Jason Brough

Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche

Goalie nods: Varlamov has the flu so it’s Pickard against the Sharks

The Colorado Avalanche will turn to backup Calvin Pickard tonight at home versus the Sharks (on NBCSN).

Regular starter Semyon Varlamov has the flu, according to coach Patrick Roy.

Pickard, 23, played well in his last outing, stopping 25 of 27 shots in a 3-2 win over the Oilers on Saturday. On the season, he’s 4-3-1 with a .918 save percentage.

The Avs are looking to rebound after a disappointing 5-1 loss in Vancouver on Sunday. Once they’re done with the Sharks, they’ll turn their focus to hosting the Red Wings outdoors on Saturday.

Martin Jones will be in net for San Jose.


Mike Condon for the Canadiens in Washington, where Braden Holtby is expected for the Capitals.

Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins in Boston, where Tuukka Rask is a go for the B’s.

Robin Lehner for the Sabres in Anaheim, where Frederik Andersen is likely for the Ducks.

Ed Belfour gets almost $35K for Olympic gold medal


Ed Belfour’s decision to trade his Olympic gold medal to go into the distilling business with his son has paid off.

The medal the Hockey Hall of Fame goalie won at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games was auctioned off for $34,477 on Tuesday, according to the final bid listed by Classic Auctions. Overall, the 66 items of hockey memorabilia Belfour put up for sale sold for nearly $179,000.

Last week, Belfour said he was selling part of his collection to join son, Dayn, and establish Belfour Distilleries. The business is to be based in Texas and focus on distilling bourbons and whiskeys.

A mask Belfour wore from 1992-94 with Chicago sold for $15,307. Another mask he wore with Dallas in winning the 1999 Stanley Cup title sold for $7,853.

Report: Kovalchuk stripped of captaincy by KHL club

FILE - In this May 13, 2013 file photo, Russia's Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates his goal during the 2013 Ice Hockey World Championships match against Austria in Helsinki. Kovalchuk left the New Jersey Devils and retired from the NHL, leaving $77 million on the table last summer to go back home and play in Russia. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, Kovalchuk said he has no regrets and looks forward to helping the host country win gold next month at the Sochi Games.  (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Jussi Nukari)  FINLAND OUT

Ilya Kovalchuk’s one-game scratching in the KHL playoffs has been extended by at least two games, according to Russian newspaper Sport-Express.

His “further fate” with SKA Saint Petersburg is “still under question,” per the translated edition of the story. The former NHL star has also reportedly been stripped of the captaincy. He has one year remaining on his contract with SKA.

If you’re just catching up on this, Kovalchuk, 32, was “removed” from the team and sent back to Saint Petersburg after game one of SKA’s first-round series with Lokomotiv, a 3-2 overtime loss in which he did not play well despite receiving 24:26 of ice time.

SKA won the next game without him. And now he’ll apparently miss the next two contests as well, on Thursday and Saturday in Saint Petersburg.

Kovalchuk, by the way, cannot return to the NHL for next season without receiving the approval of all 30 teams. (Though there has been talk of a loophole.)

Related: ‘We’ll see’ about NHL return, says Kovalchuk

Malkin, Bonino could return Saturday for Penguins

Evgeni Malkin

They won’t play tonight in Boston, but Pittsburgh centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bonino could both return to the lineup Saturday at home versus Winnipeg.

So said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, according to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Malkin and Bonino both skated this morning with teammates.

Sidney Crosby, Matt Cullen, Oskar Sundqvist and Kevin Porter are expected to be the four centers against the B’s.

Sundqvist, who does not require waivers, will likely be returned to the AHL when Malkin and/or Bonino are ready to go.

The Penguins are currently at the 23-man roster limit; however, that still includes defenseman Ben Lovejoy, and he’s going to be out “long-term” with an injury.

Sedin calls being ‘happy with losing’ a ‘dangerous road to go down,’ and he’s clearly talking about the Oilers

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin

There’s a scene in the baseball movie The Natural where a psychologist is brought in to speak with the struggling Knights.

“Losing is a disease,” he says, “as contagious as polio. Losing is a disease, as contagious as syphilis. Losing is a disease, as contagious as bubonic plague. Attacking one, but infecting all.”

In the movie, Roy Hobbs (a.k.a. The Natural, played by Robert Redford) is having none of it. He rolls his eyes and walks out. For Hobbs, losing isn’t a disease. It’s a lack of talent.

However, the theory that losing can be contagious is clearly one that the Vancouver Canucks endorse. In April, GM Jim Benning spoke about wanting the organization’s “young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play.”

And last night, captain Henrik Sedin said basically the same thing, plus a bit more.

“You don’t want to be happy with losing,” he told TSN 1040. “That’s a dangerous road to go down, especially with young guys coming in. We’ve seen other teams around us where it becomes okay to lose, and we can’t have that. You have to try and create a winning culture.”

Sedin didn’t name names, but you can deduce which team he was talking about. The Edmonton Oilers are “around” the Vancouver Canucks, right next door in Alberta. The Oilers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006. And they’re currently last overall in the standings, despite all the top-end talent they’ve assembled through the draft.

For the record, Sedin is fully aware that the Canucks have been doing their own fair share of losing this season. He’s not just throwing stones at other organizations. He’s warning his own.

What he doesn’t want is for losing to become acceptable, even if the current talent level in Vancouver makes it hard to win on most nights.

“Moving on, you have to try and create a winning culture, even though we’ve been through some tough times,” he said. “If you’re down in a game, you can’t just go through the motions. You have to show some emotion.”

And you know who wouldn’t disagree with that?

Todd McLellan.

Related: Changes are coming in Edmonton — ‘We haven’t been good enough’