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Pre-game reading: Jaromir Jagr to attend All-Star weekend as one of NHL’s top 100

Jaromir Jagr was not voted into the NHL All-Star game this year, and even though he will not be playing in the game he will still be in Los Angeles this weekend to take part in the NHL’s celebration of the top-100 players of all time. The league will be unveiling the final 67 players of its top-100 on Friday night, and Jagr, currently the NHL’s second leading all-time goal scorer and third all-time leading point producer, is certainly among that group (honestly, he is probably among the top-10 at this point). The event will be hosted by actor Jon Hamm. Jagr’s teammate, Vincent Trocheck with 18 goals and 15 assists in 49 games this season, will represent the Panthers in the game. [Miami Herald]

— St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, currently the NHL’s eighth leading scorer, has not scored a goal in eight games. That is his longest goal scoring drought of the season and he is starting to get a little frustrated by some of the poor shooting luck he is experiencing lately. “My whole life, it frustrates me if the puck doesn’t go in,” Tarasenko said recently via the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “I think this year I’ve hit as many posts as I hit in my whole life. I mean post-and-out and crossbars. But as long as you look straight ahead of you and don’t put your head down, as long as you work hard and help your team as much as you can, it will come back.” He will have a chance to snap out of that goal scoring drought on Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild. [Post Dispatch]

— After being acquired in a trade from the San Jose Sharks earlier this week Tommy Wingels is going to be in the lineup for the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night when they host the Calgary Flames. In 37 games this season he has five goals and three assists. [TSN Steve Lloyd]

— Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau would like to see Mikko Koivu get a little bit more recognition for the Selke Trophy this season as one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards.

— With Evgeni Malkin sidelined for the time being due to a lower body injury the Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled center Carter Rowney from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. Rowney, 27, has yet to play in an NHL game in his career. He has been in the Penguins organization since the 2013-14 season and spent time in the ECHL (Wheeling Nailers) and AHL. In 24 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season he has 10 goals and 11 assists, and has 47 goals in 189 career games at the AHL level. [Pittsburgh Penguins]

— After missing the past two games veteran defenseman Jason Garrison will be back in the lineup for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night when they take on the Florida Panthers. In 45 games this season the 32-year-old Garrison has just one goal and five assists for a Lightning team that is trying to get back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. [Tampa Bay Times]

Watch live: 2017 NHL All-Star Game

Trouble for Ducks: Lindholm and Vatanen need major shoulder surgeries, will miss months

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Not a great week for the Anaheim Ducks.

After being eliminated in Game 6 of the Western Conference final — the toughest loss of Ryan Kesler’s career, apparently — the Ducks broke more bad news on Friday as GM Bob Murray announced d-men Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen both require torn labrum surgery, and will be out an awfully long time.

The timeline on Lindholm is 4-5 months, while Vatanen’s recovery will extend beyond that because his injury was more serious.

Looking at the calendar, four months would run Lindholm up to the end of September, meaning he’d miss a good chunk of the preseason. If it’s five months, he could miss the first three weeks of the regular season.

Murray didn’t even put a timetable on Vatanen, only saying it would be longer.

This adds to what was already going to be a pretty stressful summer in Anaheim. As we wrote earlier, Murray has some big decisions on his hands.

Vatanen and Lindholm are huge parts of the team. Both averaged over 21 minutes per night this season, and both broke the 20-point plateau. They’re also locked in long term — Lindholm at $5.2 million annually through 2022, Vatanen at $4.8M through 2020.

If the Ducks decide to protect seven forwards and three defensemen for the expansion draft, the defense will definitely be worth watching. Lindholm will be protected for sure, and Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are each exempt. But that only leaves two spots for Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa, Cam Fowler, and Josh Manson.

Bieksa, 35, has a no-movement clause, so unless the Ducks find a way to get around that, they’ll need to protect him. (Chances are, they’ll seek a way around it, either via trade or buyout or just convincing him to waive.)

Fowler, meanwhile, only has one year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. There are already reports that extension negotiations are going well but, after the season he just had, with 39 points in 80 games, the 25-year-old won’t be cheap to re-sign.

Yes, there is the option to protect four defensemen and four forwards. But Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler all have NMCs, and the Ducks won’t want to expose Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg.

Add it all up, and the Ducks will certainly be worth watching this offseason.

In a surprise, Blues name Steve Ott assistant coach

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Pretty wild last few days for St. Louis on the coaching front.

After gutting Mike Yeo’s staff of four assistants, then hiring hiring Darryl Sydor, the Blues went totally off the grid on Friday by announcing longtime NHLer Steve Ott would become Yeo’s new assistant.

“Steve was a competitor on the ice as a player and I expect him to bring that energy in this role,” Yeo said in a release. “He was highly respected as a player and a person among his teammates and I believe he will be a huge asset to our staff.”

The decision caught many off guard given Ott, 34, has no prior coaching experience and was playing as recently as last month, suiting up for Montreal in its opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

Ott is familiar with the Blues organization, having played there for three seasons.

“I am very proud of my playing career and will devote the same work ethic to my coaching career,” said Ott. “The Blues organization is very special to me and my family and I’m excited to take the next step in my hockey career with this franchise.”

Blues GM Doug Armstrong signed Ott to a three-year deal. It’s fitting that Armstrong was the one to engineer this move, as he’s been behind unorthodox coaching moves in the past. Last summer, he defied convention by hiring Yeo as Ken Hitchcock’s assistant, with the understanding that Yeo would inherit the head man position next season.

It didn’t go exactly to plan. Armstrong fired Hitchcock in February, accelerating Yeo’s ascension.

Kesler calls Game 6 loss to Nashville the ‘toughest’ of his career

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Ryan Kesler has lost some big games in his career.

He was on the United States team that lost to Canada in the gold-medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

He was on the Vancouver Canucks team that lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

But apparently neither of those losses were as bad as the one his Anaheim Ducks experienced on Monday.

“This was the toughest loss of my career,” Kesler said of losing Game 6 of the Western Conference Final to Nashville. “This stings. It still stings. We left everything out there.”

Kesler had a particularly tough game, finishing minus-4 in the 6-3 loss. In the series, he only had one assist, failing to score on any of his 19 shots.

At 32 years old, Kesler is running out of time to win his first Stanley Cup.

And perhaps that’s why this latest loss was especially tough for him. The Ducks had a great chance to eliminate the Predators once Ryan Johansen was lost for the series, and then they would’ve faced either Pittsburgh minus Kris Letang or the underdog Ottawa Senators.

That’s gonna sting every time.

Related: Johansen wishes he was there to shake Kesler’s hand after Predators won

Fisher returns to Preds practice, but still not cleared

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Given the injuries Nashville’s sustained at center this postseason, Mike Fisher‘s presence at today’s practice was a welcome sight — regardless of his availability for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“I feel pretty good,” Fisher told NHL.com after practicing for the first time since May 18. “I skated a few days here. Still not cleared, but it felt good to get out there with the guys.”

Fisher was knocked out of the Western Conference Final in Game 4, after taking a Josh Manson knee to the head. That, combined with the loss of Ryan Johansen to season-ending thigh surgery, whittled Nashville’s center depth down to Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissions, Vern Fiddler and Frederick Gaudreau.

Even though Fisher is pointless through 14 playoff games, his return would still be massive. In addition to serving as team captain, he was averaging just under 17 minutes per night prior to getting hurt, while winning 52 percent of his faceoffs.

He said his undisclosed injury feels “a lot better than it was a few days ago,” adding that his goal is to return for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.

Fisher took minimal contact at today’s skate, and worked on a line with James Neal and Harry Zolnierczyk.