Author: Mike Halford

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres

Sabres don’t expect Bogosian back soon, or early return for Lehner

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Buffalo’s allowing 2.92 goals against per game — ninth-most in the NHL this season — and, as such, would probably love to have their starting netminder and top defenseman in the lineup.

But it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen in the near future.

Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played at all this season due to a lower-body injury, and Robin Lehner — still sidelined with a high ankle sprain — aren’t close to getting back into action, Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News.

Of the two, Bogosian is the more surprising development.

Lehner was supposed to miss 6-10 weeks with his injury, and it’s only been four. Byslma shot down the idea of an early return, saying the Swedish ‘tender is “working really hard, but he’s not close yet to getting back on the ice.”

Bylsma then told the News he didn’t expect Bogosian to be out this long, and doesn’t “have a good answer” as to when the 25-year-old will be back. The next step for Bogosian will be practicing fully with teammates, something he’s yet to do.

Bylsma also mentioned Bogosian’s comeback has been slow, as the injury forced him to miss a significant chunk of training camp.

‘Long-term project’ Zadorov healthy scratched for second straight game

Chris Wagner, Nikita Zadorov

Last month, Nikita Zadorov was dubbed “top-four material on the Avs’ blue line” by the Denver Post.

How times have changed.

Tonight, Zadorov will be parked in the press box for the second straight game when the Avs host the Flames at the Pepsi Center, per head coach Patrick Roy.

What’s more, Roy took the interesting approach of explaining where Zadorov stands within the organization:

It’s a curious comment, to say the least.

Zadorov was one of the key pieces acquired in the Ryan O'Reilly trade with Buffalo. He’s a 6-foot-5, 220-pound specimen with pedigree, having been selected 16th overall in 2013.

While there were bumps in the road during his time as a Sabre — like his suspension for returning to the club late after last year’s All-Star break — there was also promise.

Zadorov scored 15 points in 60 games for Buffalo last season and, as the Post mentioned, looked to be a fixture for Colorado in the early parts of the year, getting over 21 minutes of ice time in two of the first three games.

He also played all 10 games to start the season, making Roy’s “long-term project” line ring a little hollow.

With Zadorov out, the Avs will roll tonight with a defensive unit comprised of Erik Johnson, Francois Beauchemin, Tyson Barrie, Nick Holden, Brad Stuart and Brandon Gormley, who’ll replace Nate Guenin.

Goalie nods: Wings go with Howard versus Bolts, again

Steven Stamkos, Jimmy Howard

Jimmy Howard‘s last win came on Oct. 13, when he stopped 20 of 21 shots against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

So it makes sense that, tonight, the Wings will start Howard when they go up against… the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Howard gets the start ahead of Petr Mrazek, who stopped 33 of 36 shots in Saturday’s 5-3 win in Ottawa.

Overall, Detroit’s goaltending has been a bright spot in an otherwise uneven start to the year; both Mrazek and Howard have save percentages above .920, and that’s no small feat considering the Red Wings yield 32.6 shots against per game, second-most in the NHL.

Tampa Bay has yet to confirm it’s starter, but Ben Bishop is expected to go.


Tuukka Rask starts for the Bruins, who host Dallas. The Stars played Monday night and Antti Niemi was in goal, so it’s likely Kari Lehtonen gets the nod.

— Quick rematch in Brooklyn as Cory Schneider goes for the Devils and Jaroslav Halak goes for the Isles. These two faced off on Saturday in New Jersey, with Schneider making 24 saves in a shootout victory.

— Marquee matchup at MSG tonight as Braden Holtby and the Caps square off against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers.

— Red-hot Mike Condon (4-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .944 save percentage) looks to keep rolling as Montreal hosts Ottawa. The Sens will counter with Craig Anderson.

Jake Allen, the NHL’s reigning second star of the week, will make his fourth consecutive start for the Blues. Jhonas Enroth is expected to start for L.A., who had Jonathan Quick in net for Monday’s 4-2 loss in Chicago.

Karri Ramo makes his second straight start for the Flames, who take on the Avs in Colorado. Semyon Varlamov gets the nod for Patrick Roy’s club.

— Edmonton will go with Anders Nilsson, after Cam Talbot‘s ugly outing in Saturday’s loss to the Flames. Philly has yet to name a starter after Steve Mason played in Monday’s 4-1 defeat to Vancouver.

Wild times: Fontaine (knee) out 4-6 weeks, Graovac undergoes surgery, Sydor returns after DUI

Steve Ott, Justin Fontaine

Busy day in Minnesota.

First, the club announced that forward Justin Fontaine would miss the next 4-6 weeks with a sprained left MCL.

Then, it announced center Tyler Graovac underwent successful bilateral core muscle surgery, a procedure that would sideline him for six weeks.


The club welcomed the return of assistant coach Darryl Sydor.

Sydor is back with the club after a two-month absence following a drunken driving charge. The former NHL defenseman had a mandatory 15-day jail sentence and, per the Star-Tribune, served two long weekends at a local area workhouse last month.

“We missed Darryl,” head coach Mike Yeo said. “He’s an important part of our coaching staff.”

On that note, the Wild will likely miss Fontaine over the next month (or, month and a half). The diminutive forward had been a good producer so far, with a goal and four points in eight games, and had averaged over 11 minutes per night.

Fontaine is also coming off a career-high 31 points in ’14-15.

As for Graovac, his season got derailed just as it was getting started. After making the team out of camp — something of a surprise — the 6-foot-5, 200-pounder appeared in just one game before getting hurt.

With these injuries, the Wild recalled Jordan Schroeder from AHL Iowa over the weekend.

Slats to the rafters: Oilers announce Sather banner raising ceremony

Jari Kurri, Paul Coffee, Glen Sather
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The architect of Edmonton’s famous championship teams will soon hang among the franchise’s elite.

On Dec. 11, the Oilers will raise a banner in honor of Glen Sather, who won four Stanley Cups as president, general manager and head coach and a fifth as president and GM — all in Edmonton.

“We are delighted to host Glen and his family in Edmonton for what will be a very special time for him, our organization and the city,” Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson said in a statement. “It is going to be a wonderful two days where Oilers fans, the public, the Oilers organization, our legendary alumni, Glen’s contemporaries and others will help celebrate the career of a true hockey legend.”

Sather will become the ninth Oiler to have his banner raised to the rafters, joining Al Hamilton, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson and longtime radio man Rod Phillips.

In a nice move, the ceremony will happen on the same night Edmonton hosts the Rangers — the team Sather spent 14 years managing before retiring this past July.