Mike Halford

Martin Jones, Brent Burns

Jones, Sedin, Shattenkirk named NHL’s three stars of the week

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San Jose goalie Martin Jones, Vancouver forward Daniel Sedin and St. Louis blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 22, the league announced on Monday.

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Jones went 3-0-0 with a 1.63 goals-against average, .951 save percentage and one shutout during a week in which the Sharks (13-8-0, 26 points) picked up four victories to complete their season-high, six-game road trip with a perfect 6-0-0 record.

Sedin led the NHL with five goals and ranked second with seven points as the Canucks (8-8-6, 22 points) went 1-2-1 in four outings. He scored in each of the team’s first two games – a 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens Nov. 16 and a 4-1 defeat against the Winnipeg Jets Nov. 18.

Shattenkirk paced all defensemen and shared third in the League with 2-4—6 in four outings as the Blues (13-6-2, 28 points) earned five out of a possible eight standings points.

Jones is making GM Doug Wilson look really good after Wilson gambled on him this summer. Though people liked his pedigree and potential, Jones had never been a full-time starter in the NHL before but has thrived this year, posting an 11-5-0 record with a 2.02 GAA and .929 save percentage — along with three shutouts — in 17 appearances this season.

Last year, Jones made 15 appearances all season.

Goalie nods: After seven-game absence, Varlamov back for Avs

Semyon Varlamov
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Semyon Varlamov will make his first start since Nov. 10 tonight, when the Avs take on the Jets in Winnipeg.

Varlamov, who’s missed the last seven games with a groin injury, is looking to regain his grip on the No. 1 job after backup Reto Berra fared well in his absence.

This hasn’t been a good year for the Russian netminder; he has a 3-6-1 record with an .890 save percentage and 3.26 GAA, a big reason Colorado’s struggled this season and is mired in the Central Division basement.

“Varly needs to be the Varly of two years ago. For us to win games he needs to be our best player,” Roy said, per the Denver Post. “This is how we view our team.”

For the Jets, Michael Hutchinson will start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Jake Allen will look to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Detroit when the Blues take on the Sabres in Buffalo. The Sabres are going with Linus Ullmark.

— After allowing four goals on 43 shots in a win over Florida, Henrik Lundqvist is back in as the Rangers host the Preds. Nashville hasn’t confirmed its starter yet, but Pekka Rinne appears likely.

— Battle of the backups tonight when Eddie Lack and the ‘Canes take on Michal Neuvirth and the Flyers. This is Neuvirth’s first start since allowing four goals on 40 shots in a loss on Nov. 10.

— The Oilers’ starting gig is apparently Anders Nilsson‘s to lose, as he starts again, this time against Washington. The Caps are going with Braden Holtby, as per usual.

Tuukka Rask is up against the red-hot James Reimer when Boston visits Toronto. Reimer is 5-1-0 in his last six starts with a sparkling 1.31 GAA and .926 save percentage.

Jonathan Quick‘s looking to rebound from a tough outing against Carolina on Sunday — he’ll start in Florida this evening. The Panthers are giving Roberto Luongo the night off, and going with backup Al Montoya.

Report: NHL to implement comprehensive cocaine testing by end of season

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Sounds like the NHL is close to taking a major step forward in addressing cocaine use among players.

Per TVA, “all of the NHL’s drug-testing” will include cocaine screening by the end of this season. Currently, roughly one-third of the yearly samples taken as part of the program — designed to test for performance-enhancing drugs — are checked for “drugs of abuse.” (Per TSN)

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Cocaine use among players has been a prominent topic over the last 12 months. The possession arrests of both Ryan Malone and Jarret Stoll made headlines and, in early October, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly acknowledged a rise in positive tests.

“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.

“I’d be shocked if we’re talking about a couple dozen guys. I don’t want to be naïve here … but if we’re talking more than 20 guys I’d be shocked. Because we don’t test in a comprehensive way, I can’t say.”

Currently, the NHL has a four-stage substance abuse program. Stage One is for players that volunteer for treatment, and aren’t suspended while participating. Stage Two is for players that violate the first stage, and are suspended without pay while undergoing treatment.

Stage Three is for violators of the second stage, and carries a minimum six-month suspension without pay. Stage Four is for violators of the third stage — it carries a one-year suspension without pay, and the player’s reinstatement is at the discretion of the NHL and NHLPA.

Related: Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Ex-NHLer White charged with weapons offenses

Nick Bonino, Ian White
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Ian White, who appeared in over 500 games over an eight-year NHL career, was arrested and charged in Winnipeg on Friday with a variety of weapons-related offenses, per the Sun.

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White was remanded into custody and charged with two counts each of careless use/storage of a firearm or prohibited device and possession of a firearm at an unauthorized place.

White was also charged with breach of recognizance, unauthorized possession of a firearm and unauthorized importing of a firearm.

The 31-year-old has a history of legal issues. He was arrested for impaired driving in 2005 and, per TSN, was charged with driving while disqualified a year later, while a member of the Maple Leafs.

White hasn’t played in the NHL since appearing in 25 games for Detroit during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.

He later spent a short time in the KHL, followed by stints with Boston’s and Nashville’s AHL affiliates.

Jets say Pavelec has ‘significant’ knee sprain, won’t play until January at earliest

Winnipeg Jets v New York Islanders

The news is in on Ondrej Pavelec, and it’s not good.

Per Jets head coach Paul Maurice, the Czech netminder suffered a significant knee sprain in Saturday’s collision with Shane Doan, and has been ruled out until the new year.

Maurice said Pavelec would return by January at the earliest, meaning the 28-year-old ‘tender will miss at least 16 games.

If there is a silver lining here, it’s that Pavelec’s injury has resulted in the Jets bringing up Connor Hellebuyck.

Recalled yesterday from AHL Manitoba, Hellebuyck — considered one of the best young goalie prospects in hockey — will (presumably) get his first opportunity at the NHL level in the near future.

Michael Hutchinson, clearly the 1B to Pavelec’s 1A in the goalie pecking order, will probably see the majority of the starts, but it’s hard imagine both Maurice and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff keeping Hellebuyck bolted to the pine, especially with his billing as the organization’s goalie of the future.

Which brings us to this week.

The Jets play four times, which includes a three-game road swing through Washington, Minnesota and Colorado. The Wild and Avs games are in a back-to-back scenario (Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28) — so Hellebuyck could be making his big league debut in a matter of days.