Alex Ovechkin will play for the first time in two games on Tuesday night, and he’ll be doing it with a new linemate.
The Caps have replaced Marcus Johansson with Martin Erat as Ovechkin’s usual right winger, meaning Erat will skate alongside Ovechkin as the Washington captain returns from an upper-body ailment to take on the Isles at Verizon.
“He’s a skilled guy, experienced guy and I’m sure he’s going to help our line to create more opportunities to score goals,” Ovechkin said of Erat, as per NHL.com. “He’s a great player.”
Injured last Monday in Vancouver, Ovechkin sat out a pair of wins last week — Friday’s 7-0 drubbing of Philly, Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win over Florida — and watched a number of Washington’s secondary scorers light it up.
Joel Ward scored his first career hat trick against Philly, while Jason Chimera recorded the first four-point game of his career. Against Florida, John Carlson scored his first goal of the season and Michael Latta recorded his first NHL point.
All that’s left now is for Erat to bump his slump. The Czech forward has no goals and five assists in 14 games this year, with all five of those assists coming in two games (two against Philly on Saturday, three against the Jackets on Oct. 19.)
“I have to take advantage of it,” Erat said of the opportunity to play with Ovechkin. “I have to prove I belong in the top-six forwards.”
Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.