<span class="vcard">James O'Brien</span>

Steve Mason

Mason returns to Flyers fold early as Zepp gets the hook

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It was expected that Steve Mason would back up Rob Zepp for the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, but a tough start for Zepp changed those plans.

The Toronto Maple Leafs scored two goals on eight shots against Zepp, with a Tyler Bozak tally 5:33 into the second period being enough to inspire a goalie change.

Mason’s readiness will be something to watch in this one. He told PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban on Wednesday that he felt as if he hadn’t skated in a “couple weeks” thanks to a knee injury, so we’ll see if he’s sharp in relief duty.

Update: Mason only allowed one goal on Thursday, and the Flyers made a charge to get back into the game, but Toronto ultimately won 3-2 thanks to a fantastic performance by Jonathan Bernier.

Clarkson is glad to hit ‘reset button’ in Columbus

David Clarkson
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Playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs was a boyhood dream for David Clarkson, but it quickly became a nightmare. It’s not too surprising that he’s glad to get a (relatively) clean slate with the Columbus Blue Jackets, then.

He certainly seemed happy about the stunning trade according to what he told the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.

“I’m looking forward to hitting the reset button,” Clarkson said. “The way they want to play the game? … that’s my style of game.”

At their best, the Blue Jackets can be a relentless opponent, which is indeed the kind of mindset Clarkson deployed during his greatest moments in his stint with the New Jersey Devils. That power forward style was largely inhibited in Toronto, and the fault was largely his own (even if injuries and suspensions didn’t exactly make things easier).

PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban caught up with Leafs GM Dave Nonis, who backed up the notion that things just didn’t seem to click for the 30-year-old in Toronto.

“Sometimes players, for whatever reason, don’t fit in a certain city or certain organization,” Nonis said. “I believe in David, I think he’s going to go there and play well. I think he’s going to go in there and fit in with that group and have the impact there that we had hoped he would have here, but we were in a situation where it wasn’t working out as well as we had hoped or as he had hoped.”

He may already enjoy a fairly prominent role if Brandon Dubinsky’s injury is significant. Either way, it’s the kind of deal that makes financial sense for both teams … and might just open the door for Clarkson’s redemption.

As far as when that turnaround may begin, it sounds like that’s a work in progress at the moment.

Toronto won tonight’s game 3-2 against the Philadelphia Flyers while the Blue Jackets fell to the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-2, for what it’s worth.

Blue Jackets’ Dubinsky suffers upper-body injury, won’t return

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins
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Even on a night when a trade is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ biggest story, they still suffer from the theme of this season, as Brandon Dubinsky is once again injured.

He appeared to suffer the issue (labeled an upper-body injury) following a collision with Tom Gilbert right after scoring a goal. Dubinsky won’t return to tonight’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, the Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports.

Here’s that painful moment following his tally:

Dubinsky’s season has already been limited by injury issues, so this has to be frustrating for the versatile forward and his remarkably unlucky team.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Predators on NBCSN

Nashville Predators v Minnesota Wild
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The mainstream hockey public might not be fully aware of how impressive the Nashville Predators have been this season, but Thursday is a chance to see Pekka Rinne & Co. in action.

The Minnesota Wild hope to spoil that impression and improve their playoff odds in the process. You can see this game – which is especially significant for Minnesota – on NBCSN but also by streaming via NBC Sports Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Want more on this game? Read this preview from earlier today.

Firing talk doesn’t bother Bruins’ Julien

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There are rumors that Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien’s job being on the line this season, but he insists to CSNNE.com that those murmurs aren’t a problem.

“If they think I can do the job, that’s great. If they don’t think that the job has been done to the expectations of what should have been done, that’s their prerogative,” Julien said. “Those things don’t even faze me in the least bit. Trust me when I say that. I’m here, I’m happy and I’m doing my job working with players, and people around me, that I enjoy working with. When that doesn’t suffice anymore then you move on, and that’s the life of a coach.”

If nothing else, Julien boasts the sort of resume that would place him in high demand if his eight-season tenure with the Bruins does end. He’s won a Stanley Cup, made it two championship rounds, grabbed a Presidents’ Trophy and guided the B’s to a playoff berth in every season so far.

Heading into Thursday’s games, the Bruins have 67 points in 60 games played, good for the East’s final wild card spot. That lead is pretty slim, however, so Julien & Co. have to be feeling the heat a little bit.

That margin is even smaller with David Krejci on the mend. ESPN’s Joe McDonald reports that Krejci was placed on LTIR. While that doesn’t necessarily keep him out for the entire season, it’s another reminder that an offensively challenged Bruins team has its work cut out for it.