Ryan Jones

Oilers could get Jones (retina tear) back by Saturday

The Edmonton Oilers might get a boost up front this weekend in the form of Ryan Jones.

Jones, 28, could return from his partially torn retina in time for Saturday’s game in Edmonton against the Coyotes.

“We’ve got Ryan in the starting blocks,” Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger told the Edmonton Journal. “He’s such a character player for us. We can get him some battle drills in practice, but there’s nothing that can replace being in an actual game.

“We’ll start him slow when he returns. Six or seven minutes and then work his way into the 14 to 15-minute (a game) player.”

During the lockout, Jones took a puck to the face while training with fellow NHLers at the University of Minnesota. The end result was eye damage that required surgery, a procedure that has yet to allow him to play this season.

“There was some structural damage there, but it was quickly fixed. It wasn’t a complicated surgery,” he said back on Jan. 8. “There’s still some inflammation, but I’ve had one checkup and will be going back for another this Monday (Jan. 14), then I’ll be coming to Edmonton.”

Jones has been skating with the Oilers and reportedly won’t be sent to AHL Oklahoma City for conditioning.

The rugged winger will be a major boost for Edmonto. He’s scored 35 goals over the last two seasons and finished second among all forwards in hits last season, with 119.

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: