Simon Gagne

Kings’ Gagne cleared for contact, skating with prospects


Interesting development out of Los Angeles this morning — Kings GM Dean Lombardi confirmed a La Presse report that forward Simon Gagne has been cleared for contact.

More, from Rich Hammond at LA Kings Insider:

Lombardi confirmed this morning that Gagne, who has been out since he suffered a concussion on Dec. 26, has been cleared for contact, but Lombardi said Gagne will remain in Los Angeles and is a “long way from playing — needs to get hit.”

While Hammond says Gagne’s return “remains a long shot”, it’s still an interesting development.

The 32-year-old LW signed a two-year, $7 million deal with Los Angeles last summer with the expectation of being a top-six forward (he also contributed to the “Flyers West” theme that started with Mike Richards and assistant coach John Stevens, later continued with Lombardi’s trade deadline acquisition of Jeff Carter.)

In 34 games this year, Gagne had 7G-10A-17PTS. He’s currently skating with the Kings’ prospects/Black Aces and does not have a timetable for return to full practice.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: