Jason Brough

Alex Galchenyuk; Alexander Semin

Semin to be healthy scratch versus Oilers

8 Comments

Alex Semin will be a healthy scratch tonight in Edmonton. It’ll be the first game this season that the Canadiens winger has not played.

Paul Byron will take Semin’s spot in the lineup, Montreal coach Michel Therrien confirmed today.

Semin has one goal and two assists in 10 games, while skating mostly with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller. His spot on that line will be filled tonight by Bryan Flynn.

Semin, 31, was a minus-2 in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to Vancouver. He’s registered just one shot in his last two games combined.

The Canadiens also play tomorrow in Calgary.

Related: ‘Canes prez Waddell sounds off on Semin

It’ll be ‘weird’ for Pens to see Bylsma coaching Sabres

Dan Bylsma
10 Comments

Dan Bylsma is back in Pittsburgh today. For the first time since he was fired by the Penguins, he’ll be coaching against his former team.

Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury conceded it will be strange to see Bylsma on the Sabres’ bench.

“It’ll be weird, that’s for sure,” Fleury told NHL.com. “We got a Cup with him. So it’ll be weird to have him on the other bench, on the other side.”

Bylsma, meanwhile, hasn’t been so focused on his new team that returning to Pittsburgh slipped his mind.

“Of course I’ve thought about it,” Bylsma told reporters. “I haven’t been gone from Pittsburgh that long. We just moved a few months ago. I know more street names in Pittsburgh than I do in Buffalo right now. I’m going to know my way around when I get there.”

The Sabres beat the Flyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday, improving their record to 3-6-0. While the losses have continued to outnumber the wins, the team is far more competitive than it was last year. A victory tonight, over a Penguins side that played last night in Washington, is not out of the question, that’s for sure.

And wouldn’t that add to the pressure that Mike Johnston is already feeling.

Stars’ season-ticket base has ‘more than doubled’

Jamie Benn
6 Comments

A few years ago, a weeknight game in October against the Anaheim Ducks wouldn’t have been a big draw for the Dallas Stars.

But Tuesday at American Airlines Center, a respectable crowd of 17,798 watched the home team fight back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Ducks.

Oh, how things have changed since Tom Gaglardi bought the club in 2011.

“Our season-ticket base has more than doubled,” Gaglardi told the Vancouver Sun in a recent interview.

“We have come a long way. Our crowds are vibrant. It is exciting. I just got a statistic this morning that we are in the top three in merchandise sales this year in the NHL. When I got here we had very poor merchandise and not much of it.”

It helps that the Stars are winning, and playing an exciting brand of hockey to boot. But as we’ve seen so many times in pro sports, it all starts at the top. Good owners hire good management, and good management gets good players.

“These things, I think, need to be run by passionate owners who want to invest and build and make things better and it was really no fault of the franchise,” said Gaglardi. “It just didn’t have that for a period of time.”

The Stars (7-2-0) host the Canucks (4-2-3) tonight.

Hanifin will remain with Hurricanes

Noah Hanifin, Jaromir Jagr
3 Comments

Noah Hanifin is sticking with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Coach Bill Peters confirmed it today, per NHL.com’s Mike Morreale.

Hanifin will also draw back into the lineup tonight in Brooklyn after he was a healthy scratch Tuesday in Detroit.

Hanifin has played eight games for Carolina, so the Hurricanes had to decide whether to keep him or send him down to the AHL, the latter choice being what Colorado did with Mikko Rantanen.

“I can only speak for myself, but I know I can play at this level and now I’m experiencing it,” Hanifin told NHL.com yesterday. “There are some things I still need to work on and that’s going to happen. I know I’ll make mistakes throughout the year because that’s how it is, since it’s such a hard league. But I know I can keep up with the speed and physicality of the game.”

Hanifin will be one of four players (and the only defenseman) from the 2015 draft class to remain in the NHL past nine games, the others being Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, and Daniel Sprong.

McDavid and Eichel were always considered locks to stay up. Sprong was a surprise, but apparently has done enough to stick with the Penguins.

Related: Hanifin has NHL ‘mindset’

Oilers recall Draisaitl, place Eberle on LTIR

Arizona Coyotes v Edmonton Oilers
1 Comment

The Edmonton Oilers have called up forward Leon Draisaitl from AHL Bakersfield and sent down forward Tyler Pitlick and defenseman Joey LaLeggia.

Draisaitl has one goal and one assist in six games for the Condors this season. Where the 20-year-old will fit in the Oilers’ lineup will be interesting to see. Draisaitl is a natural center, but he played some wing in the preseason.

Draisaitl’s recall may have been necessitated by an injury to winger Rob Klinkhammer.

Edmonton (3-7-0) hosts Montreal (9-1-0) tonight.

The Oilers have also placed forward Jordan Eberle on long-term injured reserve.