Jason Brough


Ladd drops to Isles’ fourth line


The New York Islanders have a great opportunity to get a win when the imploding Vancouver Canucks pay a visit to Barclays Center tonight.

A loss, however, and things will only get dicier for coach Jack Capuano and his struggling crew. The Isles (4-6-2) have just one victory in their last six games, and for the next 4-6 weeks they’ll be without one of their best defensemen, Travis Hamonic.

On top of the Hamonic injury, there’s a daunting schedule. The rest of the month includes one trip to Florida and another to California, with home games against the likes of Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh (twice) mixed in.

Capuano is expected to roll out new lines against the Canucks. Most notably, big free-agent signing Andrew Ladd has reportedly been bumped all the way down to the fourth line to skate with Casey Cizikas and Nikolay Kulemin. Ladd has just one assist in 12 games, and that assist came on an empty-netter.

Related: No production from Ladd among many concerns for Isles

Ladd has spent most of the season on a line with top center John Tavares. But against the Canucks, Tavares will again be with Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck. That same trio was together for Saturday’s shootout loss to the Oilers.

The other two Islanders lines will have Ryan Strome between Shane Prince and Alan Quine, and Brock Nelson centering Anders Lee and Jason Chimera.

On defense, Hamonic’s spot on the top pairing with Nick Leddy will be taken by AHL call-up Adam Pelech.

“We’re going to have to make the best of it,” Capuano told Newsday on Sunday. “Travis was playing power play, first-unit penalty kill, 21-plus minutes a night, alternate captain. Pelly can do the job when he comes up. It’s the same as always when we lose someone. It’s an opportunity for other guys to step up.”

From worse to even worse: Canucks put Hansen on IR


Things went from bad to worse for the Vancouver Canucks when they had to play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday without their two top defensemen, Chris Tanev and Alex Edler.

Now they’ve gone from worse to even worse with the announcement that winger Jannik Hansen has been placed on injured reserve.

Hansen reportedly hurt his shoulder when he was hit hard by Toronto’s Morgan Rielly in the third period of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs. Seconds later, Hansen went after Nazem Kadri, who’d controversially hit Daniel Sedin. The speedy winger was given 17 minutes worth of penalties for the altercation with Kadri and did not get to take another shift in the game.

Hansen’s injury is another big blow to a Vancouver side that’s lost eight straight heading into tonight’s game against the Islanders in Brooklyn. The Canucks (4-7-1) have recalled Michael Chaput from AHL Utica. Loui Eriksson will apparently take Hansen’s spot on the top line with the Sedin twins.

Tanev is also on injured reserve, while Edler may get back in the lineup tonight after missing Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury.

The Canucks have three games left on their six-game trip. They play the Rangers tomorrow, then finish it off Thursday in Detroit.

Related: Canucks ‘disappointed’ with NHL’s decision to not suspend Kadri

Report: Jets are ‘gauging trade interest’ on Burmistrov


The Winnipeg Jets are “gauging trade interest” on forward Alex Burmistrov, according to a tweet by TSN’s Gary Lawless.

Lawless didn’t share anything more than that, but the trade rumors should come as no surprise. Burmistrov, 25, has no goals and just one assist in 10 games this season, and his average ice time (11:28) is way down compared to last season (16:10), when he finished with just seven goals in 81 games.

Burmistrov has an interesting history with the Jets franchise. He was the eighth overall draft pick in 2010, when the team was still in Atlanta. He played three seasons in the NHL before returning to the KHL for two years. He then came back to the NHL, on a two-year, $3.1 million contract that expires after this season.

Perhaps the Jets believe Burmistrov may return to the KHL once again.

Or perhaps he just isn’t a fit anymore, on a team that’s added highly touted wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor to the lineup.

Related: Cheveldayoff hasn’t budged, still calls Jacob Trouba a ‘big part’ of the Jets

There will be no outdoor game on Parliament Hill


The Ottawa Senators wanted to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by playing an outdoor game on Parliament Hill.

Today, however, their hopes were dashed by the federal government.

As reported by the Ottawa Citizen’s Don Butler, the proposed game “was not deemed feasible and is no longer one of the options being considered” as part of the year-long celebrations, said an aide to Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Joly’s department would have been responsible for staging the game, which the Sens had hoped to play in December of 2017.

From CBC.ca:

One of the major problems surrounding the hockey on the Hill proposal is the amount of time it would take to set up a temporary arena for 30,000 spectators. Julian wouldn’t say how long it is expected to take, but other sources have told the CBC it could be as long as 16 to 18 weeks.

That means the parliamentary greensward would be under construction for most of the fall of 2017, when tourists are expected to be visiting the capital during the sesquicentennial. 

The Sens said in September that Parliament Hill was the only location that was being considered for an outdoor game.

A Canucks conundrum


The Vancouver Canucks have been shut out in four of their last five games.

Crazy, right?

But here’s the really crazy part:

According to the Canucks, they only played poorly in one of those games.

That was the first of the four, last Tuesday at home to Ottawa, when they were a tired bunch, slogging through their seventh game in 11 nights. They lost, 3-0, and deserved their fate.

Three days later, after a chance to get some rest, it was a 2-0 loss to Connor McDavid and the Oilers. But this shutout loss was different, because the Canucks actually had good chances to score. They just couldn’t beat Cam Talbot, the NHL’s reigning first star of the week.

“If you keep playing the same way over and over you are going to bury those (chances) sooner or later,” said captain Henrik Sedin.

At least, that was the theory.

The third shutout came Wednesday in Montreal, where the Canucks outshot the Canadiens, 42-21, but couldn’t beat the world’s best goalie, Carey Price. Another 3-0 loss.

“The first half of the game we deserved a better fate,” said head coach Willie Desjardins. “Maybe the guys were shooting a little too fine, knowing who was in net. They thought they had to be perfect on their shots. He’s a good goalie, we knew that coming in. We had a good effort today creating shots. I believe if we play like that every night, we’ll win our share of games.”

Sounds familiar, right?

Last night in Ottawa, the Canucks again won the puck-possession battle, but one turnover by Erik Gudbranson cost them. After four straight wins to start the season, Vancouver had lost its seventh in a row, falling 1-0 to the Senators.

What did the captain have to say now?

“We played a really good game and created enough chances for a couple [goals], but that’s been the story so far this year,” Sedin said. “We realize it’s only Game 11 and we have to keep working and doing the same things and know it’s not a lack of chances.”

It’s a heck of a conundrum for Desjardins, who may be coaching for his job at this point. A team has to trust its system, but when the system repeatedly spits out disheartening results, eventually the trust gets broken.

The Canucks continue their six-game road trip Saturday in Toronto. That game will be on national TV in Canada, against a Maple Leafs side that chose to rebuild in the kind of tear-it-down fashion the Canucks have so far resisted.

The Leafs (4-4-3) are still trying to find their way, but they’re fun to watch and they have four players with four or more goals this season. That includes Auston Matthews, the kind of player you get after you tear it down, and William Nylander, a player the Canucks could’ve drafted in 2014.

Vancouver, on the other hand, has just one player (Bo Horvat) with four goals. Meanwhile, Jake Virtanen, the guy they drafted instead of Nylander, has no goals and may soon be AHL bound.

So, what if the Canucks get shut out again on Saturday? What if they get embarrassed on the national stage, by the Leafs of all teams?

The Canucks would rather not find out the answers to those questions.

If ever there was a time for the offense to break out, Saturday would sure be it.