Edmonton Oilers v New York Rangers

Oilers put Khabibulin on injured reserve


Odd development out of Edmonton this morning — the Oilers have placed goalie Nikolai Khabibulin on IR and recalled Yann Danis from AHL Oklahoma City.

Odd, because a number of the local media members don’t recall seeing anything wrong with the 40-year-old netminder following a 31-save effort in Monday’s 3-2 OT loss to Chicago:

Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger has been riding his veteran netminder recently, starting Khabubilin in four of the last five games, often chalking it up to a “gut” decision over youngster Devan Dubnyk.

“Khabby’s surprised me,” Krueger told the Edmonton Journal. “He’s been an unbelievable competitor in the games he’s played for us.

“He’s showing us why he won a Stanley Cup in Tampa, just on his  battle level, coming off  such a long break without games and with the [hip] injury he had.”

What’s ironic is that Khabibulin recently commented on how good he was feeling, despite turning 40 in January.

“I am very happy with how things are going, especially physically,” he told the Journal.  “Yeah, I am happy I can play.”

Edmonton is currently in the midst of a season-high nine-game road trip because Rexall is hosting the Brier, an annual Canadian curling competition that captivates the nation. Curling comes in around 4th-5th on the Stuff Canadians Like power rankings, often jockeying for position with Caesers and the Tragically Hip.

The Oilers are in Dallas on Thursday, St. Louis on Friday, Minnesota on Sunday and Columbus on Tuesday. Khabibulin could return in time for the Thursday’s game in Detroit on Mar. 7.

Update: Krueger said Khabibulin tweaked his groin against Phoenix on Sunday, then re-aggravated it in overtime against Chicago.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season: