Winless in their last five — including Tuesday’s lamentable 3-2 shootout loss to Florida — and struggling badly to score goals, the Vancouver Canucks had some new forward lines yesterday at practice.
Chris Higgins – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen
Daniel Sedin – Mike Santorelli – Ryan Kesler
Alex Burrows – Brad Richardson – Zack Kassian
Jeremy Welsh – Tom Sestito – Dale Weise
(Extras: David Booth and Zac Dalpe)
But there wasn’t a ton of thought given to the latest combinations, according to head coach John Tortorella. With just six goals scored in the last five games, the Canucks are just hoping something — anything — will work.
“We’re throwing it against the wall here a little bit and see what sticks,” said Tortorella, per The Province. “I’m being honest with you. I don’t like splitting up, and one thing I know that works is Santorelli and Higgins. But again, we haven’t scored and I’m not sure where it goes or how long it goes and we’ll see if we can find our way.”
Vancouver hasn’t played poorly the entire five-game winless stretch. The Canucks probably deserved a better fate in games versus San Jose and Dallas, but the Florida effort was different, with Tortorella calling it “easily our worst game of the year.”
Tonight, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets paying a visit to Rogers Arena. Tomorrow, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canucks are already six points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They need to start winning some games.
“In the past, we didn’t look at the standings because we didn’t have to,” said captain Henrik Sedin. “Now, it’s so tough.”
Related: Booth needs to ‘make the same sort of effort everyone else is making,’ says Canucks GM
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray had to leave his team’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night with an upper body injury, the team announced.
He will not return to the game.
Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, seemed to be injured when his arm was pinned against the boards when trying to finish a check on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook behind the net.
Murray played only 4:38 on Friday night before exiting the game.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Murray played in 81 games for the Blue Jackets a year ago, scoring four goals to go with 21 assists.
He had played in one of the Blue Jackets’ two games this season entering Friday and did not record a point.
After spending the past eight years moving around the NHL, Zach Boychuk is moving overseas.
On Friday it was announced that the 27-year-old forward has signed a contract with HC Sibir of the KHL.
Boychuk was a first-round draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008 and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators in his career.
He did not play in the NHL during the 2015-16 season, spending the year split between the Charlotte Checkers and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.
In 127 NHL games he has scored 12 goals and added 18 assists.
Boychuk was in camp in September with the Arizona Coyotes on a tryout contract but did not make the team.
The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without forward Dale Weise for the next three games as a result of a suspension handed out by the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday evening.
The league announced that Weise has been suspended due to an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during their game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Weise was not penalized for the hit.
The incident happened midway through the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 win, and came just as Holzer was skating with the puck in his own zone.
Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.
Holzer was not injured as a result of the hit.
The Flyers have been hit hard by suspensions so far this season. They played the first three games of the season without forward Brayden Schenn as he served a suspension that carried over from the 2016 playoffs. Defenseman Radko Gudas is still sidelined as he serves a six-game suspension for a hit this preseason.
Weise has yet to record a point in four games for the Flyers this season. He scored 14 goals and added 13 assists a year ago for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.
This suspension will cost him $39,166.68 in salary.
He will be eligible to return to the Flyers’ lineup on Oct. 27 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. He will miss games against Carolina, Montreal and Buffalo.
One of the more unique blueliners in recent memory is hanging up his skates.
Douglas Murray, the big-bodied Swedish rearguard that appeared in over 500 NHL contests, has decided to retire.
“Thirty general managers do not want me,” Murray told Alftonbladet (translation per Yahoo). “I know that I can still play, but it’s over now.”
Murray, 36, is best remembered for his time in San Jose, where he used his 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame to become one of the hardest hitters in the league.
His best years came between 2009-11, when he helped the Sharks advance to a pair of Western Conference Finals, and represented Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Murray also spent time with Pittsburgh and Montreal, before joining German League side Kolner Haie in ’14-15. He also had a brief stint with the Calgary Flames, though things never progressed beyond the professional tryout stage.
As mentioned above, Murray was a pretty interesting guy. A late bloomer, he was 25 upon making his NHL debut but quickly endeared himself to Shark fans.
Ivy-league educated, Murray and friends also created a beer dispensing system called the UberTap while at Cornell University.
A few years ago, Murray was rumored to be dating Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods. Murray later shot down the reports, saying he and Nordegren were just friends.