‘Hawks send Bollig to AHL, Montador returning?

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The NHL’s hottest team could be adding some reinforcements on defense.

That was the word out of Chicago on Wednesday as the Blackhawks sent forward Brandon Bollig to AHL Rockford — a move that, according to numerous sources, should pave the way for defenseman Steve Montador to return to the active roster.

Bollig, 26, had appeared in 11 games for the ‘Hawks this season, racking up 40 penalty minutes while averaging 5:31 TOI per game. He led all Chicago skaters in fights this year, with four.

Montador, 33, hasn’t played at all this season due to post-concussion symptoms.

He signed a four-year, $11 million deal with Chicago prior to last season and got off to a solid start, racking up 14 points in his first 52 games.

But his season took an unfortunate turn in February, when he suffered a concussion against Colorado. He returned for one game — Mar. 27 against New Jersey — but only lasted four minutes before he was pulled from action and shut down for the year.

Montador then suffered more misfortune during the lockout.

After being medically cleared by team doctors, he began skating during informal practices…during which he collided with a teammate and suffered another head injury.

Montador failed to to pass his physical during training camp, but recently resumed skating with the team and, at last report, was awaiting medical clearance.

Update: According to Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily Herald, Montador has been cleared.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.