<span class="vcard">Cam Tucker</span>

Patrick Kane is ‘disappointed’ Toews has to miss first game back from All-Star break

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The Chicago Blackhawks play the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 2, following the All-Star break, however they will be without captain Jonathan Toews.

And that doesn’t please Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who is in Nashville for the 2016 All-Star Game this weekend.

“It’s disappointing,” Kane told the Chicago Tribune.

“I’m not really sure the rules of it or why that happens. Hopefully he can get better as soon as possible and definitely be ready for that game after. You look at our lineup and he’s a huge piece. We’ll definitely miss him for that game so hopefully some players can step up and it’ll be an important game coming back off the trip.”

Toews is missing the event in Nashville due to illness, which forced him to miss the entire third period against Carolina on Tuesday in what was his team’s final game before the break.

As a result of Toews forgoing the All-Star weekend, he is required to sit out his team’s first game after the break, which is on the road versus the Avalanche.

It’s an important Central Division game for both teams, too.

The Blackhawks have a three-point lead over the Dallas Stars in that division, but the Stars have three games in hand.

The Avalanche hold the top Wild Card spot in the West, but are only a point up on the suddenly red-hot Nashville Predators, winners of four straight, and two up on the Minnesota Wild.

The Predators also have two games in hand on Colorado, while the Wild have three.

With 30 games remaining in its schedule, Colorado is seven points back of St. Louis for third in the Central.

John Scott is ‘more than welcome to be here,’ says Bettman

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John Scott‘s rather unflattering account for The Players’ Tribune of how the NHL apparently tried to dissuade him from attending the 2016 All-Star Game is the latest in this storyline that has dominated the mid-season showcase event for months now.

Here’s the passage:

So when someone from the NHL calls me and says, “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”

However, according to multiple reports, the veteran enforcer Scott, voted into the skills competition and three-on-three event, and commissioner Gary Bettman have spoken, and from what we’re led to believe, their chat was a positive one.

After all, the NHL doesn’t really have much choice on the matter. Scott, joke or not, was voted into the All-Star event by the fans.

“And he’s more than welcome to be here,” Bettman told the Associated Press. “We’re happy he’s here. The fans spoke, and we’re happy to reflect their will.”

Scott reiterated that same message, according to ProHockeyTalk’s Mike Halford.

“Now that I’m here, it’s nice. They’ve been very welcoming. I sat down with Gary and we had a little, quick chat. It was good,” said Scott.

“He said we’re happy to have you here and we’re going to have a good time and make the best of it, and just have fun in Nashville.”

Scott was also asked if he and Bettman addressed what was written in The Players’ Tribune article.

“No, we just had a quick talk because I think he was worried about me not feeling welcome, and me being uncomfortable with this whole situation,” said Scott.

“He just said ‘we’re happy you’re here, we wanted you to be here and just go and have fun and our support’s behind you.’ It was nice to hear that, coming from him. Because there was a time I wasn’t sure what the league felt, but he kind of put those thoughts at rest.”

For his part, Scott said today that he plans on enjoying the festivities before heading back to the “real world.”

 

Video: Avalanche come back to knock off Kings despite lopsided shot totals

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Of course the Colorado Avalanche beat the L.A. Kings on Wednesday.

Yes, the shot totals were not kind to the Avalanche. They surrendered 72 shots attempts, including 50 at five-on-five, compared to just 37 attempts for (22 at even strength), according to hockeystats.ca, yet they were able to beat Jonathan Quick four times on the way to a 4-3 victory that keeps Colorado in the first Wild Card spot.

(Nashville has now won four straight after a victory in Calgary earlier in the evening, which pushes Minnesota out of a Wild Card spot in the West going into the All-Star break.)

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A few quick strikes on offence certainly helped the Avalanche.

Down 2-0 after the first period, and after being outshot 18-5, the Avalanche began the comeback on goals from Matt Duchene just 42 seconds into the second period and Gabriel Landeskog almost seven minutes later.

Down a goal in the third period, Landeskog once again got the Avalanche back on even terms late in a four-on-three power play. Just 2:57 later, Nathan MacKinnon scored what would be the eventual winner for Colorado.

Quick made only 15 stops on 19 shots faced, while Calvin Pickard made 35 saves for the win.

This game turned feisty, especially in the first period, when Milan Lucic accidentally punched linesman Jay Sharrers in the face during a scrum.

 

Video: Wideman says he apologized to linesman for ‘completely unintentional’ collision

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Dennis Wideman‘s collision with linesman Don Henderson lit an instant reaction on social media, but the Calgary Flames defenseman maintained to reporters that he couldn’t avoid the contact and there was no intent behind it.

Wideman was hit awkwardly into the boards a few seconds before colliding with Henderson in the neutral zone. As Wideman skated slowly to the bench, he hit Henderson — who was facing the play as he backed up, and did not see the Calgary blue liner — hard to the ice, with two hands on his stick similar to a cross check.

There was no call on the play. The Flames lost by a final score of 2-1 to the visiting Nashville Predators.

“I was just trying to get off the ice. And, at the last second, I looked up and saw him,” Wideman told Kristen Odland of Postmedia.

 

Video: Milan Lucic catches linesman with punch to the face during scrum

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It’s been a tough night for NHL linesmen.

It started with Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman causing a stir on social media after knocking down linesman Don Henderson during the second period against Nashville.

L.A. Kings’ forward Milan Lucic followed that up by accidentally catching Jay Sharrers with a shot to the face during a scrum in front of the Colorado Avalanche net.

The video clearly shows Lucic trying to punch Cody McLeod during the scrum, however he missed and his right glove hit Sharrers instead.

In fact, it almost appears Lucic apologized to Sharrers immediately after it happened.