Jason Brough

Denis Potvin extends his ‘sincere apologies to Daniel Sedin’

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Denis Potvin is sorry he called Daniel Sedin a “lowlife.”

“My choice of words at the conclusion of the Vancouver game on Monday should have been more appropriate,” Potvin said in a statement that was published today on the Florida Panthers’ website.

“In the passion of the moment and under the circumstances of how the game ended, they came out wrong. For that I’m going to extend my sincere apologies to Daniel Sedin, Trevor Linden and the Canucks organization.”

Click here if you need to catch up on this story.

Potvin’s remarks during the Panthers broadcast were widely criticized by fans and media alike. And not just by the local Vancouver media; by prominent national reporters like Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun as well.

The Canucks were plenty angry themselves, with GM Jim Benning telling TSN.ca that he doesn’t understand why the Sedin twins continue to be disparaged in the manner they were Monday.

“I was in Boston, part of the Bruins, and I know Boston loves its tough hockey players,” Benning said. “Well, these guys are tough as anyone — physically, mentally, emotionally. They play the game like warriors. They still always seem to be getting challenged and questioned. I don’t get that.”

Bonino sent back to Pittsburgh with undisclosed injury

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Nick Bonino is no longer on the road with the Penguins. He’s been sent back to Pittsburgh with an undisclosed injury.

“He’s going to get evaluated and then we’ll have more details after that,” said coach Mike Sullivan.

The Penguins play Friday in Tampa then return home themselves for a game Sunday versus Carolina.

Bonino has three goals and seven assists in 40 games. The 27-year-old has mostly centered the third line. Though his offensive production has been limited, he’s been a valuable penalty killer.

With Bonino out, expect Matt Cullen and Eric Fehr to center the third and fourth lines.

Report: Sabres ‘would listen’ to offers for Ennis

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
AP
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In terms of pending unrestricted free agents, the pickings are pretty slim on the Buffalo Sabres.

Jamie McGinn. David Legwand. Mike Weber. Chad Johnson. No disrespect to those four, but it wasn’t earth-shattering news when GM Tim Murray told ESPN.com that he’s looking to move some of his “veterans on expiring contracts” before the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Given where the Sabres are in the standings, that’s just obvious.

But according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Sabres may also be willing to move Tyler Ennis. Or, as LeBrun put it, they “would listen” to offers.

Ennis, 26, is signed through 2018-19 for a cap hit of $4.6 million. Which is a pretty big cap hit for a winger with just three goals in 23 games. But then, he did lead the offensively challenged Sabres with 20 goals last season and 21 goals the season before.

It’s also worth noting that his five-year contract was front-loaded. In terms of actual salary, it’s only $3.65 million annually for the next three years, per war-on-ice.com.

Ennis is currently on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. His status is week-to-week.

Goalie nods: It’s Hiller time for the Flames

Jonas Hiller
AP

Jonas Hiller will make his first start since Dec. 12 when his Calgary Flames host Florida tonight.

Hiller is 4-4-0 with an .862 save percentage. And with numbers like that, it’s no surprise that Karri Ramo has been handling the starting duties the past month.

But after Ramo — who’d been playing so well — got lit up Monday by the San Jose Sharks, surrendering five goals on just 18 shots, it’s Hiller time once again.

Calgary (19-20-2) has lost two straight and has fallen four points back of a playoff spot. After tonight, the Flames will play their next five games on the road.

Roberto Luongo will start for the Panthers, who saw their 12-game winning streak halted Monday in Vancouver.

Elsewhere…

— On NBCSN, Tuukka Rask is likely for the Bruins in Philly, where Steve Mason will start for the Flyers.

— No word yet on a Blue Jackets starter in Toronto. Anton Forsberg allowed four goals in last night’s loss to the Islanders, so it may be Joonas Korpisalo‘s turn. For the Maple Leafs, it’ll be James Reimer.

— In Anaheim, it’ll be Craig Anderson for the Senators versus Frederik Andersen for the Ducks.

Higgins clears waivers, Utica Comets coach ‘excited’ to get him

Chris Higgins
AP
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Chris Higgins has cleared waivers and is off to the AHL to join the Utica Comets.

Comets coach Travis Green is glad to be getting him.

“I’m excited,” Green told News 1130 in Vancouver. “Great player and leader. We want to get him back confident and back to the NHL.”

That’s obviously what Higgins is hoping for, too. Before he was placed on waivers, the 32-year-old winger had just two goals and one assist in 25 games for the Canucks.

Vancouver first tried, but ultimately failed, to trade Higgins, who’s signed through next season for a cap hit of $2.5 million. Only $950,000 of a cap hit can be buried in the AHL.

If the Canucks can’t find a trading partner for Higgins, they may opt to buy him out this summer. Doing so would garner an $833,333 cap hit next season and in 2017-18.

Though some might argue that keeping Higgins buried in the AHL next season would make more sense from a cap-management perspective — i.e., just one season of his contract on the books, as opposed to two — Higgins would probably prefer to be cut loose and become a free agent.

And the Canucks do feel a sense of loyalty to the veteran forward.

“Chris is a quality person who has been an important member of our team for nearly five seasons,” GM Jim Benning said Sunday. “Our focus has been on finding a positive new situation for him and we will continue to do so.”