Mike Halford

Comeback close? Bogosian takes full-contact practice with Sabres (Updated)

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These are good times for the Buffalo Sabres.

Riding a three-game winning streak and back at .500 on the year with an 8-8-0 record, the club got more good news on Friday as defenseman Zach Bogosian — who’s been sidelined all year with a lower-body injury — took part in his first full-contact practice with teammates.

Bogosian, one of the key pieces acquired in last year’s blockbuster with Winnipeg, is a crucial component to the Buffalo blueline. He averaged nearly 27 minutes per night after coming over from the Jets and, without him, stopgap replacement Carlo Colaiacovo has been forced into eight games this season (Colaiacovo’s presence is also partly due to the lower-body injury to Mike Weber.)

Update: Per Bylsma, Weber is week-to-week after undergoing surgery.

While it remains to be seen when Bogosian will draw back into the lineup, there are some opportunities on the horizon.

Buffalo plays at home against San Jose on Saturday, at home against the Stars on Tuesday, then heads out for a mini two-game road swing in St. Louis and Dallas.

Havlat (personal) leaves Blues, placed on unconditional waivers

David Schlemko, Martin Havlat
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Martin Havlat’s time in St. Louis has come to an abrupt end.

Just one week after signing with the Blues — and three days after scoring in his team debut — Havlat has left the team due to personal reasons and has been placed on unconditional waivers, per TSN.

Havlat, 34, signed with the Blues after coming in on a professional tryout with the team ravaged by injury at forward. Paul Statsny, Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund and Steve Ott were all sidelined at the time, giving way for Havlat to sign and make his season debut against the Devils on Tuesday.

In that game, the veteran Czech played over 14 minutes and scored the game-winning goal.

He was decidedly less involved in his second game, though, playing just 7:33 in a 6-3 loss to the Rangers last night.

Video: Detroit’s Pulkkinen fined for diving

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We have our first diving-slash-embellishment punishment of the year.

On Friday, the NHL dinged Red Wings forward Teemu Pulkkinen $2,000 for the infraction, after flagging him for a pair of incidents — one against Vancouver on Oct. 24, and the latest against Dallas on Nov. 8 (as seen in the video).

Last season, 10 players were flagging for diving/embellishment: Nashville’s James Neal, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck, the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, Montreal’s P.K. Subban (x2), Philly’s Michal Neuvirth (then with Buffalo), Toronto’s Richard Panik, Washington’s Tom Wilson and Chicago’s Andrew Shaw.

Also in that list was Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, making it two Red Wings in two years to be fined for diving.

‘Hawks take Rozsival (ankle) off LTIR, send Gustafsson to minors

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Four
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Michal Rozsival‘s comeback is nearly complete.

Rozsival, who hasn’t played an NHL contest since fracturing his ankle in last year’s playoffs, has been taken off long-term injured reserve and is now part of Chicago’s active roster, the club announced on Friday.

To make space for Rozsival, the ‘Hawks sent Erik Gustafsson to AHL Rockford, meaning towering Swedish blueliner Viktor Svedberg remains — for now.

But back to the veteran Czech for a moment.

The comeback is a feel-good story for Rozsival, who wasn’t guaranteed to continue his NHL career following a pretty serious injury. At 37, he was already slowing down prior to getting hurt, but the ‘Hawks saw value in the experienced rearguard and signed him to a one-year extension this summer.

Rozsival could draw back into the lineup on Saturday, when the ‘Hawks take on the Blues at Scottrade.

Here are your ’16 World Cup coaching and management teams

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On Friday, the NHL made Sportsnet’s initial report official — Jon Cooper, Peter DeBoer, Dave Tippett and Jay Woodcroft would serve as Todd McLellan’s assistants on the North American “Young Stars” team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

In that same release, the NHL also compiled all eight management and coaching staffs.

It should be noted that, as seen below, not all teams are complete. The Czechs, for example, have yet to name their head coach while several countries still need to fill out their assistant coaching staffs.

Regardless, here’s what we’ve got:

Team Canada
Tom Renney, President
Scott Smith, Chief Operating Officer
Scott Salmond, Hockey Operations
Doug Armstrong, General Manager
Marc Bergevin, Assistant General Manager
Rob Blake, Assistant General Manager
Ken Holland, Assistant General Manager
Bob Murray, Assistant General Manager
Mike Babcock, Head Coach
Claude Julien, Assistant Coach
Bill Peters, Assistant Coach
Joel Quenneville, Assistant Coach
Barry Trotz, Assistant Coach

Team Czech Republic
Tomas Kral, President
Martin Urban, General Secretary
Slavomir Lener, General Manager
Jan Cerny, Director of Operations

Team Europe
Franz Reindl, President/Team Leader
Miroslav Satan, General Manager
Ralph Krueger, Head Coach
Paul Maurice, Assistant Coach
Peter Bondra, Scouting Staff
Sean Burke, Scouting Staff
Lorne Henning, Scouting Staff
Vaclav Nedomansky, Scouting Staff
Ricky Olczyk, Scouting Staff
Myles Fee, Video Coach

Team Finland
Kale Kummola, President
Matti Nurminen, Executive Director
Jere Lehtinen, General Manager
Jarmo Kekalainen, Assistant General Manager
Lauri Marjamaki, Head Coach

Team North America
Peter Chiarelli, General Manager
Stan Bowman, Associate General Manager
Ryan Jankowski, Director of Operations
Adam Graves, Special Assistant to the General Managers
Pat Verbeek, Director of Player Personnel
Paul Fenton, Director of Player Personnel
Todd McLellan, Head Coach
Jon Cooper, Assistant Coach
Peter DeBoer, Assistant Coach
Dave Tippett, Assistant Coach
Jay Woodcroft, Assistant Coach

Team Sweden
Tommy Boustedt, General Secretary
Peter Forsberg, Vice President/Team Leader
Rickard Gronborg, Head Coach
Johan Garpenlov, Assistant Coach
Peter Popovic, Assistant Coach
Daniel Alfredsson, Advisory Board
Nicklas Lidstrom, Advisory Board
Mats Sundin, Advisory Board

Team Russia
Vladislav Tretiak, President
Roman Rotenberg, First Vice President
Dmitry Kurbatov, Executive Director
Oleg Znarok, Head Coach
Harijs Vitolins, Assistant Coach

Team USA
Jim Johannson, Hockey Operations
Dean Lombardi, General Manager
Paul Holmgren, Assistant General Manager
Brian Burke, Senior Advisor
John Tortorella, Head Coach

Finland’s Marjamaki is an interesting character — he’s only 38 years old, and considered one of the brightest up-and-coming coaches in the country. He worked under Erkka Westerlund at the ’14 Olympics in Sochi, and has led Karpat of the SM-liiga for the last three seasons.

Elsewhere, longtime NHL defenseman Sergei Zubov was named assistant coach of Russia’s national team back in July, but that appointment may have been for the 2016 World Championships, not necessarily the World Cup. Currently, the only assistant coach listed is Vitolins, who briefly played with the Winnipeg Jets during the ’93-94 campaign.

The next big announcement, you’d think, will be when USA Hockey names Tortorella’s assistant coaching staff.