Cam Tucker

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks

Alex Edler may be the latest victim of the injury bug in Vancouver

Injuries continue to be a concern for the Vancouver Canucks.

It appears Alex Edler could become the latest casualty, following Saturday’s shootout win in Colorado.

The Canucks website on Sunday had Edler listed on injured reserve. He played just 3:59 on Saturday, in the final game of a three-game road trip, after reportedly blocking a shot with his hand.

Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun reported that Edler will have X-rays in Vancouver, but head coach Willie Desjardins didn’t seem optimistic about the pending status of his defenseman.

Not having Edler in the lineup would be a significant loss for the Canucks, especially with Chris Tanev already out due to injury since Nov. 2.

Without Edler for the bulk of Saturday’s game, Ben Hutton was asked to play just over 26 minutes. Luca Sbisa, Troy Stecher, Erik Gudbranson and Nikita Tryamkin were all asked to each play more than 20 minutes, which is taxing considering Vancouver was playing in the second half of a back-to-back situation on the road.

Stecher continues to impress, despite being considered an undersized defender with rookie status. But Desjardins has shown little trepidation using Stecher in high-pressure situations.

An injury to Edler could mean the return of Philip Larsen to the lineup.

A right-shot defenseman brought in to run the power play from the point, Larsen has struggled defensively while recording only four assists, including only two on the power play.

The Canucks play the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Report: Vatrano (foot) could return to Bruins lineup before Christmas

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 17:  Frank Vatrano #72 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden on November 17, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Sharks defeat the Bruins 5-4.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Frank Vatrano has yet to suit up for the Boston Bruins this season, but he took another step this week toward changing that.

He reportedly skated on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair torn ligaments in his foot after he suffered an injury during offseason training.

He was initially expected to miss at least three months as a result of the injury, but there could be a light approaching quicker than anyone thought on the horizon.


Given he’s resumed skating, it’s likely that Vatrano is a few weeks away from being able to rejoin practicing with the team and could be looking at a 2 ½ month return to game action from injury rather than the three month timetable initially set out for him. In essence, Vatrano might be able to return prior to Christmas when it was initially assumed he’d be out for the 2016 portion of the 2016-17 regular season.

This is promising news for the Bruins, who are among the bottom third of the league when it comes to scoring, with 2.44 goals-for per game.

Vatrano has been a prolific scorer at the American Hockey League level, with 36 goals in 36 games last season in Providence. That’s a ridiculous rate and he has shown glimpses that his prowess could carry over to the NHL.

The 22-year-old forward had eight goals in 39 games in Boston last season, which included a hat trick in December against the Penguins.

Related: Looking to make the leap: Frank Vatrano

Duchene feels good after his winning return, but Landeskog remains out versus Oilers

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche awaits a face off against the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche got a boost with the return of Matt Duchene to the lineup Monday.

After missing four games due to a concussion, Duchene came back and scored the winner in overtime against the surprisingly hot Columbus Blue Jackets, playing almost 17 minutes after a full week away.

“I feel good,” said Duchene. “I feel like it’s a good start. Obviously, I have lots to build on to get back to where I was when I left off there.”

Good news then for the Avalanche that Duchene is back. However, they will have to wait a little longer before Gabriel Landeskog (lower-body injury that required him to remain in Denver during this latest road trip) is back in game action.

Per Mike Chambers of the Denver Post, Landeskog will not play versus the Oilers on Wednesday, as the Avalanche open up a five-game home stand.

The Avalanche have struggled at times, as mistakes have come back to haunt them, but they’re only two points out of a Wild Card spot.

With two days until Thanksgiving, the Oilers, led by young star Connor McDavid, lead the Pacific Division following Monday’s thorough victory over Chicago and are looking to get on a roll here at the quarter mark of the season.

Sharks, Burns agree to eight-year deal


You can call Brent Burns the most interesting person in hockey.

So, of course, his contract status with the San Jose Sharks is of considerable interest around the league, but especially for fans of that team.

In the final year of his current contract and a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Burns and the Sharks made significant progress in their latest contract talks, per hockey insider Pierre LeBrun on Tuesday.

Shortly after that surfaced, Burns and the Sharks agreed to an eight-year deal, worth a reported average annual value of about $8 million. That’s a significant raise.

“Brent is one the most dynamic players in the National Hockey League and we’re very excited to get this deal done,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson in a statement. “He has worked extremely hard to be an elite defenseman and at six-foot-five, 230-pounds, his abilities on this ice are unique and rare.”

That’s also quite a lengthy commitment to a defenseman — as terrific a player as Burns is right now — that will turn 32 years old in March. That’s definitely something to keep in mind down the road.

His current contract is a five-year deal worth $28.8 million.

You can understand why the Sharks would want to keep Burns.

In addition to having one of the most fascinating off-ice personalities, he’s one of the most dynamic players — not just defensemen — in the league. He was up for the Norris Trophy last season, along with Erik Karlsson of the Senators and Drew Doughty of the Kings.

Going beyond the facial hair, Burns has been a beast over the years for the Sharks. He scored 27 goals last season on defense, and recorded 75 points. Impressive stuff, but he took that to a different level in the playoffs, averaging a point per game in 24 contests as the Sharks made it to the Stanley Cup Final.

He has seven goals and 16 points in 19 games this season. After getting so close to the ultimate goal last season, the Sharks should still be considered in that window to take a run at the championship.

“We had a special year, last year, and it’s exciting to build on that,” Burns told reporters.

“When you get that taste of winning and how special it is … this is a hard league. I say it a lot. Every night’s going to be tough. Great teams. When you have a special group and you put yourself in that chance to fight for it every year, that’s what it’s about.”

Report: Del Zotto is the latest healthy scratch thanks to Flyers crowded blue line

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 19: Michael Del Zotto #15 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the San Jose Sharks at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Last week, it was Shayne Gostisbehere. Tonight, it will apparently be Michael Del Zotto.

Yes, Del Zotto will reportedly be a healthy scratch when the Philadelphia Flyers — a team carrying eight defensemen at the moment — take on the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Last week, coach Dave Hakstol explained the decision of sitting Gostisbehere, a finalist for the 2015-16 rookie of the year, saying it was all part of the “growth and development” and “accountability” for a young player.

Here is what Hakstol had to say, per the Courier-Post, about sitting Del Zotto: “I think there’s been stretches of excellent play and there’s been some areas of his game that he’s got to clean up.”

With those eight healthy blue liners, Hakstol may choose to go with a revolving door to the press box until he finds a combination that he believes is working for him.

The Flyers have a record of 8-8-3 and sit only two points out of a Wild Card spot in the East. But this has to be a disappointing start given they made the playoffs last year.

As for Del Zotto, his season has so far been reduced to seven games. He has one goal and four points in that time, after missing the first 12 games due to a knee injury.

The Flyers have three games in the next four nights, a challenging stretch that will see them play the Panthers tonight, Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, and the high-scoring New York Rangers on Friday afternoon.