Author: James O'Brien

Logan Couture, Duncan Keith

Logan Couture resumes skating for first time since surgery

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The San Jose Sharks are on a four-game winning streak – all during a big road trip – but that probably won’t stop them from missing Logan Couture.

There’s good news in that regard, as reports that he skated for the first time since his Oct. 17 surgery for a broken fibula.

“It’s a real positive for us,” Sharks assistant Steve Spott said. “It’s nice to see him back on skates and it’s nice to see he’s got his gear back on. He’s taking part in meetings now with the team, and hopefully it’s sooner than later. It’s definitely a nice shot of adrenaline for us.”

Couture views his recovery as a day-by-day process, whatever that means in the grand scheme of things.

The Sharks wrap up their six-game road trip by visiting the Penguins tonight and the Blue Jackets on Sunday. They’re seeing the end of the tunnel on that long road, and it sounds like they’re getting a glimpse of it with their injured young star.

Caps send message to Burakovsky with healthy scratch

Andre Burakovsky
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Heading into the 2015-16 season, it seemed like Andre Burakovsky could make just as much of an impact as Evgeny Kuznetsov for the Washington Capitals.

That … hasn’t exactly happened.

For that reason, Barry Trotz hopes to get Burakovsky’s attention in the clearest way: a healthy scratch on Saturday. has more.

“Sometimes you pull him out and he gets to reassess,” Trotz said. “There’s nothing that gets your message across like pulling a player out. A little more detail and a little more production and he should be fine.”

It seems like the young forward is struggling in ways both obvious and subtle.

With Burakovsky out, Justin Williams gets bumped to the second line (with Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson) while Stanislav Galiev gets to play against the Colorado Avalanche.

For more, check out that story.

NHL’s newest dynamic duo: Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl

Taylor Hall, Oscar Klefbom, Leon Draisaitl, Teddy Purcell, Mark Fayne

Leon Draisaitl almost seems like a different player than the one who seemed out of place in the NHL during the 2014-15 season.

“The Deutschland Dangler” continued to develop white-hot chemistry with Taylor Hall on Friday night, as the two starred in a convincing 5-1 win against the New Jersey Devils.

Both players enjoyed three-point nights after Hall completed an empty-net goal sequence.

Draisaitl’s sophomore leap has been especially resounding; he has 10 points during a five-game point streak (scoring at least a goal in those four contests) and has six multi-point games so far this season.

He’s played in 10 games, folks, with 17 points overall.

This pairing has been so impressive, you could forgive some Oilers fans for forgetting that Connor McDavid is on the shelf, even temporarily. Just imagine how interesting Edmonton might be if they can pair up Draisaitl – Hall (name submission: “Kid and the Hall”) and McDavid – Nail Yakupov, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fitting in when appropriate?

Hey, they could even have three pairings with RNH + Jordan Eberle, if they want to be especially bold.

It’s almost as if it’s beneficial to stack high-end draft talent for years and years, eh?

Are the Leafs finally primed to ride Reimer?

James Reimer

Want a sign that the Toronto Maple Leafs are truly handing the torch to James Reimer, at least for the moment? Tonight might provide that evidence.

After another sterling Reimer performance boosted the Leafs to a 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Mike Babcock was convinced of his earlier notion to give Reimer back-to-back starts.

That’s one of those things that normally happen for workhorse-type No. 1 goalies, right?

Really, how could Toronto deny Reimer, unless tanking truly is the goal?

Look at all of these Reimer stats:

Meanwhile, fair or not, Jonathan Bernier‘s stuck at a 0-7-1 record with poor individual stats.

Will this stick even if Reimer has a hiccup? Maybe, maybe not. So far, he’s taking that decision out of Babcock’s hands.

Canadiens carve out win in Price’s return

Carey Price
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Sure, there were signs of rust here and there, but Carey Price is back.

The Montreal Canadiens are back on the winning track, too, edging the New York Islanders 5-3 after dropping a loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

It’s the fifth straight win for Montreal against the Isles, with Price making 31 out of 34 stops. He easily cleared the bar of merely being better than Jaroslav Halak tonight, as Price’s former crease-mate was pulled after just one period.

(Price also showed some snarl, which was needed as players such as Brock Nelson tried to invade his crease.)

While Price is the obvious headliner, supporting cast members were the other big story of this one. Jeff Petry stood out, in particular, managing his first career two-goal game.

This win leaves Montreal alone atop the East, with only Dallas ahead of the Habs based on tie-breakers, as the two teams both own 32 standings points.