Author: Mike Halford

Bad news for Bolts: Palat (lower body) out 3-5 weeks after getting tangled with Niederreiter

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One third of the Triplets will be out for a while.

Ondrej Palat, fifth on the Lightning in scoring with seven points through 16 games, will miss the next 3-5 weeks of action with a lower-body injury, the club announced on Monday.

Palat was hurt during a loss to Minnesota over the weekend, after getting tangled with Wild forward Nino Niederreiter during a net-front battle. Palat finished with just 11 shifts for 8:35 of ice time.

The loss is a tough one for Tampa Bay, a team that’s surprisingly struggled to score goals this season. The top-ranked offense from a year ago sits middle of the pack in goals for this season, and was shutout by Minnesota over the weekend.

Though Palat has been split from Triplet linemates Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson at times this season, he’s still one of the team’s best offensive producers.

The 24-year-old scored a career-high 63 points last season, and led the Lightning in assists, with 47.

As for Palat’s replacement, Tampa Bay has yet to recall a forward. Jonathan Drouin returned from injury to face the Wild over the weekend, while Erik Condra was scratched from the lineup.

Slumping Isles bring up d-man prospect Pelech

Adam Pelech, Lee Stempniak
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The New York Islanders have lost five of their last six and, perhaps looking for a spark, made a move from their minor-league affiliate on Monday.

Defenseman Adam Pelech, the club’s third-round pick (65th overall) at the 2012 draft, has been brought up to the bigs for the first time in his career, the club announced. Pelech got the call after a solid start to the season in Bridgeport; he had four points and a team-best plus-9 rating through 14 games and scored both of his goals this year shorthanded, which is somewhat rare from a defenseman.

A former standout with OHL Erie — Pelech represented Canada at the U18 and World Junior tournaments — Pelech could draw into the Islanders’ lineup soon. The club starts a three-game Western road swing in San Jose on Tuesday, and there’s some though Pelech could draw in and replace Brian Strait on the blueline.

Strait hasn’t been great this season and struggled in Sunday’s loss to the Bruins, taking a delay of game penalty while finishing with just 10:53 of ice time, the lowest among Isles d-men.

Backup plan: Canucks recall Markstrom from conditioning assignment

Jacob Markstrom
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The Vancouver Canucks finally have their No. 2 goalie back.

Jacob Markstrom, who’s yet to play this season after suffering a hamstring injury on Oct. 6, has been recalled from his conditioning assignment with AHL Utica, the Canucks announced on Monday.

In a corresponding move, the team sent down No. 3 netminder Richard Bachman to the Comets.

Markstrom, 25, posted a record of 1-0-1, a 2.40 GAA, and a .909 save percentage during his brief stint in the American League.

There’s no doubt the Canucks are glad to get him back.

With Markstrom sidelined, the club has been forced to rely on Ryan Miller heavily in the early stages of the year, playing Bachman just once. As a result, the 35-year-old Miller currently leads the NHL in games played (14), games started (14), minutes played (851:38, the only goalie over 800) and shots faced (387).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Miller has sagged a bit recently. Here’s a look at his last five games played, including a back-to-back set this weekend in Buffalo and New Jersey:

miller2

As for when Markstrom might make his season debut? The Canucks have five more games left on their current, and lengthy, seven-game road swing: Tuesday in Columbus, Thursday in Ottawa, Saturday in Toronto, Monday, Nov. 16 in Montreal and Wednesday, Nov. 18 in Winnipeg.

Jackets send Rychel back down to AHL… again

Thomas Greiss, Kerby Rychel
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Kerby Rychel is the human elevator.

On Friday, Rychel made yet another trip to the club’s AHL affiliate in Lake Erie, just two days after being recalled. It was the latest transaction in what’s been a steady stream of them:

— On Oct. 3, Rychel was cut from Columbus’ training camp and dispatched to the minors.

— On Oct. 16, he was recalled.

— That same day, he was sent back down.

— Then he got called back up.

— On Oct. 17, he made his season debut for the Jackets, logging 9:18 of ice time.

— On Oct. 20, he was sent back down as Alexander Wenneberg was activated off IR.

— On Nov. 4 he came back up, as David Clarkson went on IR.

— On Nov. 6, he went back down.

It’s important to remember a few things here.

One, Rychel is still only 21 years old.

Two, Columbus and Lake Erie are very close, so moving him between organizations isn’t that difficult.

Three, he was the club’s first-round pick (19th overall) in 2013, and reportedly still held in high regard.

Four, and perhaps most importantly, he’s performed extremely well for Lake Erie this season, with 10 points in six games, and is tied for 13th in American League scoring.

He just happens to travel a lot, is all.

Habs unveil ’16 Winter Classic jerseys

Habs
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On Friday, Montreal released the sweaters it’ll be wearing for the 2016 Winter Classic, to be played against Boston on Jan. 1 at Gillette Stadium.

From the club:

The chest stripe is a shade of blue inspired by the first-ever Canadiens jersey worn after their founding in 1909. The central crest features a “CH” with colors inverted from what has been the norm for 90 years. The “C” is white and the “H” is red, as they were in 1923-24, the season the team won its first Stanley Cup championship as part of the NHL.

An image of a globe on the sleeve borrows from the “World Champions” design worn by Montreal the following season to celebrate its championship, a season where the franchise also began its longstanding rivalry with the newly-founded Bruins, then playing in their inaugural campaign.

The jersey also features a distinctive red collar originally is reminiscent of that worn in 1945-46, a season that culminated in the Canadiens, led by the “Punch Line” of Maurice Richard, Hector “Toe” Blake, and Elmer Lach, defeating Boston to earn their sixth Stanley Cup Championship.

“We wanted to underline and pay homage to our earliest meetings with our hosts,” Habs VP and COO Kevin Gilmore said in a statement. “Fans who tune into the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will come from not only our two respective markets, but from around North America and the world.

“We look forward to sharing with them, through the story behind this new sweater, a look into what has helped shape unquestionably one of the most preeminent and storied rivalries in all of professional sports.”

Montreal won’t wear the jerseys prior to the Winter Classic, opting rather to debut them on Jan. 1.