Jason Brough

Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Blackhawks could be without Anisimov against Caps

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The streaking Chicago Blackhawks (10-3-1) could be minus a key player against the Washington Capitals (8-3-1) tomorrow at United Center.

Per NHL.com, center Artem Anisimov is questionable for Friday’s contest after being forced to leave last night’s win over the Blues with a lower-body injury.

Anisimov is the co-leader on the ‘Hawks with 17 points (8G, 9A), tied with Patrick Kane (5G, 12A).

“Obviously, [if he’s out], you’re missing a guy that has had a tremendous start for us in all areas of our team game,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “So, we’re still hopeful that he could play.”

Anisimov did not practice today. If he can’t go against the Caps, Nick Schmaltz or Marcus Kruger could step up to center his line. Jonathan Toews would obviously center the other top line.

The Blackhawks have won seven straight, in large part because their goalie, Corey Crawford, has been excellent, and their veteran core has stepped up with big goal after big goal.

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As you can see, the ‘Hawks have not received much production from the supporting forward cast. And don’t forget, Tyler Motte is out a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 3-0 home loss to San Jose on Tuesday. Prior to that, they’d won five straight.

Corrado growing frustrated as a healthy scratch in Toronto

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 13: Frank Corrado #20 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots the puck in NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks on February, 13, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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Frank Corrado is trapped.

Granted, he’s trapped in a pretty good place, making thousands of dollars a day on an NHL roster.

But the 23-year-old defenseman has yet to play a game this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And until there’s an injury, he may have to keep waiting.

Not surprisingly, he’s pretty frustrated.

“Twenty three years old and we’re how many games into the season, and I haven’t played a game yet,” Corrado told The Athletic. “It’s one of those things where it’s OK, you get to do all the cool things…but how much longer are you going to be able to do it for if you don’t establish yourself as a player that can keep playing in this league? You want to be in your mid-30s and still be playing here, that’s what you work toward. Just because you fly on the plane and eat the good meals doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be here.”

Corrado played 39 games for the Leafs last season. Though his possession numbers were quite good, he finished minus-12 with just one goal and five assists.

This season, he has Connor Carrick and Nikita Zaitsev to compete with. The Leafs picked up Carrick in a deadline deal with Washington; they signed Zaitsev in May as a free agent. Both shoot right and play the right side, just like Corrado does. Both have dressed for all 13 Toronto games.

Corrado, of course, requires waivers to be sent to the AHL. That’s how he ended up in Toronto, plucked from Vancouver, much to the chagrin of Canucks fans.

Looking ahead, one injury, or one bad stretch from Carrick or Zaitsev, and Corrado may get his chance. You’d think there could be changes after Tuesday’s 7-0 loss to the Kings. The Leafs host the Flyers Friday.

If not, Corrado will continue to practice and continue to wait. His frustration is understandable, especially for a guy who made his NHL debut all the way back in 2013, and even got into four playoff games.

Such is life, which rarely goes as planned.

At the very least, he’s a free agent at the end of the season.

Canucks say Hansen will miss 4-6 weeks with fractured rib

More fallout from Saturday’s spirited game in Toronto — the Vancouver Canucks announced today that winger Jannik Hansen is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured rib.

Canucks president Trevor Linden told TSN 1040 (audio) that he’s “90 percent” certain Hansen was injured on the hit by Toronto’s Morgan Rielly.

Seconds after getting crushed by Rielly, Hansen instigated a fight with Toronto’s Nazem Kadri, who’d leveled Daniel Sedin as Sedin shot and scored a goal.

“Towards the end of the fight he had to get out of there because he couldn’t go,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said of Hansen, per The Province newspaper. “For him to jump up and step in right away was good to see. The one thing you like out of that game was that we stuck together. You like that we cared. If you don’t care, then you don’t have any emotion and you don’t battle.”

Related: Canucks ‘disappointed’ with NHL’s decision to not suspend Kadri

It was originally reported that Hansen had a shoulder injury. The 30-year-old speedster was placed on IR at the beginning of the week. He missed Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Islanders and Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Rangers, the latter of which snapped a nine-game losing streak for the Canucks.

