Closing the generation gap: Selanne to play on Finland’s top line with Barkov, Granlund

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Teemu Selanne might’ve found a new gig in Sochi — babysitting.

On Monday, Finland announced that Selanne, 43, would open the Olympic tournament on the team’s top line with 21-year-old Minnesota forward Mikael Granlund and 18-year-old Florida forward Aleksander Barkov.

“[Selanne] is our top player and so motivated and in really good condition,” Finland assistant coach Lauri Marjamaki said, per the L.A. Times. “He’s an important player for us.”

It sounds as though Finland plans on loading up Selanne with ice time, especially in light of the ankle injuries that prevented Valtteri Filppula and Mikko Koivu from playing. Star power is thin up front, which is likely why the Finns are putting Selanne on a line with two of the brightest young prospects the country has to offer — Barkov, the second overall selection at the ’13 NHL Entry Draft, is Florida’s fifth-leading scorer this season while Granlund sits third on the Wild in assists, with 23.

(Fun fact, per the Times: Barkov wasn’t even born when Selanne made his Olympic debut in ’92.)

Selanne skipped Anaheim’s final game prior to the break to rest up for Sochi, and that appears to be a wise move. Marjamaki said the Finnish team will utilize Selanne in all sorts of situations and not hold back on his minutes.

“We know what he is feeling now but he is so motivated and in good condition, and he is taking a rest for a while with the Ducks,” Marjamaki said. “But he is coming here and he is so happy, and we are happy that Teemu is with our team.”

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.