Author: Jason Brough

Calgary Flames v Nashville Predators

Hammond, Hudler, and Dubnyk are NHL’s three stars of the month


Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, Flames forward Jiri Hudler and Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the month of March.


Hammond went 10-1-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .930 save percentage to help the Senators (38-26-12, 88 points) complete an 11-3-2 March and climb within three points of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Hudler led all players with 13 assists and 23 points to power the Flames (42-28-7, 91 points) to a 9-3-3 March, helping the team jump from the outside of the playoff picture and into third place in the Pacific Division.

Dubnyk paced the NHL with 11 wins, compiling a 1.78 goals-against average and .942 save percentage to lead the Wild (44-25-7, 95 points) to an 11-3-0 March and the first Wild Card position in the Western Conference.

Plenty has already been said and written about the first and third stars — both are great stories that have received league-wide attention — but Hudler’s accomplishments have flown largely under the radar outside of Calgary. How many hockey fans know that the 31-year-old has 71 points, and that only six players in the entire league have more points than that?

Not bad for a $4 million cap hit.

Hudler’s career high before this season was 57 points in 82 games (2008-09, with Detroit).

Sekera is ‘out,’ with speculation injury is ‘not minor’

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks
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Hurt in Monday’s loss to Chicago, Kings defenseman Andrej Sekera is “out” and will see the doctor later today, coach Darryl Sutter told reporters today.

Not surprisingly, Sutter didn’t say much more than that. But at least one reporter, Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register, got the sense the injury to Sekera was “not minor.”

That certainly wouldn’t be good news for the Kings, who just over a month ago gave up a first-round draft pick in 2015 and prospect Roland McKeown to get Sekera, a pending unrestricted free agent, from Carolina.

At the very least, the first-round pick is protected and becomes a 2016 selection if Los Angeles doesn’t make the playoffs.

The Kings host the Oilers Thursday, with a chance to move past Winnipeg and into the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

P.S. — the news on Tanner Pearson wasn’t very promising either:

Related: Lombardi happy to get ‘one of the better defenseman on the market’ in Sekera

Video: Kane urges patience, but ‘trying to heal as fast as I can’

Patrick Kane

That video, per the Chicago Sun-Times, was shot today after Blackhawks star Patrick Kane practiced in a no-contact jersey with his teammates.

Clearly, Kane was trying to temper any expectations that he could beat the 12-week timeline that was originally set for his return from a broken clavicle.

“You wish you could be out there tomorrow with the guys, and start playing right away,” Kane said. “But it’s not realistic. It’s not possible. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start thinking of certain dates when you can come back. The only thing I can really control is trying to heal as fast as I can, trying to get myself in the best shape as possible. And if it’s seven weeks, great. If it’s five weeks, great. If it’s six weeks, great. Who knows what it’s going to be in the end? I think the timetable’s still at the 12-week mark.”

Though if we were betting, we’d take the under.

Hitch admits coaching the Blues was ‘a struggle’ earlier in the season

Ken Hitchcock

Good read here on Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Long story short, apparently Hitch wasn’t exactly loving his job earlier this season.

“There were times in November and December where I thought, ‘This is a struggle.'” he said. “That ended in January. It’s been off and running since. We had some trouble getting players to buy in and you start wondering if we could do it the way we did before. But when you see what this team can do, it’s invigorating.”

Granted, the Blues didn’t look too good in their last outing, a 4-1 loss to Vancouver on Monday that led d-man  Zbynek Michalek to conclude, “I don’t think there’s one good thing about our game right now.”

And to be sure, if St. Louis is once again eliminated early in the playoffs, there will be questions about Hitchcock’s job status.

But for what it’s worth, GM Doug Armstrong has said that Hitchcock will coach the Blues until Hitchcock no longer wants the job. And right now it sounds like he still wants the job.

St. Louis is back in action tomorrow versus the Flames.

Patrick Kane is practicing today

Kane practicing

Um, wasn’t Patrick Kane supposed to miss 12 weeks with his fractured clavicle?

We only ask, because it’s five weeks into his recovery and the Blackhawks star is practicing right now.

Image via CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers:


That’s him in the white no-contact jersey.

Kane can’t return during the regular season due to salary-cap constraints, and that probably wouldn’t be realistic anyway. But you do have to wonder if he’s ahead of schedule.

We’ll add any updates from the Blackhawks below, though don’t hold your breath for a new, specific timeline.



Related: Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane