Jason Brough

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 26:  Andrei Markov #79 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the NHL game against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre on March 26, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Markov will bring sons to Montreal after death of their mother


Andrei Markov will bring his twin sons to Montreal following the death of their mother in Russia.

According to The Journal de Montréal, Markov will use the Canadiens’ bye week next week to fly to Moscow to collect his sons. The boys, Andrei and Mark, are just five years old. Their mother, Natalia Streckova, passed away just before Christmas from ovarian cancer. They’ve been living with their maternal grandmother in the days since.

Markov, 38, will raise his sons with his current partner, Sonya Sonechka.

“We know that she cannot replace Natalia,” said Markov, per the Montreal Gazette. “We only have one mother. But we hope that with them and our 10-month-old daughter, we will be able to form a great happy family.”

The Canadiens play Sunday in Boston and then don’t play again until Saturday.

Sharks expecting an energetic Bruins team tonight

Motivation shouldn’t be a problem tonight in snowy Boston, where the Bruins will have a new coach and the Sharks will try to shake off Tuesday’s blown lead in Buffalo.

It will be the first game for the B’s under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, after Claude Julien was fired Tuesday.

Julien was the longest-tenured head coach in the league before his dismissal. The Bruins haven’t played for anyone else since 2006-07 when Dave Lewis was behind the bench.

“There’s always a big jump in energy when a new guy goes in and that’s probably the biggest thing we’re preparing for,” said San Jose coach Pete DeBoer, per The Mercury News.

Read more: Julien gives thanks for ’10 unforgettable years in Boston’

It remains to be seen if the Bruins will have Zdeno Chara in their lineup tonight. The 39-year-old defenseman has been “under the weather” and did not attend practice Tuesday or Wednesday. He’ll be a game-time decision, according to Cassidy.

The B’s are only one point out of a wild-card spot, and only two points back of third place in the Atlantic Division. That being said, they only play three games between now and Feb. 19, meaning the deficit could grow a lot bigger over the next two weeks, especially if the losing continues.

Veteran winger David Backes called the coaching change a “wake-up call.”

“It’s that message that whatever is going and whatever we’ve been doing to this point just isn’t good enough,” said Backes, per CSN New England. “If there’s not enough incentive to earn your job every day and keep your job every day then the message has been sent that we need to do more, have better efforts from everybody and better results.

“It certainly hit me square in the forehead, and there are a lot of guys in here with the same kind of mentality. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future, prepare better and play better. That’s our focus at the moment.”

The Sharks, meanwhile, will try to bounce back after blowing a 4-1 lead two days ago, when they fell 5-4 in overtime to the Sabres.

From the Associated Press’s game recap:

The Sharks appeared to have the game in hand when Pavelski one-timed in Burns’ pass on a power play to make it 4-1 at 6:07 of the third period.

“It’s just one of those games that for them to come back, everything worked out just perfect,” Pavelski said. “Doesn’t matter how perfect it works, though. You can’t give up that kind of lead.”

San Jose had a four-game road winning streak snapped and dropped to 22-2-2 when leading after two periods.

It was the Sharks’ second loss in a row, after dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to Arizona on Saturday.

Coyotes accuse newspaper of making up story about arena tour

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 09:  Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Jets defeated the Coyotes 6-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes released a strong statement today, reaffirming their commitment to their market while accusing the Glendale Star newspaper of making up a story.

“Recent reports by the Glendale Star that the Coyotes ownership group has explored arena options outside the Arizona market are completely false,” said team president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc. “The Star referenced an anonymous arena source and an anonymous Coyotes source, and these are a fabrication.

“The Coyotes are focused on creating one of the most taxpayer friendly facilities in the country here in the Valley. This new arena will pay for itself, create jobs and generate millions of dollars of revenue for the state, county and municipality where it’s built. We are fully committed to Arizona.”

The Star reported that representatives of the Coyotes had toured arenas in Seattle and Portland in the past three months.

The report came just days after the Coyotes’ plans to build a new arena in Tempe fell through.

LeBlanc told Arizona Sports earlier this week that the team has since renewed talks with other potential arena sites in the Valley.

“When we made the decision to go with the Tempe site in the fall, it was just that, a decision made by the Coyotes,” LeBlanc said. “Admittedly, we felt it was the best site and best path, but it isn’t the only path. We are re-engaging with other potential sites, and that process began in earnest [Friday] evening.”

Related: So… what do the Coyotes do now?

Babcock goes back to Andersen, who ‘hasn’t been good enough’ lately

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes the third period save on J.T. Miller #10 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2017 in New York City. The Maple Leafs defeated the Rangers 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Frederik Andersen has endured a nightmarish start to the month, allowing a whopping 16 goals in just three games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And if we’re being honest, it’s actually been four rough outings in a row for the 27-year-old Dane; he got yanked in his last start of January.

This morning, head coach Mike Babcock stated the obvious, telling reporters that the goalie’s game “hasn’t been good enough” lately. Andersen will get the start tonight against the visitors from St. Louis, an opportunity to work through whatever issues he’s been having.

It hasn’t been all Andersen’s fault. After his last start, a 6-5 OT loss to the Islanders on Monday, it was the team’s defensive coverage that got the blame.

“For me, to give up free ones, just tap-ins by our net, is not good enough. We’ve got to get that fixed in a hurry,” said Babcock. “You can’t give up a 3-on-1 in overtime, you can’t be on the wrong side of people when they’re shooting on your net. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Toronto’s backup, Curtis McElhinney, started Tuesday against Dallas. He was excellent, stopping 39 of 40 shots in a 3-1 victory. But the Leafs were also “way harder around our net and in our zone,” according to Babcock.

Though some naturally wondered if McElhinney deserved a follow-up start, Andersen is still the No. 1. So tonight, he’ll get a chance to put his struggles behind him, while at the same time the Leafs will try to have a better game in front of him.

Wild send Alex Tuch back to AHL

Minnesota Wild's Alex Tuch, right, making his NHL debut, and Vancouver Canucks' Markus Granlund, of Finland, watch the play during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darry Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After three game and no points, Alex Tuch is headed back to the AHL. The Minnesota Wild reassigned the 20-year-old winger to Iowa this morning.

Tuch made his NHL debut Saturday in Vancouver, logging 14:39 of ice time and registering two shots in a 6-3 win.

Afterwards, head coach Bruce Boudreau was asked about Tuch’s performance.

“I thought it was okay,” said Boudreau. “I mean, he had some chances to score. He’s a big, strong guy. Obviously, there are things he’s going to have to learn about this league, but everybody who ever came into this league had to learn those things.”

Tuch played two more games after that, including last night’s 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago.

The Wild’s next game is Friday at home to Tampa Bay.