Commodore explains why he’s playing in the AHL

Mike Commodore explained to The Globe & Mail that while the lockout wages on, he hopes to make enough of an impression at the AHL level to eventually return to NHL action.

“I’m playing in front of people that I would like to see me play — NHL scouts, GMs and stuff like that,” Commodore said. “I’m just trying to put myself in the best situation.”

Commodore has played in two games with the Hamilton Bulldogs – the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate – so far. Monte Stewart indicates that he’s had some ups and downs already, particularly during his Bulldogs debut.

Commodore finished even in the plus-minus department as Hamilton split a pair of games with the Heat. Playing his first game since last spring, he went minus-1 in a 5-1 loss, while racking up eight penalty minutes, all on minors. In the second game, he was on the ice as rookie Brendan Gallagher scored the only goal the Bulldogs needed in a 3-0 upset of the league-leading hosts.

While getting back to the big time is the primary goal, the bruising defenseman admits that he’s enjoying spending time with younger players. He’s been there himself, after all.

“It’s different,” Commodore said. “It’s fun. I was 20 once, too, playing in the American Hockey League (with the Albany River Rats) my first year, and I remember older guys that were on my team and how they treated me … It’s nice to be around some young blood and some fresh players. I’m enjoying it so far.”

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    Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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    As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

    On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

    From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

    The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

    Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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    Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

    He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

    The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

    There was no call on the play.

    Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

    Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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    Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

    Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

    That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

    Not bad.

    Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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    The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

    Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

    That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

    While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

    Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

    The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

    Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim