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Chicago Wolves, AHL affiliate of struggling Blues, sign veteran NHL d-man Wisniewski

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James Wisniewski, a veteran of 552 NHL games, has signed a standard contract with the Chicago Wolves, the minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.

The deal was announced Sunday.

Wisniewski had a PTO with the Tampa Bay Lightning but was released in October, before he signed in the KHL. In 16 games with Vladivostok Admiral, he had one goal and four points.

“We are excited to have James as part of the Wolves organization,” said Wolves general manager Wendell Young in a release. “He brings a wealth of experience and skill to our team. He will be a great enhancement for an already outstanding group.”

The move to bring Wisniewski into the Wolves is interesting given their affiliation with the Blues — a team struggling this season and by no means a lock to make the Western Conference playoff bracket — and the fact he’s a right-shooting defenseman that has been productive at the NHL level.

Kevin Shattenkirk, also a right-shooting defenseman capable of producing from the blue line, has been subject to trade speculation for some time now.

He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and general manager Doug Armstrong didn’t really quell any speculation with recent comments, saying: “If we’re stumbling along like this, then all bets are off. We don’t want to keep players here, hope to sneak into eighth place and get hammered in the first round.”

The entire situation in St. Louis is one to keep an eye on over the next few weeks and months.

But for now, Wisniewski’s deal with the Wolves is an AHL-only deal, per Sportsnet.

Kings play-by-play broadcaster Bob Miller suffered mild stroke

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L.A. Kings play-by-play broadcaster Bob Miller suffered a mild stroke on Saturday, the club announced.

Miller, 78, was hospitalized Saturday after feeling discomfort prior to a live broadcast before the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in L.A.

“Bob Miller suffered a mild stroke on Saturday and was admitted to USC Keck Hospital where he currently remains,” said the Kings in a statement. “He is under the care of a team of specialized physicians, and he is doing well and in good spirits.”

Last January, Miller took a medical leave of absence to undergo quadruple bypass heart surgery.

He has been the voice of the Kings since 1973, and was honored in 2000 with the Foster Hewitt Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the game of hockey throughout his broadcast career.

Frustrating times in Florida for struggling Panthers

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After making the playoffs last season and a busy offseason with many important personnel moves, the Florida Panthers entered the 2016-17 campaign with much higher expectations.

But this season has been one giant and constant struggle for the Panthers.

Jonathan Huberdeau hasn’t even played a game because of an injury in pre-season. Aleksander Barkov has been out for a month and the timeline for both key players remains murky. Injuries have plagued this team for months.

They’ve gone through a coaching change and the subsequent controversy following the dismissal of Gerard Gallant.

So after all of that, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that putting results together on a consistent basis has been a difficult, if not impossible task. Despite the plethora of circumstances that have factored into Florida’s disappointing first half, the Panthers are still right there. Still right in the thick of a post-season race in the Eastern Conference.

“I think frustration is probably the main thing going through all of our heads in Florida right now and the more frustrated you get the more it kind of spirals downhill,” Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck told the Sun Sentinel following Sunday’s All-Star Game in L.A.

“It’s something we got to knock out of our heads. We’ll use this All-Star break, and we got a bye coming up, so use these two to kind of clear our heads.’’

The Panthers are just four points back of Philadelphia for the final wild card position, and four points back of Boston in the Atlantic Division. With 32 games left in their season, there is still time, plenty of it, in fact, to climb the standings. They entered the break on a winning note, but had previously dropped all four games on a Western road trip.

The All-Star weekend is over and the Panthers will resume their schedule at home against the Ottawa Senators, an Atlantic Division foe, on Tuesday.

Blackhawks place Rozsival on IR, recall Forsling from AHL

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Gustav Forsling is back in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 20-year-old defenseman originally made the big club out of training camp but was then sent to Rockford in the AHL earlier this month. He was recalled on Sunday. In a corresponding move, Chicago placed forward Michal Rozsival on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 25.

Per the Chicago Sun-Times, the injury to Rozsival occurred during practice.

In 14 games this season, the 38-year-old Rozsival has just one assist.

Forsling, originally a draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks before he was dealt to Chicago, has played 32 games for the Blackhawks this season.

After making a strong impression on the coaching staff during training camp, he went on to score one goal and four points with the Blackhawks before being sent down.

The Blackhawks are four points back of Minnesota for the Central Division lead. They visit the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Wayne Simmonds is your All-Star Game MVP

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Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers has captured the NHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award.

Originally drafted by the L.A. Kings, Simmonds wins the award in the same city and arena where his NHL career started. In Philly, he has blossomed into an impact power forward for the Flyers and there is the potential for this season to be his most productive. He’s up to 21 goals and 38 points this season.

Simmonds scored twice in the Metropolitan Division’s win over the Atlantic Division to reach the final, putting himself at least into the conversation for the MVP award.

Against Connor McDavid and the stars of the Pacific Division, Simmonds scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the second half of the main event Sunday. The Metropolitan, with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, won 4-3 to earn the $1 million grand prize. 

Simmonds buried a perfect pass from Taylor Hall, who immediately broke into the zone from the faceoff following the Cam Atkinson tying goal.