Mike Halford

It’s official: John Scott is going to the All-Star Game


After much deliberation, one of the greatest sagas in NHL All-Star Game history has finally been resolved.

On Tuesday, the NHL announced that former Arizona forward John Scotttraded to Montreal last week — will retain his position as Pacific Division captain, and take part in the ASG in Nashville on Jan. 31.

More, from the league:

Scott, elected to the Pacific Division captaincy in fan voting while a member of the Arizona Coyotes, was traded Friday to the Montreal Canadiens of the Atlantic Division.

The resultant change in division, and Scott’s subsequent assignment to the American Hockey League, created a unique circumstance that required review – the result of which was a determination to maintain the status quo for the All-Star weekend in order to preserve all parties’ pre-existing expectations, including Scott’s desire to participate.

“I am looking forward to enjoying a fun and unique experience at All-Star Weekend in Nashville with my family,” Scott said in a statement. “While being voted to the All-Star Game by the fans was not something I expected to happen, I am excited to participate in the All-Star events with my fellow players.”

Previously, it had been reported that the trade to Montreal would keep Scott from playing in this year’s event. Aside from the switch in divisions, Scott isn’t even in the NHL anymore — after acquiring him from the Coyotes, Habs GM Marc Bergevin sent the longtime enforcer to Montreal’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s.

Related: Coyotes GM ‘dumbfounded’ at suggestions he traded John Scott to keep him from All-Star Game

Limping Devils lose d-man Merrill to injury, out week-to-week

Jon Merrill

Looks like another Devil will be on the shelf for the foreseeable future.

Jon Merrill, the former University of Michigan standout taken 38th overall in 2010, will be out week-to-week with an upper-body injury, per head coach John Hynes.

Merrill had scored three points in 36 games this year, averaging just under 17 minutes per night. His loss, combined with the other injuries New Jersey is dealing with at the moment, puts the club in a pretty tough spot.

Veteran Patrik Elias has barely played this season while dealing with a knee problem. Jacob Josefson has been out since December with a foot problem, and Jiri Tlusty is on IR with an upper-body ailment.

Mike Cammalleri, who’s missed the last eight games with a hand injury, is likely to return to the lineup tonight when the Devils host the Flames tonight. Despite his absence, Cammalleri still leads the Devils with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 38 games.

After apologizing for undisciplined penalty, Hartnell a healthy scratch tonight

Scott Hartnell

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.


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.