Jason Brough

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15:  Goaltender Mike Smith #41 of the Arizona Coyotes is introduced before the NHL game against Philadelphia Flyers at Gila River Arena on October 15, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Smith heads home to get diagnosis from Coyotes’ doctors


The Arizona Coyotes still have five games left on their road trip, but goalie Mike Smith is headed home to see the team’s doctors after getting injured Tuesday in Ottawa.

Smith had an MRI yesterday but head coach Dave Tippett said there’s still no diagnosis, per Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. For now, the Coyotes are considering Smith day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Louis Domingue will start tonight in Montreal, backed up by Justin Peters, who’s been recalled from the AHL on an emergency basis.

“It’s definitely not the plan having Mike down,” Domingue said, per the team’s website, “but when someone goes down the guys have to step up, and I’m just one of them.”

The Coyotes also play tomorrow in Brooklyn and Sunday in Manhattan, so it’s possible that Peters could see some action. The 30-year-old spent all of last season in the AHL. He hasn’t been in the NHL since 2014-15, when he struggled as Braden Holtby‘s backup in Washington.

Brian Campbell expected to be healthy scratch

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01:  Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks participates in warm-ups before a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues at United Center on October 1, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell is expected to be a healthy scratch Friday in Columbus, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

It’s a somewhat surprising development considering the attention Campbell’s return to Chicago was given over the summer, but the ‘Hawks have eight defensemen on the roster and that means, when everyone’s healthy, two have to sit each game.

“We don’t want the same two guys sitting out all the time,” head coach Joel Quenneville said. “Sometimes you don’t want to tinker with a winning lineup, and sometimes . . . you’ve got to get them in there to play. That’s what we’re visiting.”

The Sun-Times says to expect Trevor van Riemsdyk to get back into the lineup against the Blue Jackets, paired with rookie Gustav Forsling. Van Riemsdyk has only played once this season, and his name has recently popped up in trade rumors.

Veteran Michal Rozsival has yet to play, but could get in the lineup soon. He skated with Campbell at practice Wednesday.

Starting Friday in Columbus, the ‘Hawks play three games in four nights. They host Toronto Saturday and Calgary Monday. So the decision to scratch Campbell could, in part, be a way to keep the 37-year-old fresh in the early stages of a long season.

But it may also be related to the side he plays. Campbell shoots left, and last season in Florida he played the left side paired with either Aaron Ekblad or Erik Gudbranson, both of whom shoot right.

So far in Chicago, Campbell’s been on the right side, paired with left-shooting Forsling, who was not expected to make the team. Van Riemsdyk and Rozsival both shoot right and may be more natural partners for either Campbell or Forsling.

At any rate, time will tell how everything shakes out.

“That’s the thing with our defense,” said Quenneville. “You haven’t etched in stone how long it’s going to be with one guy. … That’ll be fun to see exactly how it’s going to end up.”

Lower stakes, but Sharks aim to ‘make a statement’ in return to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 01:  The Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate after Conor Sheary #43 scored the game-winning goal against Martin Jones #31 of the San Jose Sharks to win 2-1 in overtime during Game Two of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on June 1, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH (AP) The stakes are nowhere near the same: hockey immortality versus two points in the standings in the second week of a long season.

Still, the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins expect the atmosphere to be a little more heated than the usual NHL October product when they meet Thursday night barely four months removed from Pittsburgh’s six-game victory in the Stanley Cup Final.

“It was obviously tough to go on that long a journey and lose the way we did,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “I don’t think there was any doubt at the end of the day they deserved to win, but at the same time I think for us it’s a chance to go in, and we’re a different team this year, and make a statement that we are a different team this year.”

The Penguins, in essence, are not. They brought back nearly the entire group that captured the franchise’s fourth championship and led to a raucous downtown parade in mid-June. A week removed from a giddy opening night in which the 2016 Cup banner was raised at newly renamed PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins are trying to focus on the next chapter instead of the last one.

That shouldn’t be a problem.

