Michael Sgarbossa #43 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Anaheim Ducks at the Pepsi Center on February 6, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Ducks defeated the Avalanche 3-0.
(February 5, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

PHT Morning Skate: Where two Avs players fight during practice


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Ottawa Senators have lost four of their last five contests and have been shutout twice over that span. Are their struggles a direct result of losing star forward Jason Spezza? (Ottawa Citizen)

While we’re on the subject of major losses, here’s a look at how injuries have impacted several teams so far this season from the defending Stanley Cup Los Angeles Kings to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004, the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Sportsnet)

New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo has gotten off to a slow start – again. (Newsday)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won three straight games on the road, but now they have to do something that’s been rare for them lately: earn two points in Toronto. (Toronto Sun)

32-year-old blueliner Robyn Regehr (lower body) returned to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Sunday after missing seven straight games due to the ailment. The Sabres needed to clear a spot on their roster to activated him from the injured reserve list, so they put forward Matt Ellis on waivers. (NHL.com)

Dallas Stars forward Loui Eriksson hasn’t lived up to expectations so far this season. However, the 27-year-old’s goal on Friday might be a turning point. (Dallas Morning News)

23-year-old forward Stephane Da Costa is in his third pro season and has played in three games with the Ottawa Senators in 2013. He felt he was cheating last season by not doing his job away from the puck and he’s trying to do otherwise during his current NHL stint. (Ottawa Sun)

Colorado Avalanche forwards Michael Sgarbossa and Mark Olver dropped the gloves and sparred during a team practice. That’s enough to raise an eyebrow, but Avalanche coach Joe Sacco doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. (Denver Post)

Video: Marc Staal was no match for Alex Ovechkin on this goal

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against New York Islanders during the second period at Verizon Center on October 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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After being held without a point in his first two games of the season, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has now scored a goal in three consecutive games.

That includes his goal on Saturday night in the first period against the New York Rangers.

It’s one that will probably make the personal highlight reel for Ovechkin, but it certainly won’t make the highlight reel for Rangers defenseman Marc Staal.

To say that this head-to-head matchup turned out to be a mismatch would be … well … a bit of an understatement.

As Ovechkin crossed the blue line into the Rangers zone he started to toe-drag around Staal, only to stop midway through and just rip it from outside the circle, using Staal as a screen and beating Henrik Lundqvist for the goal.

It is probably not a good sign when the defenseman has his back to the shooter when the puck is released.

That goal gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead.

Red Wings’ Abdelkader out with lower body injury

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 15: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 15, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Red Wings 4-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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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.

Former Canadiens coach Jacques Demers hospitalized

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OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers has been hospitalized.

Demer’s director of parliamentary affairs confirmed Saturday that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, had been admitted to a Montreal hospital, but couldn’t immediately provide any details.

Demers had a stroke in April. He was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.

Demers led the Canadiens to their last Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached Quebec, Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay in the NHL, and Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Quebec in the WHA.

Ales Hemsky returns to Stars lineup tonight

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 24:  Ales Hemsky #83 of the Dallas Stars skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 24, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Stars defeated the Devils 3-2 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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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.

He is expected to skate on the Stars’ top line on Saturday night alongside Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.

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.