Mike Halford

Scott Hartnell

After apologizing for undisciplined penalty, Hartnell a healthy scratch tonight

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This hasn’t been a banner campaign for veteran Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell.

And tonight, it’s not going to get any better.

Hartnell — along with fellow veteran Fedor Tyutin — will be a healthy scratch when Columbus hosts Washington at Nationwide, the club announced on Tuesday morning.

Yesterday, Hartnell was in the news for a different reason. At the end of practice, he addressed his teammates and apologized for taking an undisciplined penalty in Saturday’s win over Colorado.

From the Dispatch:

Hartnell was slow getting off the ice for a line change because he was chirping and barking at players on the Avalanche bench after a physical shift. It resulted in a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.

The Blue Jackets have suffered from excess and ill-timed penalties all season, and Hartnell has led the parade. This was the latest. In a 1-1 tie, it put the Jackets on the penalty kill midway through the third period.

“I’m a better player than some of the penalties I’ve taken the past few games, warranted or not,” Hartnell said. “I’m frustrated with myself, and I think everyone is (frustrated) with me. I know better.”

That Hartnell is being scratched despite the apology shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. He’s been a healthy scratch already this season, and Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella benched the 33-year-old immediately after Saturday’s incident.

Of course, Tortorella did say Hartnell’s apology was “important,” and “part of building your locker room.”

Hartnell is tied for the club lead in scoring this season, with 31 points, and sits second on the club with 15 goals.

Lapierre leaves Swedish team amid reports of NHL interest

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 01: Maxim Lapierre #40 talks with Craig Adams #27 of the Pittsburgh Penguins before a face-off during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Consol Energy Center on April 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

There’s rumblings of a Maxim Lapierre return to the National Hockey League.

On Monday, Swedish Hockey League team Modo announced that Lapierre — the club’s leading scorer this year — has left the team on his own accord. Per Swedish news outlet Allehanda, there are reports that Lapierre has an offer from an NHL club.

(Of course, Lapierre was also a minus-17 this season and had been benched recently by head coach Andreas Johansson.)

The 30-year-old agitator was forced to find work overseas in September, after failing to catch on with a team in free agency. Per TVA, his a one-year deal with Modo had a second year option, but also contained an out clause should Lapierre have landed an NHL contract within 15 days of signing.

Lapierre split last season between Pittsburgh and St. Louis. A known agitator, he finished the year with 11 points in 80 games, and appeared in all five games of the Pens’ opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

Prior to his time in Pittsburgh and St. Louis, “Yappy Lappy” played in Montreal, Anaheim and Vancouver. His best season came in 2008-09, when he scored a career-high 15 goals and 28 points, earning a handful of Selke votes.

 

Goalie nods: Talbot to make first start since signing $12.5M extension

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 17: Cam Talbot #33 of the Edmonton Oilers follows the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 17, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeaed the Oilers 4-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Fresh off a three-year deal with a $4.16 million average annual cap hit — a contract that’s come under some scrutinyCam Talbot will get the nod when the Oilers take on the Panthers in Florida tonight.

Talbot, acquired from the Rangers at the ’15 draft, has basically experienced two seasons. The first came in his opening two months in Edmonton, a start he called “extremely frustrating.” By early December, Talbot was 3-8-1 with a .889 save percentage and 3.17 GAA, and was in the midst of a brutal stretch in which he’d surrendered at least four goals in each of his last four starts.

Anders Nilsson had wrestled away starting duties, and it was unclear how long Talbot would be an Oiler.

But then his second season began.

Talbot had a strong December, then followed it up with an even better January. He’s posted a sparking .942 save percentage this month, stopping 162 of 172 shots faced. He’s also allowed three goals or fewer in each of his six appearances, and has managed to wrestle away some of the Oilers’ No. 1 duties from Nilsson.

Still, there are skeptics of the deal. While it’s clear part of this move is to get some stability in goal — the Oilers’ crease has been a carousel over the last few years — it’s hard to overlook the fact that, at the end of the day, GM Peter Chiarelli took a decent-sized gamble on a 28-year-old netminder without a proven track record of success as a NHL starter.

For the Panthers, Al Montoya gets the start in goal tonight.

Elsewhere…

Brian Elliott continues to carry the mail for St. Louis, with Jake Allen out injured. Elliott looks as though he’ll be up against Jeff Zatkoff, who looks like he’ll give Pittsburgh No. 1 Marc-Andre Fleury the night off.

Semyon Varlamov versus Connor Hellebuyck as the Avs take on the Jets in Winnipeg.

— In Arizona, it’s the in-form Louis Domingue taking on Chad Johnson, who will start for Buffalo.

— Bit of an interesting move in San Jose, where the Sharks — looking for their sixth straight win — will give Alex Stalock his second start in four games. For Ottawa, Craig Anderson‘s in.

After shuffling defense, Stars recall top prospect Lindell

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23:  Esa Lindell, 74th overall pick by the Dallas Stars, poses for a portrait during Day Two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Dallas is about to see what it’s got in Esa Lindell.

After putting Jordie Benn on IR and sending Jamie Oleksiak to the AHL on a conditioning stint, the Stars had an opportunity to bring a new d-man into the mix — so, enter Lindell, the 21-year-old Finn that’s made a name for himself over the last couple of seasons.

A third-round pick in 2012, Lindell first raised eyebrows as part of the Finnish team that captured gold at the 2014 World Juniors, finishing third on the team in scoring while leading the team’s blueline in points, with five.

Last year, he left his SM-liiga club to play for Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas.

This year, he’s been arguably Texas’ best player.

Lindell has 25 points in 42 games and was named to the annual All-Star Classic, though it’s unclear now if he’ll be able to participate.

There’s an opportunity in Dallas for some serious minutes — Benn was averaging just under 16 per night, and the bottom pairing hasn’t really been solidified all season long, as the likes of Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth and Jyrki Jokipakka have rotated in and out.

Related: Dallas has ‘deepest bench of defense prospects in the league,’ says owner

Kane, Bennett, Kopitar named NHL’s three stars of the week

Patrick Kane

Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Calgary’s Sam Bennett and Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar have been named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 17, the league announced on Monday.

More:

Kane tied for the League lead in points with seven (4-3—7) as the Blackhawks (31-13-4, 66 points) won all four starts to move into first place in the Central Division.

Bennett led the League with six goals (6-0—6) in three games as the Flames (20-20-3, 43 points) gained three of a possible six standings points.

Kopitar tied for the League lead with seven points (2-5—7) in three games as the Pacific Division-leading Kings (28-13-3, 59 points) gained four of a possible six standings points.

Another huge performance from Kane, who continues to strengthen his Hart Trophy candidacy on a weekly basis. Kane now leads the NHL in goals (29), assists (40) and points (69). He’s on pace to smash his career-high in points — 88, scored during the 2009-10 campaign — and, at this current rate, could flirt with the 120-point plateau.

The last player to score 120 or more in a season? Sidney Crosby, in 2006-07.