A pair of Atlantic Division teams shook up their rosters on Thursday.
In Ottawa, the Senators announced they sent Jean-Gabriel Pageau to AHL Binghamton while in Boston, the Bruins announced the recall of forward Ryan Spooner.
Pageau, 20, has appeared in eight games with the Sens this year, scoring one goal while averaging 10 minutes per game. Last year’s playoff breakout star — he scored four goals and six points in 10 games — looked great in the preseason but has struggled to find his game this year, mustering just nine shots on goal total while carrying a minus-3 rating.
The news is much brighter for Spooner.
The 21-year-old, Boston’s second-round pick (45th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has yet to appear in a game for the B’s this season after playing four games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.
Spooner has been a prolific scorer with AHL Providence, scoring 57 points in 59 games last year and seven through eight contests this year.
As for why Spooner’s coming up, here’s CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:
It isn’t related to any potential injuries sustained in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s instead more an attempt to shake up a sleeping hockey team that head coach Claude Julien said “needed to look in the mirror” multiple times following an uninspiring loss in Pittsburgh.
On the ice, Carl Soderberg was a ghost-like non-factor in the vein of the holiday season. Jordan Caron also factored heavily in a turnover in the defensive zone that led to the game-winning goal for Jussi Jokinen, and has cooled off considerably after a good start to the season.
Spooner was one of the final Bruins’ cuts at training camp and impressed team brass with his offensive capabilities.
Tonight is a big game for the Arizona Coyotes, as they host Vancouver, one of the teams they’re jockeying with for the final wild-card spot in the West.
If the Coyotes can beat the Canucks in regulation, they’ll move to within two points of Colorado for that final wild-card spot, with three games in hand on the Avs. Not only that, Vancouver’s playoff hopes would be dealt a significant blow.
Of course, that’s a pretty sizable “if” the way the Coyotes have been playing. The Desert Dogs are winless in their last four, with 21 total goals surrendered.
“We have to shore up some things and our goaltending has to be better,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told reporters, while confirming that Louis Domingue would get the start versus the Canucks.
Domingue, the NHL’s rookie of the month in January, has struggled of late, allowing five goals in each of his last three starts. In the Coyotes’ last game, they turned to Anders Lindback, only for Lindback to surrender five goals himself in a 5-2 loss to Anaheim.
For the Canucks, Ryan Miller is expected to start, after Jacob Markstrom got the win last night in Denver.
— Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers in Pittsburgh, where Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start for the Penguins.
— Craig Anderson for the Senators in Detroit, where Petr Mrazek will make his third straight start for the Red Wings.
The Buffalo Sabres have recalled forward Justin Bailey from AHL Rochester.
It’s the first time Bailey, a second-round pick in 2013, has ever been called up to the NHL. The 20-year-old joins the big club after piling up 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last eight games for the Americans.
Most Sabres fans will know that Bailey is from Buffalo (technically, Williamsville), the son of former Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey. (To learn more, click on this Buffalo News story from July.)
The Sabres play Thursday in Philadelphia, where Bailey will reportedly make his NHL debut.
To make room for Bailey on Buffalo’s roster, Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.
Thing have gone from bad to weird in Minnesota, where embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo was “disappointed” to see Zenon Konopka’s rabbit holding a sign that read, “YEO MUST GO.”
Hey, we told you things had gotten weird.
Konopka, a former Wild player, took to Twitter last night after Minnesota’s latest loss.
Here’s what Konopka tweeted:
And what did Yeo think about that?
“I really don’t care what he says,” he told the Star Tribune, apparently adding with a laugh, “I will say I was very disappointed to see Hoppy holding that sign.”
Now, according to the newspaper’s Michael Russo, “Konopka and Yeo had a lot of issues behind the scenes and that’s why [Konopka] ended up on waivers two Januarys ago.”
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of Wild fans agree with Hoppy, er, Konopka, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Wild could really, really use a win tomorrow at home to Washington.
Nice work from Artem Anisimov and Matt Niskanen this week, but Connor McDavid‘s tally is on a different level.
You can pretty much bank on McDavid being in Goals of the Year, too. Just saying.