Mike Halford

Vlasic on IR after taking slapshot to face

Tough start to the year for Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Vlasic, who took a Shayne Gostisbehere slapshot to the face in a game against Philly on Friday, has been placed on injured reserve and will miss at least the next two games, per the Mercury-News.

The incident occurred late in the third period of San Jose’s 2-0 win, when Gostisbehere’s shot rode up Joel Ward‘s stick and struck Vlasic. The veteran d-man tweeted out a picture of the damage shortly thereafter:

With Vlasic set to miss Tuesday’s game against the Kings and Thursday’s against the Wild, Mirco Mueller has been recalled from the AHL Barracuda.

It’s unclear how head coach Peter DeBoer will deploy his defense in the wake of this injury. In addition to Vlasic, David Schlemko was also absent from Monday’s practice, so the pairings were makeshift.

Whatever the case, DeBoer has a big hole to fill. Vlasic sits second on the team in TOI per game — trailing only Brent Burns — and is regarded as the club’s top shutdown defenseman.

 

Video: Kempny scores second-fastest goal in Winter Classic history

Didn’t take long for the ‘Hawks to make their mark on the 2017 Winter Classic.

Defenseman Michal Kempny skipped home his second goal of the year — and the first of the afternoon — to give Chicago an early lead over St. Louis at Busch Stadium.

Scored just 62 seconds in, Kempny’s marker was the second-fastest in Winter Classic history. Back at the inaugural event in 2008, Pittsburgh forward Colby Armstrong scored 21 seconds in — a record that still stands — and, last year, Montreal’s David Desharnais scored at the 1:14 mark for what had been the second-quickest.

Artemi Panarin and Duncan Keith registered assists on the Kempny goal.

One month after waiving him, Devils re-claim Boucher

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 20:  Reid Boucher #12 of the New Jersey Devils skates in an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center on March 20, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. Devils won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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Reid Boucher is back in New Jersey.

Boucher, the Devils’ fourth-round pick in ’11 that was lost on waivers to Nashville last month, has been re-claimed by his original drafting team.

Per NJ.com, New Jersey has confirmed the acquisition, and apparently the team won’t send Boucher to AHL Albany — suggesting he’s going to stick around with the big club for the time being.

For how long remains to be seen.

Boucher, 23, has bounced around plenty in recent months. He scored one goal in three games with the Preds, notching five points in five games for their minor-league affiliate in Milwaukee. That’s sort of been the story of his professional career — a really good point producer at the American League level, but one that’s bounced in and out of NHL lineups.

It’s not entirely surprising New Jersey wanted to get Boucher back in the fold. He did some good things for the organization, including a ’15-16 campaign in which he scored 19 points in 39 games.

WATCH LIVE: Blues-‘Hawks, Winter Classic from Busch Stadium

ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 1: Jay Bouwmeester #19 of the St. Louis Blues skates during the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Practice Day  at Busch Stadium on January 1, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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The weather might not be perfect, but the 2017 Winter Classic is a go.

Rain has been falling in St. Louis throughout this morning and early afternoon, but that won’t keep the Blues and Blackhawks from renewing their rivalry at 1 p.m. ET from Busch Stadium.

You can catch the game on TV on NBC, or watch online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for today’s affair:

Start time stays the same, here’s the updated weather forecast

What happens if it’s raining?

 

Coyotes claim Burmistrov off waivers from Jets

Alexander Burmistrov
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Arizona GM John Chayka’s made a habit of acquiring low-cost, low-risk assets this season, and that trend continued on Monday.

Per Sportsnet, the Coyotes have claimed Alexander Burmistrov off waivers from the Jets. Burmistrov, 25, has long been a guy high on talent and pedigree — he was the eighth overall pick in 2010 — but one that’s struggled to find consistency at the NHL level.

He’s routinely been a healthy scratch for the Jets this year and, recently, expressed frustration about his lack of playing time.

“It’s tough, tough for me because I do not know why I’m not playing, you know,” said Burmistrov, per the Winnipeg Free Press. “I never have a conversation with the coach, so he never tell me why I’m not playing.”

Maurice, for the record, said there have been numerous conversations with Burmistrov — who has no goals and two assists in 23 games — and the Jets have reportedly been testing the trade market.

As mentioned above, Chayka does have history in trying to find diamonds in the rough (for lack of a better term). He previously snagged Josh Jooris off waivers from the Rangers, and gave up a seventh-round pick to pry Peter Holland out of Toronto.

It’s worth pointing out that Jooris, Holland and Burmistrov all play center. The Coyotes were thin at that position following Brad Richardson‘s badly broken leg, and the club has been rumored to be moving top middle man Martin Hanzal in a trade.

Burmistrov, who did leave the Jets for a two-year KHL sabbatical, is in the last year of a deal that pays $1.55 million annually.