Mike Halford

HawksJersey

Blackhawks unveil Stadium Series jersey

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Chicago has released the sweaters it’ll be wearing when they take on the Wild, outdoors, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota on Feb. 21.

From the club:

— The shoulder yoke is contracts in black as a visual play on Chicago’s nickname of “City of Big Shoulders.”

— The four six-pointed red stars on a white field that appear on the collar are derived from the City of Chicago’s flag, and were incorporated as a symbol of regional fan pride.

— Sleeve numbers have been shifted to the shoulders to accommodate the elevated sight lines of the larger arena and additionally highlight the visual concept of “City of Big Shoulders.” Numbers on the back have been enlarged for better visibility in the stadium setting.

— The black/red/black stripes in the sleeves and socks are the team’s standard white uniform stripe pattern. However, they have been scaled to give a stadium-size team stripe visual across the entire sleeve and sock.

— Framed between the two black stripes and over the red stripe on the sleeve in the Blackhawks’ secondary “C” logo with the crossed tomahawks. The placement of this mark on the sleeve instead of the shoulder gives tribute to similar placements used in the late 1950s.

— As the visiting team, the Blackhawks are outfitted in a primarily white uniform with black and red accents.

For more on Chicago’s newest duds, click here.

Related: So, what do you think of the Red Wings’ Stadium Series sweaters?

Hurtin’ Habs: Gallagher (hand surgery) out at least six weeks, Mitchell (lower body) out 7-10 days

Thomas Greiss, Brendan Gallagher,

Not a great Tuesday morning in Montreal.

The club has announced that top-line forward Brendan Gallagher will miss at least the next six weeks following surgery on his left hand, and that depth center Torrey Mitchell will miss another 7-10 days with a lower-body ailment suffered against Arizona last week.

Losing Gallagher is a serious blow for Montreal.

The gritty alternate captain has been a major contributor alongside Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec on the team’s No. 1 line, scoring nine goals and 19 points in 22 games.

The 23-year-old has also been extremely durable in terms of staying in the lineup, missing just five games over the first four years of his career.

With Gallagher out, the Habs rushed Devante Smith-Pelly on the top line at Tuesday’s skate.

As for Mitchell, his services as a quality depth forward will be missed. The 31-year-old was enjoying a strong offensive campaign prior to getting hurt — five goals and 10 points in 20 games — and is second on the team in faceoff wins.

Mitchell, though, should be back in the lineup in early December, meaning — barring a reversal of fortune — he’ll be ready to go when the Habs take on Boston on Jan. 1 in the 2016 Winter Classic.

Gallagher’s participation for the big game is in doubt. A minimum six-week recovery would put him back in action around Jan. 4 — and that’s assuming the healing from surgery doesn’t take longer than expected.

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

Martin Jones, Brent Burns
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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