The Penguins are coming off sloppy performances in an overtime loss to Colorado on Monday and a 4-0 setback in Montreal on Tuesday. Captain Sidney Crosby – the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the 2016 playoffs – remains out indefinitely with a concussion and goaltender Matt Murray is still on the mend from a broken hand.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan is focused on his team getting its act together. The fact the Sharks (3-1) happen to be next on the schedule is coincidental.

“You’ve got to bring your A-game each and every night to give yourself a chance,” Sullivan said. “But certainly, coming off the type of game we had (against Montreal) and our opponent moving forward, there should be plenty of motivation for us to make sure we respond the right way.”

The Penguins did relentlessly during the 2016 postseason, seizing control of the best-of-seven final by taking the first two games at home and eventually closing the Sharks out on the road in Game 6. The giddy celebration in the visiting locker room in San Jose will be long remembered. It also won’t mean a thing when the puck drops on Thursday.

“They’re probably going to have a chip on their shoulder and we obviously didn’t play too great (in Montreal), so we’re obviously going to have a chip on ours,” forward Bryan Rust said. “I think it’s going to be a physical, playoff-like atmosphere.”

San Jose appears just as sharp as it was last spring when it reached the Cup Final for the first time ever. If the Sharks need a reminder of how close they came, they only need look up at Pittsburgh’s banner-strewn rafters. There’s no going back, however. Another long trek to the postseason awaits. Thursday night is just one more step in the process.

“It’s important that we keep building our game and trying to get better,” captain Joe Pavelski said. “We understand it’s a long ways from getting back to that position and this is a good team that we’ll be playing.”


It’s Matthews vs. Laine in Winnipeg, where the Jets have started slow

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Patrik Laine celebrates after being selected second overall by the Winnipeg Jets during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The pre-game hype has been all about the first meeting between Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, the first and second overall picks in the 2016 draft, respectively.

But for the Winnipeg Jets, tonight’s home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs should be about figuring things out, before the season starts veering off the rails.

The Jets have not been very good out of the gate. They’re 1-2-0 after three games, and their only win required a third-period comeback from 4-1 down to Carolina. At five on five, they have not controlled the puck enough in the attacking zone, and their possession stats reflect as much.

On Monday, the Jets dropped a 4-1 decision to Boston. They outshot the Bruins, 35-25, but failed to score on the 13 shots they tallied on five power plays.

“I still think we have another level of work to get to, with our work ethic,” said defenseman Tyler Myers, per the Winnipeg Sun. “It was better (against Boston) and we spent more time in the offensive zone, but there’s another level we can get to, (one) that’s more consistent.”

The Jets entered the season with a good deal of optimism, buoyed by the drafting of Laine and the arrival of top prospect Kyle Connor. There was also reason to think the goaltending might improve after Ondrej Pavelec was sent to the AHL, but young Connor Hellebuyck has an .863 save percentage in two starts, and oh by the way, the “long term” injury to center Bryan Little hasn’t helped either.

Meanwhile, the Jacob Trouba situation hangs over the club. He has to sign an NHL contract by Dec. 1, otherwise he can’t play the rest of the season. It remains to be seen if the club will grant his trade request. And if he does get dealt, what will the Jets get for him?

The Jets host the Leafs tonight, then play outdoors Sunday against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.

Related: Babies get in free: NHL changes ticket policy after outcry in Winnipeg

The winless Kings expect Quick to miss ‘about three months’


The Los Angeles Kings expect goalie Jonathan Quick to miss “about three months” with a reported groin injury, according to Lisa Dillman of the L.A. Times. 

Quick has not had surgery and has not yet been placed on long-term injured reserve, but all eyes will be on GM Dean Lombardi to see if the Kings (0-3-0) make a move now.

At the moment, the Kings’ netminding tandem is comprised of Jeff Zatkoff, who has just 31 career NHL starts to his name, and Peter Budaj, who’s spent the last couple of years in the AHL.

Quick, in stark contrast to those two, started 68 games last season, and he started 71 the season before. He’s been a fixture in L.A.’s net, and it’s not so easy to replace a guy like that. When Quick missed time in 2013-14 with a groin injury, the Kings had Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens step in and play well. (Jones, of course, is now the starter in San Jose.)

The Kings’ next game is Thursday in Dallas.

Related: Now’s a good time to examine the goalie market