The Columbus Blue Jackets have waited patiently to see if Nathan Horton will deliver on the seven-year, $37.1 million deal he signed with them this summer. The Columbus Dispatch reports that he’s expecting to finally play in early January, with the exact date unclear.
“It’s not going to be much longer,” Horton said. “I see an ending point to this. Finally.”
The 28-year-old continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery. He’s already shifted away from a no-contact jersey, a good sign that he’s nearing the point where he can attempt to play as the power forward who generated six 20+ goal seasons (including a 31-tally campaign in 2006-07) between his time with the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins. The Blue Jackets can certainly use that boost, whenever it comes.
“I don’t know when it’s going to happen,” Columbus head coach Todd Richards said. “But I’ll tell you this: ‘He’s prepared. He watches our games, even though he’s not playing. He has a pretty good idea of what we want to do. There’s a level of professionalism there. You can tell he’s been somewhere (with a winning culture).”
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: