JackCapuano

The Islanders are going to be pretty young at forward tonight

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The New York Islanders have called up 21-year-old Swedish rookie Johan Sundstrom from AHL Bridgeport, and he’ll take Michael Grabner’s spot in the lineup tonight in San Jose.

With the move, Sunstrom — who’s making his NHL debut — will be the eighth rookie to play for the Islanders this season. He’ll also give the team a decidedly fresh-faced look up front, joining the likes of Ryan Strome (20 years old), Brock Nelson (22), Mike Halmo (22), Casey Cizikas (23), Anders Lee (23), Josh Bailey (24) and Matt Martin (24).

New York’s oldest forward tonight will be 29-year-old Frans Nielsen. He’ll be joined by fellow graybeards Colin McDonald, Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Okposo who, despite being just 25 years old, is one of the oldest forwards on the active roster.

While this has largely been a lost season for the Islanders, all these young players do offer some hope for the future. Nearly all of them have come courtesy the NHL Entry Draft — Bailey and Martin were ’08 draftees, Lee and Cizikas were part of the ’09 draft (which also netted John Tavares and d-man Calvin de Haan), Nelson was a ’10 draftee, Strome and Sundstrom were taken in ’11.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)