Ryan McDonagh
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McDonagh out with concussion after Saturday’s altercation with Simmonds

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The New York Rangers will be without Ryan McDonagh tonight at home to New Jersey, the club announcing this morning that the defenseman is out with a concussion.

McDonagh left Saturday’s game in Philadelphia following an altercation with the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds that ended with McDonagh taking a punch to the face from Simmonds.

Simmonds received a match penalty and was thrown out of the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline.

Given the standings, the Rangers can ill afford to lose McDonagh for long. They play in Pittsburgh Wednesday, followed by three home games against Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

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NHL confirms Wideman was diagnosed with concussion after hitting linesman (Video)

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The Dennis Wideman saga took another turn on Wednesday evening.

In the video explanation for Wideman’s 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson, the league revealed that — after the Flames-Preds game in which the incident occurred — Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion, potentially suffered on a hit he took moments before colliding with Henderson.

“It is accepted for the purposes of this decision that he was later diagnosed as having suffered a concussion,” the NHL explained. “However, that fact even accepted as true, cannot excuse Wideman’s subsequent actions.

“First, although he appears to get up slowly from being checked, Wideman skates steadily and purposefully to his bench, taking a half dozen strides to get there. Wideman also demonstrates his continued awareness of his circumstances and surroundings when, upon approaching the Calgary blueline, he raises his stick and taps it on the ice to alert his teammates that he’s coming off for a line change.”

The hit Wideman took — delivered by Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki — was judged to be a “hard, legal check.”

It should be mentioned that 1) there’s been no confirmation that Wideman’s injury was a direct result of the Salomaki collision, and 2) the league made mention of the fact Wideman refused medical attention while on the bench, and remained in the game.

The video:

Related:

NHLPA ‘strongly’ disagrees with Wideman suspension, will appeal

Leafs prospect Nylander set to return to Marlies lineup after concussion … and appendicitis

More than a month after his last American Hockey League game, Toronto Maple Leafs prospects William Nylander is set to make his return to the Marlies lineup versus the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday.

Nylander, selected eighth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, last suited up for the Marlies on Dec. 18.

He suffered a concussion while playing for Sweden at the world juniors. And, as he revealed to Marlies broadcaster Todd Crocker, Nylander also dealt with a bout of appendicitis after completing the concussion protocol.

“I’m really excited. Been a month off on vacation, so I mean I’m ready to get back at it,” Nylander told Marlies TV prior to Friday’s game in Grand Rapids.

“I went through concussion protocol and that went by pretty quickly. Once I started to get back on the ice, was on the ice for a week, I basically came back … and had appendicitis. Then I was out for a couple of days, they gave me antibiotics and stuff, so it’s been a little of a delay with the return.”

The Marlies also play Saturday at home against the Binghamton Senators.

In 27 games with the Marlies this season, Nylander has 14 goals and 34 points.

Despres (concussion) back for Ducks after missing last 42 games

at SAP Center on October 10, 2015 in San Jose, California.
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Busy day in Anaheim.

After the Ducks waived d-man Adam Clendening, then learned veteran forward Shawn Horcoff was suspended 20 games for PEDs, the club confirmed that blueliner Simon Despres would draw back into the lineup tonight for the first time since suffering a concussion in October.

“First of all, to have him back, when he’s at his best he was very solid for us,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said, per ESPN. “He’s a big, strong-bodied guy. He can play lots of minutes. What I’m expecting from him today is just a simple game, get his feet wet and do the right things and not try to over do things on his first night.

“If we get that we’ll be very happy.”

The Ducks have been high on Despres since acquiring him from Pittsburgh last season, and inked him to a five-year, $18.5 million extension right at the beginning of this year.

Despres,who missed the last 42 games, is skating on a pairing with Sami Vatanen in advance of tonight’s game in Boston.

Goalie nods: With Ward (concussion) on IR, Lack assumes No. 1 duties in Carolina

Eddie Lack, Stanislav Galiev

It’s Eddie Lack time for the ‘Canes.

Lack, who’s been Cam Ward‘s understudy for most of this season — Ward’s started 30 times, Lack 15 — will now transition into the starter’s role, beginning tonight when Carolina takes on the Leafs in Toronto.

Ward was placed on IR yesterday with a concussion, which resulted in 21-year-old Czech netminder Daniel Altshuller being recalled from AHL Charlotte.

Altshuller is relatively inexperienced, in the midst of his first American League campaign after spending time with ECHL Florida.

Carolina’s third-round pick in 2012, Altshuller has played well for the Checkers this season, going 9-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA, a .941 save percentage and one shutout in 11 games.

But he likely won’t challenge Lack for minutes.

As such, this marks a real opportunity for the Swedish ‘tender to take hold of the No. 1 job, as Ward’s a pending UFA with no guarantee of returning next season. Lack, who signed a two-year extension with Carolina right before the start of the season, hasn’t been great this year — 8-9-1, 2.97 GAA, .891 save percentage — but has gone 5-2-2 in his last nine starts.

For Toronto, James Reimer gets the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Jacob Markstrom gives the in-form Ryan Miller a rest when the Canucks take on the Bruins in Boston. Markstrom will likely be up against Tuukka Rask.

Craig Anderson versus Cory Schneider as the Sens go up against the Devils at Prudential.

— Both the Flyers and Penguins will roll with their No. 1s in the latest installment of the Battle of Pennsylvania: Steve Mason versus Marc-Andre Fleury.

Karri Ramo goes back in for the Flames tonight, after Bob Hartley went with Jonas Hiller for a brief stretch. Ramo will be up against Sergei Bobrovsky for Columbus.

— Stanley Cup Final rematch between the ‘Hawks and Bolts tonight, and each team will be going with the guys that were in goal for last June’s decisive Game 6: Corey Crawford, and Ben Bishop.

— It’s Pekka Rinne up against Connor Hellebuyck as the Preds visit Winnipeg.

— After getting a rest the other night in favor of Anders Nilsson, Cam Talbot returns to the Edmonton net. Looks like Antti Niemi will go for Dallas.

— San Jose will look to rebound from a shootout loss to Ottawa, and will do so with Martin Jones in goal. No confirmation from Arizona yet, but it looks like the Coyotes will stick with Louis Domingue.

Devan Dubnyk gets the night off after playing on Wednesday against the Ducks, so Darcy Kuemper starts in L.A. He’ll be up against Jonathan Quick.