Jason Brough

As Wild’s offense goes dry, Parise feeling the pressure to produce


The Minnesota Wild didn’t play a terrible game last night in Anaheim — the entire contest was fairly evenly matched — but the bottom line was that they lost again, this time by a score of 3-1.

It was the fifth straight defeat for the Wild. They’ve scored just four goals in those five games.

Tonight, they play in Los Angeles; Saturday, in San Jose.

They’ll be underdogs in both.

“We’re pushing, but I think the execution just isn’t there,” coach Mike Yeo told reporters. “Whether we’re tight or we’re holding the sticks a little too tight. You can see there are opportunities for shots and pucks are bouncing over our sticks.”

This morning, the Wild announced they’d called up forward Jordan Schroeder from AHL Iowa. He’s expected to be in the lineup against the Kings, assuming there are no travel snafus.

Schroeder has appeared in 11 games for Minnesota this season. He’s only scored once, with no assists. So, no, not the most likely of saviors, though he does have 10 goals and 10 assists in the minors.

Minnesota’s only goal against the Ducks came courtesy Jarret Stoll, a fourth-liner.

Meanwhile, Zach Parise, the Wild’s leader in goals (16), managed just a single shot while skating on a line with Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund.

“Our line’s not scoring, and our job is to score, and we’re not,” said Parise, who couldn’t say why that was. All he knew was, “We need to shape up a little bit.”

Of course, it won’t be easy to break out tonight. The Kings have the second-lowest goals-against average in the NHL.

Therrien gets vote of confidence; Price recovery ‘slower than we expected’


Michel Therrien isn’t getting fired. Marc Bergevin said so this morning.

The vote of confidence from Montreal’s general manager came after his head coach’s job security became a hot topic as the Canadiens’ slump extended into January.

Since starting the season 19-4-3, the Habs have won just four times in their last 21 games.

“I’m responsible for everything that happens with this team,” Bergevin told reporters.

Now that the coaching staff’s status has been assured, the big question becomes whether Bergevin will try to improve his roster prior to the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

He doesn’t seem to be interested in any rentals:

Bergevin’s trade-deadline strategy may also depend on the status of injured netminder Carey Price, who won’t be back until February at the earliest.

“It’s slower than we expected,” Bergevin said of his star goalie’s recovery. “There hasn’t been a setback. I don’t know exactly the date, but I don’t think he will be back (before) three weeks or a month.”

The Canadiens are back in action Saturday in Toronto.

Related: Therrien was ‘disappointed’ by Habs fans who booed Markov

Flyers will be without Couturier for tonight’s game in Pittsburgh

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 13:  Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers gets the puck past Anton Khudobin #31 of the Carolina Hurricanes in the second period at Wells Fargo Center on April 13, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sean Couturier has a lower-body injury and will not play tonight in Pittsburgh.

From philly.com:

The loss is huge because Couturier is the Flyers’ top defensive forward, and he usually shadows Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby, the Penguins’ high-scoring stars. He also had 14 points in the last 14 games and has been arguably the Flyers’ best player in the last five-plus weeks.

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol claimed he expected Couturier to be ready to play Thursday, but that after he received treatment, it was determined he couldn’t go.

With Couturier out, center Jordan Weal could make his Flyers debut. Weal was acquired in the trade that sent Vinny Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to Los Angeles.

Tonight is a big game for both teams, given the standings:


The Flyers lost their last outing in painful fashion. On Tuesday, with just eight seconds remaining in regulation, they surrendered the game-deciding goal to the Maple Leafs.

Prior to that defeat, the Flyers had gone 5-0-1 in their last six.

Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made

ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 23: Jaden Schwartz #9 of the St. Louis Blues shoots the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Scottrade Center on February 23, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Before he makes a trade — if he makes a trade — Blues GM Doug Armstrong wants to see what his team looks like when healthy.

“Ultimately, you want to deal from knowledge from what your team is. Right now, we don’t have that knowledge,” Armstrong told ESPN yesterday. “One of the areas we liked about our team was going to be our balanced scoring, being a difficult team to check. Right now, because of the injuries, we’re not as difficult to check. We don’t have that second or third wave we thought we’d have.”

Currently, the big missing piece is 23-year-old Jaden Schwartz, out since October after fracturing his ankle.

But that’s expected to change soon. Schwartz practiced with his teammates yesterday. He’s not ready to go yet, but once the All-Star break is over, he could be back in the lineup.

“Certain things with the ankle feel better than others,” he told the Post-Dispatch. “The ones that don’t feel as good, I have to work on that. It’s a week to week thing. … (The ankle is) not quite normal yet. I have to do some things to get it back to speed.”

St. Louis has missed the goals that Schwartz provides. After 50 games, the Blues have the 17th-ranked offense (2.5 goals per game). Last year, they finished fifth (2.9), when Schwartz’s 28 goals were second on the team to only Vladimir Tarasenko‘s 37.

Ference to have hip surgery, out for remainder of season

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 03:  Andrew Ference #21 of the Edmonton Oilers skates up ice against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on February 3, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Sean Rudyk/Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers announced this morning that defenseman Andrew Ference will undergo hip surgery and be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Ference has only appeared in six games in 2015-16. He’s been on injured reserve for the majority of the time with what the Oilers called a “nagging hip injury.”

The 36-year-old is signed through next season for a cap hit of $3.25 million.

Related: Ference no longer captain of the Oilers