In a related story, the fact Hansen was unable to play and Jake Virtanen was still a healthy scratch was quite the indictment of the youngster. Hansen and Virtanen both play right wing, yet instead of dressing Virtanen the past two games, Desjardins opted to give extra time to veterans Derek Dorsett, Alex Burrows and Jack Skille.

Yesterday, Virtanen was sent to the AHL for at least two Utica Comets games.

The Canucks finish their six-game road trip tonight in Detroit. They kick off a four-game home stand Sunday against Dallas.

Hitch makes Fabbri a healthy scratch, needs to see more ‘tenacity’

DALLAS, TX - MAY 11:  Robby Fabbri #15 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates his goal against the Dallas Stars in the first period in Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Robby Fabbri was a productive rookie last season, finishing with 18 goals and 19 assists in 72 games. He also produced in the playoffs, with four goals and 11 assists in 20 games.

But Fabbri will a healthy scratch tonight in Nashville. The 20-year-old forward has just one goal and three assists in his first 14 games of the current season — although for head coach Ken Hitchcock, it’s not about that.

“It’s all connected to tenacity,” said Hitchcock, per NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “Goals and assists, I don’t look at.”

Fabbri logged 13:57 in last night’s 2-1 overtime loss to Chicago. He did not register a point, or even a shot on goal.

For the record, it was only last week that Hitchcock was defending Fabbri.

“I think he’s been good everywhere,” the coach said, per the Post-Dispatch. “He’s one of our best forecheckers. He’s a hard guy to play against. He’s been snake bit on scoring. That’s just the way it goes at the start. This is a big challenge for him. … I think there was a lot of pressing going on, and we just have to make sure he stays enthusiastic about the way he’s playing.”

Clearly, Hitchcock now feels that Fabbri’s enthusiasm has been waning, and so the youngster will sit and watch a game.

Nail Yakupov will take Fabbri’s spot against the Preds. Yakupov has been a healthy scratch the last three games, after scoring two goals in his first 11 outings as a Blue.

Indeed, it’s a very competitive environment among the St. Louis forwards. The Blues have not been forced to endure all the injuries they did last season, and that means healthy scratches, or in some cases waivers.

“You have to make a decision whether you want to be in the group of 14, or if you want to stay in that top nine or 10,” said Hitchcock.

 

Tonight’s Canadiens-Kings game should be very interesting indeed

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 10:  Jordan Nolan #71 of the Los Angeles Kings shoots the puck past Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on December 10, 2013 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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If the Montreal Canadiens would like to prove they’re more than just Carey Price, tonight would be a great time to do it.

That’s because the Los Angeles Kings are in town, and if there’s one team that understands how to own the puck, the Kings are it.

The Kings have endured all sorts of injuries to start the season, but they still have Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Drew Doughty, and they’re still possession monsters.

Two nights ago, Los Angeles absolutely dominated the young Maple Leafs. The Kings won the game, 7-0, and they won the shot clock, 43-19.

“Well, we’ve weathered the storm for six years, and the way we’ve done it is to be a high-possession team,” said head coach Darryl Sutter, per LA Kings Insider. “When you’re a high-possession team, you don’t play very much in your own zone, and that means you have the puck more than the other team, and it allows you to take some pressure off your goalie. I think we take great pride in not giving up a lot of shots. … That’s the reason we’ve been able to win a lot of games the last few years.”

Which brings us to the Canadiens, who definitely cannot say the same thing. The number-one reason for their success is all-world goalie Carey Price.

In the Habs’ last three games with Price between the pipes, they’ve been outshot by a whopping margin: 123 to 61. Yet all three games have been wins, as Price has improved to 8-0-0 with a .953 save percentage. 

The only game Price didn’t start in the past week, the Habs lost by a converted touchdown and a field goal.

“We’re getting into trouble lately with the quality of our play with the puck,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said Tuesday. “We need to win battles for the puck and protect the puck, and that’s what we’re having trouble with right now.”

That just so happens to be the specialty of the Los Angeles Kings, which should make tonight’s contest very interesting indeed.

Average shot differential this season

Los Angeles Kings: +7.7 (1st)
Montreal Canadiens: -6.6 (30th)

Related: Habs know they need to be more than just their goalie