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Poile has ‘fingers crossed’ that Subban returns to Preds soon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A day after placing defenseman P.K. Subban on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile is hopeful the former Norris Trophy winner’s stay on IR is brief.

“I think his timeframe is going to be a good one,” Poile said Monday. “I’ve got my fingers crossed on that.”

Subban has not played in a game since Dec. 15 and has missed Nashville’s last seven contests due to the injury. When placing the blueliner on injured reserve Sunday, the team said Subban will be re-evaluated in two to three weeks. The Predators are 3-2-2 in his absence.

Poile met with reporters Monday after a public practice to discuss the injury and the uncertainty about when the Predators can expect Subban back in the lineup.

“When you do that, just like when we said it is day-to-day, it is just a little bit of a guesstimate in terms of where he is at,” Poile said. “We thought that he would be back sooner, but sometimes this is what happens with injuries.”

Poile noted that Subban has been working out every day and has skated some. Subban is scheduled to talk with reporters Tuesday morning.

Subban leads all Nashville defensemen with seven goals this season. His average ice time of 25:03 per game ranks second on the team, behind only fellow defenseman Roman Josi.

“Whenever you miss a player of his abilities, it takes away from your lineup and everybody’s very curious as to what’s going on,” Poile said.

Entering Monday’s action, the Predators are fifth in the Central Division and 10th in the Western Conference.

Poile has been active in the trade market in recent years. Asked if Subban’s progress might prompt the general manager to acquire a defenseman, Poile said he is expecting Subban back in the next couple weeks.

“Hopefully if I get that date wrong, if it’s off, he’s still coming back,” Poile said. “It’s not like he’s not coming back.”

Asked if the Predators had ruled out the possibility of surgery, a team spokesman stepped in and said, “We’re not talking any more about that.”

The Predators host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. The Canadiens sent Subban to Nashville in a blockbuster June 29 deal that sent then Predator captain Shea Weber to Montreal.

Weber, who played his 800th career NHL game Saturday, will play his first-ever road game in Nashville Tuesday. He leads the Canadiens in ice time per game at 26:02, and his eight power-play goals lead all NHL defensemen.

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    WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Los Angeles Kings

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    Tom KuhnhacklRiley SheahanRyan Reaves

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    Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

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    Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick

    Eric Lindros’ famed No. 88 retired in Philadelphia

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    No. 88 has always hung from the rafters in the minds of Philadelphia Flyers fans.

    The organization seemed to revere it as well. No one but Eric Lindros has ever worn the number.

    And on Thursday night in the City of Brotherly Love, those fans could finally see it with their own eyes.

    The Big E’s famous No. 88 in Flyers orange and black was retired at Wells Fargo Center, raised to hang next to the names of Bernie Parent, Mark Howe, Barry Ashbee, Bill Barber and Bobby Clarke.

    “Without any doubt, this is the highest honor the organization can bestow on one of its members,” said Flyers president Paul Holmgren, who addressed the packed house. “Take a look at the rafters, only five players out of 600 to have ever worn the orange and black, and now that number will be six.

    “When we raise your number in a few moments, know you’re back where you belong, and this time, it’s forever.”

    Moments earlier, Lindros stood at center ice, waving at the standing ovation that engulfed the arena that encircled him.

    “Wow. Haha. This is crazy,” Lindros said, peering out into the sea of orange and black as he followed Holmgren at the center-ice podium. 

    “It’s no secret that when I left Philadelphia, it was under less than ideal circumstances,” Lindros said, crediting Holmgren and his wife Kina with helping him move.

    Lindros sat out the entire 2000-01 season due to a contract dispute with Clarke and the organization.

    Lindros was crushed by Scott Stevens in the playoffs in the previous season and was only cleared to play the following December. The Flyers had offered, and Lindros refused a two-way qualifying offer. Lindros, instead, wanted to be traded, with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs the preferred destination after his once-strong relationship with Clarke had deteriorated. Clarke refused to trade him at first, but finally did so in the following offseason, not to Toronto, but to the New York Rangers in the summer of 2001.

    “Both, in their own ways, have taught me to move on, put in the past any differences of opinion, any hard feelings,” Lindros said. “It was time to remember the great moments I experienced here in Philadelphia, the friendships I’ve built in this great city and the respect I have for the fans of this team.”

    Lindros was a member of the ‘Legion of Doom,’ a line that consisted of John LeClair and Mikael Renberg that dominated opponents and altered the game of hockey in the 1990s. Lindros acknowledged several people, including former general manager Russ Farwell, who brought Lindros, Mark Recchi and Rob Brind’Amour into the team and drafted Mikael Renberg.

    Lindros also thanked Clarke, and said LeClair should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    Lindros was one of the most physically gifted and dominating players to ever play in the NHL, a man who towered over most, skated better than most and score better than most.

    Lindros won the Hart Trophy during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. He played 486 games in Flyers threads, scoring 290 goals and amassing 659 points.

    In 2016, Lindros was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Roberto Luongo could return to practice soon

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    The mandatory off week for the Florida Panthers appears to have done wonders for injured goaltender Roberto Luongo.

    The Panthers No. 1 netminder has “turned a corner” as he continues to rehab a lower-body injury, Panthers head coach Bob Boughner said on Thursday.

    The Panthers practiced for the first time since their mandatory break on Thursday, and although Luongo is still on pace for a return early next month, the news was good to hear for a team nine points adrift of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

    “I think he’s turned a corner a little bit,” Boughner told reporters after the team’s practice. “He’s showing some good improvement here in the last few days. We’re excited to hopefully get him back out on the ice during a practice at some upcoming point.”

    Luongo hasn’t played since Dec. 4, when he was injured in a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

    The news of Luongo’s pending return was probably a little music to the ears of James Reimer.

    Reimer has started Florida’s past 16 games, posting an 8-6-2 record with .924 save percentage during that span, but ran into the break losing four of his previous five starts.

    Still, Reimer has performed admirably in Luongo’s absence, as he bounced back from an unfavorable start to the season that saw Luongo regain the starter’s reins.

    The Panthers will have five games in-hand on Pittsburgh Penguins, who entered Thursday occupying the final spot. They play the Los Angeles Kings live on NBCSN at 10 p.m. ET.

    The Panthers return to action on Friday when they host the visiting Vegas Golden Knights.

    Reimer is expected to start No. 17.

    WATCH LIVE: Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers

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    Scott WilsonJohan LarssonJordan Nolan

    Marco ScandellaRasmus Ristolainen

    Jake McCabeJustin Falk

    Josh Gorges — Casey Nelson

    Starting goalie: Robin Lehner

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    New York Rangers

    Rick NashMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich

    Mats ZuccarelloJ.T. Miller — Vinni Lettieri

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    Michael Grabner — Peter Holland — Jesper Fast

    Ryan McDonaghNick Holden

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    Starting goalie: Henrik Lundqvist