Author: Mike Halford

David Desharnais

Desharnais (illness) likely back for Habs in Game 3

Looking to avoid going 0-3 down in their second-round series against Tampa Bay, the Canadiens will likely have David Desharnais back in the lineup when they face the Bolts tomorrow.

Desharnais, who sat out Sunday’s loss with the flu, traveled to Tampa Bay one day after the rest of his teammates did. Per TVA, the diminutive forward was admitted to hospital over the weekend to get re-hydrated.

Desharnais will be a nice boost for the Habs, should he draw in. He finished third on the team in assists this year (with 34) and has averaged 16:40 TOI through his first seven postseason appearances.

Columbus has picked its new captain, says Davidson

Buffalo Sabres v Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus has been without a captain since Rick Nash departed three years ago but, according to team president John Davidson, a Blue Jacket will have a “C” on his jersey this fall.

“We know who it’s going to be,” Davidson said, per Columbus Business First. “We’ll name a captain by the start of next season and that’s a step forward.

“He’s popped, he’s a person that’s carried himself with outstanding leadership.”

Per “informed speculation” from the Columbus Dispatch, Nick Foligno is the odds-on favorite to become captain (if there were odds on such a thing.) The 27-year-old is coming off a tremendous season in which he scored a career-best 73 points and was named a captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game — an event that Columbus hosted, and during which Foligno emerged as one of the faces of the franchise.

What’s more, Foligno will be with the Jackets for the long haul, having signed a six-year, $33 million extension in December.

Others in the mix, according to the Dispatch, include Boone Jenner, Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson — Ryan Johansen, interestingly enough, wasn’t among the “favorites” despite being arguably the team’s best player and biggest star. It’s possible his contentious holdout this past fall remains an issue; he’s also only 22 years old and has less than 300 games of NHL experience.

Diaz to make postseason debut for Flames in Game 3

Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators

Calgary will make a switch on defense tonight as Raphael Diaz will play for the first time this postseason when the Flames host the Ducks in Game 3 of their second round series.

Diaz, 29, missed the final four games of the regular season and all eight of Calgary’s playoff games thus far with a lower-body ailment. Prior to getting hurt, he’d appeared in 56 games, scoring two goals and four points while averaging 12:01 TOI per night.

It looks as though the Swiss rearguard will replace Tyler Wotherspoon on the back end. The move could be for Diaz, an offensive defenseman, to try and spark the Flames a bit; they scored just one goal through the first two games of the Ducks series.

In other news, forward Micheal Ferland is a gametime decision after sitting out Game 2 with an injury.

Devils haven’t asked to interview any Pens management, says Rutherford

Ray Shero

Shortly after Ray Shero was announced as Lou Lamoriello’s successor as the GM in New Jersey, attention turned to potential hires from Shero’s old team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But there’s nothing there quite yet.

Per the Post-Gazette, none of Shero’s old front-office mates have been asked to consider an allegiance switch:

Other members of the Penguins’ management team, most notably assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald and director of player personnel Dan MacKinnon, also could be in line for jobs with the Devils. Both have long, strong ties to Shero.

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, who said last week that he would not stand in the way of any staffer who could get a better position with another organization, said near the close of business Monday that the Devils had not approached him for permission to speak with anyone from his management team.

It’s worth noting the Penguins have a pretty crowded front office. Rutherford is keeping the GM seat warm, so to speak, so the three — yes, three — assistants under him can continue to gain experience. Those three, of course, would be Fitzgerald, Jason Botterill and Bill Guerin; the club also employs MacKinnon in his player personnel role, Jason Karmanos as vice president of hockey operations and Jacques Martin as senior advisor of hockey ops.

(There’s also CEO David Morehouse, who’s fairly visible in the media and recently gave both Rutherford and head coach Mike Johnston votes of confidence.)

Most of the talk surrounding Shero and ex-Penguins has focused primarily on Dan Bylsma, as the former Pittsburgh bench boss is viewed as a viable replacement candidate for the Adam Oates-Scott Stevens duo that coached out the string last season. But it’s possible Shero could also look to his old club for help in the management department, especially since Lamoriello had a relatively small hockey operations staff.

Fitzgerald was brought up as a potential hire in Shero’s lengthy interview with the Bergen Record, as was the possibility of bringing aboard franchise legend Martin Brodeur. The newly-minted GM wasn’t ready to reveal his potential staff additions, however.

“There’s a lot of people I’ve worked with in the past and I’m sure some names will get mentioned here and there, but I have an open mind to a lot of things,” he explained. “I’ve heard a lot of different names, but there’s nothing on my end at this point.

“My first goal is to get into New Jersey, get to meet the people, ask questions, go to the world championships and collect their thoughts and see a lot of people there and (ask) more questions and then come back and really try to get to work.”

Sabres prospect Compher returning to Michigan

University of Michigan v Michigan State

J.T. Compher, taken 35th overall by Buffalo at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has decided to return to the University of Michigan for his junior season, per WGR 550 radio.

Compher, 21, broke onto the collegiate scene as a rookie, capturing Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in 2013-14, along with an All-Big Ten Second Team spot. He followed that up with a relatively solid sophomore effort — 12 goals and 24 points in 34 games — while representing the U.S. at the 2015 World Juniors.

It’s not all that surprising that Compher’s going back to school. Buffalo’s full-scale rebuild is in its infancy, with little appetite to rush prospects along in their development — something the club experienced with Mikhail Grigorenko, the 12th overall pick in 2012.