Joe Yerdon

Blues release Ryan Whitney from PTO

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Ryan Whitney’s trial run with the St. Louis Blues is at an end.

The team announced they’ve released the eight-year veteran from his professional tryout agreement.

After spending the past three-and-a-half injury-riddled seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, he was hoping to latch on with the Blues as a puck-moving defenseman. Instead, he wasn’t able to generate much offense in his limited preseason action.

As it was, cracking the Blues lineup on defense was set to be a tall order. Everyone from last year’s team is back and that group has proved to be very strong. With Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk leading the way and signed long-term, Whitney already had two players doing what he does there.

Related: EA Sports predicts St. Louis Blues as 2014 Stanley Cup champions

Alfredsson (pulled groin) to make first appearance in Detroit tonight

Fans in Detroit will finally get their first look at Daniel Alfredsson tonight.

Alfredsson has been nagged by a pulled groin since September 17 but he’ll be in the lineup for the Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena. Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports Alfie can’t wait to get back into action.

“It feels good to get into a game,” Alfredsson said. “It’s going to be exciting to play in this building for the first time (as a Red Wing).”

Alfredsson will be back with Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss on the team’s second line. As it is, he’s played in just one preseason game this year, a 2-0 loss to Chicago in which he was a minus-2.

For Detroit, getting things right before the start of the season is of the utmost importance as they’ve struggled finding chemistry with their lines early on. They’ll get to try and figure that out tonight and tomorrow against Toronto.

Vokoun says he nearly died because of blood clot issue

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Tomas Vokoun’s absence in Pittsburgh due to a blood clot issue almost became headline news for the worst reasons.

The Penguins goaltender tells Karel Knap of iDNES.cz (via Roman Jedlicka) his life was in serious danger thanks to his blood clot ailment. Translated quotes courtesy of Jedlicka.

“I was lucky I was sent to hospital so quickly. I nearly died during weekend,” Vokoun said. “My foot was swollen, I had blood clots from mid-thigh almost to the heart. I was thinking about the end of my career. It would not be so difficult decision. Now I will do what doctors say. Health is clearly the main thing. I hope I have more than half of life ahead of me.“

It’s not the first time Vokoun has had blood clot problems in his career as he also had an instance come up while with the Nashville Predators in 2006. This time around, however, it sounds like things were a bit more daunting.

The Penguins have no timetable for when Vokoun might return. AHL veteran Jeff Zatkoff is taking his place as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup for the time being.

Noel on Trouba: ‘There’s some good stability in his game’

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When Jacob Trouba departed the University of Michigan last year to go pro, the biggest question surrounding him was how soon he’d crack the Winnipeg Jets roster.

The answer may be this season.

Jets coach Claude Noel is playing it cool when talking about his play in the preseason, but he’s liking what he sees from the rookie defenseman as Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press reports.

“For a 19-year-old player I think he makes good decisions, he plays hard, he plays a lot of minutes and makes a lot of good decisions,” said the Jets’ boss. “There’s some good stability in his game.”

Winnipeg does have a crowded group on defense. Obviously Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom are guarantees, as are Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart, and Grant Clitsome.

That sixth spot though? That’s up for grabs and Trouba has to compete with Adam Pardy and Paul Postma for that. Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press says to give Trouba (and rookie teammate Mark Scheifele) their shot to succeed right away.

Trouba’s shown he’s got the skills from his play at last year’s World Junior Championships. If he can hang with the big boys, suddenly Winnipeg’s defense doesn’t look too shabby at all.

Official: Panthers sold to Vincent Viola for $250 million

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A new era is about to start in Sunrise.

The Florida Panthers made it official today announcing the sale of the franchise to New York City businessman Vincent Viola for what’s believed to be $230 million. (Update: John Shannon of Sportsnet says it’s for $250 million with about half of that going to creditors) His official title is chairman, principal owner and governor of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and the Panthers. That’s a mouthful.

Viola is purchasing the team from, now former owner, Cliff Viner and his group of investors. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen tells George Richards of the Miami Herald he’s proud of what Viner did for the franchise.

“Cliff leaves the franchise much better than how he found it,” coach Kevin Dineen told the Miami Herald. “He leaves us on solid ground and heading in the right direction.”

Joining Viola in the front office is Douglas Cifu as vice chairman, partner and alternate governor. Michael Yormark, who you may recall from past Twitter dustups, is promoted to team president and CEO.

With new ownership in place, the team was able to sign goalie Tim Thomas to a one-year deal yesterday. Perhaps this is a sign of things making a a successful turnaround both on and off the ice for the Panthers.