Cam Tucker

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Video: Oleksiak dangles through the Blues for this beauty goal

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Jamie Oleksiak isn’t known for his scoring.

He had just two goals in 86 career NHL games entering Monday’s contest against the St. Louis Blues.

And then, almost from out of nowhere, the six-foot-seven-inch tall defenseman decided to display some superb stickhandling skills leading to a beautiful goal, getting the Dallas Stars on the board late in the second period.

The spotlight is about to once again shine on McDavid vs. Matthews

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Auston Matthews #34 of Team North America celebrates his first period power play goal with Connor McDavid #97 against Team Sweden during the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 21, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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In a league stacked with talented young players, two of the brightest stars in the NHL’s youth movement face off against each other tomorrow.

It’s Connor McDavid versus Auston Matthews. Round Two. (Yes, it will be on the NBCSN, too.)

This meeting between the two phenom forwards, both selected first overall with tremendous talent and expectations, also comes at a time when McDavid and Matthews are playing some terrific hockey for their respective clubs.

Nine days ago, McDavid recorded his first career NHL hat trick and has been on a tear since then with 10 points in his last five games. That’s a dominant stretch for a player many expected to begin to dominate the league in his sophomore season.

Yet, in his last game against the Maple Leafs, McDavid was held off the score sheet, despite four shots on goal. Containing McDavid presents a difficult task for Toronto, but it’s not entirely impossible, either.

“Just get in his way, be physical, be hard on him. . . . If you are anything else but hard, he’ll make plays and embarrass you,” said Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, per the Toronto Star.

Matthews, who just snapped a 13-game scoring drought, has five points in his last four games, and head coach Mike Babcock has stated before that he can see his rookie center also becoming a dominant player in this league very soon.

The Maple Leafs are in a rebuild, but they have plenty of young talent on their roster, which just beat Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, and Matthews is the leader of this new wave. 

The NHL is in the midst of a remarkable surge of youthful talent, from McDavid and Matthews to Patrik Laine and Mitch Marner, to Johnny Gaudreau and Aaron Ekblad — among many others. It’s a long and impressive list.

The spotlight shines on McDavid vs. Matthews 2.0 tomorrow night.

We have a trade to announce: Blue Jackets acquire Stanton from Avs in exchange for Goloubef

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 17:  Cody Goloubef #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets controls the puck during the game against the Detroit Red Wings on March 17, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Detroit defeated Columbus 3-1. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche made a trade Monday, exchanging defensemen that have so far spent this season in the American Hockey League.

The Blue Jackets acquired Ryan Stanton in exchange for Cody Goloubef.

Stanton, 27, has been reassigned to the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL. In 15 games this season with the San Antonio Rampage, he had one goal and four points.

Goloubef, 26, had two goals and seven points in 16 games with the Monsters. He has been reassigned to the Rampage.

While he’s in the minors for right now, Stanton does have a familiarity with Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella. The two worked together in Vancouver when Tortorella coached there during the 2013-14 season.

 

DeBoer hopes Boedker is ‘pissed off’ after getting benched versus Ducks

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 07:  Mikkel Boedker #89 of the San Jose Sharks watches from the bench during the first period of the preseason NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 7, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Jose Sharks made a splash into free agent waters in the summer, signing forward Mikkel Boedker to a four-year, $16 million deal.

So far, the returns have been minimal.

It wasn’t that long ago the speedy forward accomplished a 19-goal, 51-point season in Phoenix. But Boedker’s tenure in San Jose has so far yielded two goals and zero assists in 22 games — and that’s with time spent on a line with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton.

Further to that, Boedker hasn’t recorded a shot on goal in his last two games, either.

So, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer decided to bench Boedker for the third period Saturday against the rival Anaheim Ducks, according to CSN Bay Area.

“I would hope he’s pissed off. It’s always a last resort as a coach,” said DeBoer.

“You run through some different ways to try and get the player going, so to speak. And, overall, I’ve got to be honest with you – and this is the same conversation I’ve had with him – I don’t care about goals or points. It’s if the compete [that] starts to slip, I have a problem. I just felt that we had at that point in the game [Kevin] Labanc was moving and had a good edge to his game, and deserved to play. I’m sure [Boedker will] bounce back.”

It’s still kind of early in the season, so there is time for Boedker to turn it around. But, that’s a lot of money for a player stapled to the bench in a critical point in a game against a Pacific Division opponent.

“Everybody has expectations, obviously,” said Boedker. “It’s always hard to keep confidence up when you don’t score, don’t do that well. You’ve got to continue to grind at it and continue to try and make good plays, and just play your game.”

Meanwhile, there could be positive news on the injury front for the Sharks.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who left Saturday’s game before the third period, and forward Melker Karlsson, out since Nov. 12, both skated Monday, per the San Jose Mercury News, although their status for tomorrow’s game against the Arizona Coyotes is still up in the air.

Quick recovery: Hall returns to practice 12 days after knee surgery

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 22:  Taylor Hall #9 of the New Jersey Devils takes the puck in the third period against Minnesota Wild on October 22, 2016 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.The New Jersey Devils defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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That didn’t take long.

Less than two full weeks after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Taylor Hall is back practicing with the New Jersey Devils.

That’s good news for a Devils team that could use the boost in scoring as it looks to maintain a playoff spot. New Jersey currently holds down the final Wild Card spot in the East, while Hall hasn’t played since Nov. 12.

Hall was originally expected to miss three to four weeks following his procedure on Nov. 16. He’s already back practicing, but has reportedly been ruled out for Tuesday’s road game against the Winnipeg Jets.

“I don’t think I’m rushing anything,” said Hall, per NHL.com. “I’m not being pressured to play any quicker than I have to. I’ve been able to heal quickly and I’ve worked hard to put myself in this spot and get back as soon as I can.”

Still, it’s a promising development for the Devils, who have points in three straight games. Mike Cammalleri, who missed six games due to personal reasons, has carried the offense in this recent span with four goals and eight points, earning him the NHL’s second star for the week.

Hall had four points in his last three games before having to exit the lineup.

The Devils are currently on a four-game road trip, with stops in Chicago on Thursday and Nashville on Saturday.

“We’re going to see how he does through practices and see how he does near the end of the week,” said coach John Hynes. “We’ll see where he is after a few more days of practices.”