald’s return gives them a slick passer and a guy that can win faceoffs with regularity. For Ken Hitchcock’s team, they could use that to help keep pace with Nashville and Detroit. McDonald has played in just three games this season and has two assists.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier
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