Hextall on loss of Timonen: ‘There’s no question it’s a setback’

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“There’s no question it’s a setback, there’s no other way to explain it. … You can’t take not only the player but I think the experience and the calm and the poise and the respect that Kimmo has in the locker room and say you didn’t take a step back.”

That was Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall, via NHL.com, speaking about the loss of veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who’s been diagnosed with blood clots and may be forced to retire.

Timonen was already pondering retirement following the 2013-14 season; however, he ultimately signed a one-year extension with the Flyers in June, with Hextall calling the offensive defenseman “still a very effective player.”

If Hextall had known then what everyone knows now, he may have been more aggressive in free agency or in the trade department to add a dependable defenseman.

Yesterday, the Flyers signed 24-year-old Michael Del Zotto, a once-promising d-man who’s coming off a tough 2013-14. At this point, he’s a wild card. He could bounce back. He could end up on waivers.

“If I had an answer for it [my downfall], I’d be able to figure it out just as easy,” said Del Zotto, per CSN Philly. “I had a great rookie season, second season didn’t go as well, and my third was my best season. I was playing to my capabilities …

“Last year I lost my confidence early on, and it’s a confidence game. If you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities to make the plays you need to as an offensive player, it’s tough to go from there.”

Timonen, on the other hand, was a known, dependable commodity. He was also a player who had excellent possession numbers relative to his teammates in 2013-14, while playing against tough competition for a Flyers team that finished the season with the 20th-ranked goals-against average (2.77).

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.