It appears Roberto Luongo could be back in the Florida Panthers’ lineup with only five games remaining in their regular season, at least that’s according to a report in the Sun Sentinel.
Luongo has missed the last three games after he was run over by Carolina Hurricanes forward Radek Dvorak in a game back on March 27. Dvorak was ejected from the game as a result of a heavy collision with Luongo, who was in his goal crease trying to defend Dvorak as he charged to the net.
Luongo was ruled out of Florida’s next game against the Montreal Canadiens – two days after the run-in with Dvorak.
The return of Luongo, reacquired by Panthers in a blockbuster deal with the Vancouver Canucks the day before the trade deadline, would mean Scott Clemmensen would be sent back to San Antonio in the American Hockey League.
“Regardless of where I’m at or who I’m playing for or what the circumstances are I’m going to try my hardest so that when the summer comes whatever happens happen I can live with. I’ll have no regrets,” Clemmensen told the Sun Sentinel.
“ll do whatever I can to further my career. If it doesn’t happen then at least I’ll know I did everything possible.”
The Pens may get back one of their most veteran skaters for their second-round series against Washington.
Chris Kunitz, who missed the last five regular season games and all of Pittsburgh’s Round 1 win over Columbus, has been cleared for contact (per the Tribune-Review) and could return from his lower-body ailment for Thursday’s opener at Verizon.
Kunitz, 37, finished the year with nine goals and 29 points in 71 games, averaging 15:31 TOI per night. It was a down season offensively, but the Pens are hopeful he can reclaim some of the form shown last spring, when he racked up 12 points in 24 games en route to the title.
A three-time Cup winner, Kunitz skated on the fourth line at today’s practice with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl.
In other health news, the Pens also declared d-man Chad Ruhwedel a game-time decision for Thursday, after he was sidelined with an upper-body injury. Carl Hagelin, out with a lower-body ailment, has continued skating and head coach Mike Sullivan said the team is hopeful Hagelin can play at some point against Washington.
In a fairly stunning admission on Monday, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters that Joe Thornton played in four of San Jose’s six playoff games versus Edmonton with a significant knee injury.
Thornton, who was hurt against Vancouver late in the regular season, suffered tears to both his left MCL and ACL.
“I’ve never seen a guy play with a torn MCL and ACL,” DeBoer said, per the club’s Twitter account. “It’s a courageous effort as I’ve ever seen.”
Thornton, 37, missed the first two games of the series to rest his knee, before suiting up for the final four. He averaged 18:50 TOI per night and finished with a pair of assists, numbers that are pretty remarkable given the severity of his ailment.
Jumbo wasn’t the only unhealthy Shark during the first-round playoff ouster. Logan Couture‘s face/mouth injury was well-documented and, today, DeBoer also revealed that Tomas Hertl was playing with a broken foot, and Patrick Marleau with a broken thumb.
Looking ahead, Thornton’s knee injury might cloud what’s an already murky future. He’s a pending UFA, and there have been no clear signals from the organization on how they’ll address his potential return. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported in January the Thornton camp was looking for a three-year deal.
If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Sharks GM Doug Wilson has time on his side. It’s understood the club probably wouldn’t act on an extension for Thornton until after the June expansion draft, which could give the Sharks enough time to better gauge his health.
Per NBC Sports California, Wilson confirmed Thornton is undergoing surgery today to repair the ligaments.
The Washington Capitals got a bit of a scare in the first round, but they’ll go into the second round as the Stanley Cup favorites.
Per online bookmaker Bovada, here is the full list of Stanley Cup odds for the eight remaining teams:
Washington Capitals 7/2
Pittsburgh Penguins 17/4
Anaheim Ducks 11/2
Edmonton Oilers 11/2
St. Louis Blues 13/2
Nashville Predators 7/1
New York Rangers 8/1
Ottawa Senators 10/1
The Chicago Blackhawks entered the postseason as 4/1 Cup favorites at Bovada. Of course, the ‘Hawks were then swept by the Preds, who’ve gone from 25/1 long shots to 7/1 heading into their series with the Blues.
The Caps’ odds actually dropped to 13/2 after they fell behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1. But three straight wins, two in overtime, clinched them a spot against the Penguins in the second round.
The Ottawa Senators are the long shots of the bunch now, despite having home-ice advantage over the Rangers in the second round.
The Islanders saw enough from Dennis Seidenberg this season to bring him back for another.
On Monday, the club announced it had signed the veteran defenseman to a one-year deal. Per Newsday, it’s for $1.25 million — a slight raise from the $1M he earned this season.
Seidenberg, 35, caught on with the Isles in late September, parlaying a good showing with Team Europe at the World Cup into a contract after going the entire summer unsigned.
For New York, it worked out very well.
Seidenberg was a regular lineup fixture, averaging 19:26 TOI over 73 games. He also provided some good production from the back end, scoring five goals and 22 points — his highest offensive output in five years.
Today’s deal also gives the Isles some flexibility when it comes to the upcoming expansion draft. The club now has six blueliners under contract for next season — Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey and Scott Mayfield — and a seventh, pending RFA Calvin de Haan, will (presumably) be locked in as well. The same might be said of fellow RFA Adam Pelech.
Young d-man Ryan Pulock, who only appeared in one game this year, locked in through 2018.