Mike Gillis

Canucks couldn’t ‘pull back’ Volpatti from waivers after Kesler diagnosis


By the time the Vancouver Canucks found out Ryan Kesler had a broken foot, it was too late for them to “pull back” Aaron Volpatti from waivers, said general manager Mike Gillis today.

The Canucks put Volpatti on waivers Wednesday. Hours later, they got the bad news from Kesler’s CT scan. The next day, Volpatti was claimed by Washington.

In hindsight, if they’d known Kesler had a broken foot, they could have put him on injured reserve, thus freeing up a roster spot to keep Volpatti, who’d been waived in part to free up a roster spot for Steve Pinizzotto.

“We didn’t know [Kesler] had the broken foot (when we put Volpatti on waivers),” Gillis said, per The Province. “We knew it was sore.

“We didn’t have a chance to pull [Volpatti] back.”

Gillis maintains the Canucks wanted Volpatti to work on his game down in the minors anyway, but clearly they weren’t happy to see him claimed by the Capitals.

“We were hoping to get him through because we saw some upside with Aaron,” said Gillis. “We like him as a player and as a person.”

In response to losing Volpatti, the Canucks claimed forward Tom Sestito off waivers from Philadelphia today.

“He’s a big guy,” said Gillis. “He plays aggressively. He has upside. And, so, when we lost Aaron, we wanted to find that as quickly as possible.”

The Canucks host Los Angeles tomorrow having won just twice in their last seven games. They were smoked, 8-3, in Detroit on Sunday and lost, 4-2, at home to Phoenix Tuesday.

All of a sudden, Vancouver’s lead in the Northwest Division is a slim two points over second-place Minnesota.

Injured Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa (groin) will decide tomorrow if he can play against the Kings.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci


Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)