Mike Halford

CALGARY, AB - APRIL 5: Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames in action against the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 5, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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Gaudreau (finger) out six weeks, Treliving says Staal slash the culprit

So, the timetable for Johnny Gaudreau‘s return from a broken finger is in — six weeks, following today’s successful surgery, per Flames GM Brad Treliving.

The six week recovery would push Gaudreau’s return to near the end of December and, looking at Calgary’s schedule, it’s possible he misses upward of 20 games.

It’s a profound loss, to say the least. Gaudreau is the club’s most dangerous scorer and a dynamic offensive producer, coming off career-highs in goals (30) and points (78). He hasn’t been great to start this season — though few Flames have, which is why they’re 7-10-1 — but he does lead the team in scoring, with 11 points.

But Gaudreau’s broken finger wasn’t the only topic of debate today.

There was also the subject of how it got broken.

The Flames were visibly displeased about the repeated whacks that eventually led to Gaudreau’s injury. Treliving said it was a slash by Minnesota forward Eric Staal in the third period of Tuesday’s game that ultimately did the damage, adding the Flames thought “there could have been a call made.”

Earlier today, Staal expressed his innocence.

Staal’s response differed slightly from that of Gaudreau’s teammate, Troy Brouwer, who said teams do in fact target star players — but added it almost always goes both ways.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance,” Brouwer said, per the Calgary Sun. “I know in my game I give a lot of top players good whacks and stuff. You obviously don’t want to let it be happening to your team, but star players are going to be keyed on.

“It’s no different than what we do (to the opposition).”

Hornqvist ‘day-to-day’ with concussion suffered against Washington

Boston Bruins v Pittsburgh Penguins
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Pittsburgh lost badly in Washington last night — 7-1 — but that lopsided scoreline might not be the biggest concern.

On Thursday, the Pens announced that forward Patric Hornqvist suffered a concussion against the Caps, and is out day-to-day. Veteran winger Chris Kunitz was also injured (lower-body), and is also day-to-day.

The Hornqvist ailment is garnering most of the attention, given he had a pretty rough ride against the Caps.

From the Post-Gazette:

Symptoms of Hornqvist’s concussion didn’t present until after the Penguins’ 7-1 loss to the Capitals at Verizon Center, Sullivan said.

Hornqvist had a few physical battles with Tom Wilson, but nothing to indicate he was concussed. There was a sequence where he was checked from behind by Matt Niskanen, and his head hit hard into the goalpost.

The veteran Swede was off to a terrific start this year, with five goals and 13 points through 16 games while averaging just under 16 minutes per night.

Pittsburgh is back in action on Friday, when it takes on the Isles in Brooklyn. From there, the Pens have a pretty road-heavy schedule coming up: four of their next six will be away from PPG Paints, with stops in Buffalo, MSG, Minnesota and then back at Barclays.

 

Goalie nods: It’s Reim-time in Toronto again

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 04:  Goaltender James Reimer #34 and Tyler Bozak #42 of the Toronto Maple Leafs take the ice for warm ups to the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 4, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The last time the Florida Panthers were at the ACC, James Reimer played the role of spectator while Roberto Luongo tended goal in a 3-2 loss.

Tonight, those roles will be reversed.

Reimer, who spent the first six years of his career with the Leafs, will get the nod tonight when the Panthers invade Toronto. It promises to be an emotional night for the 28-year-old, who made over 200 appearances for the blue-and-white and backstopped them to their lone playoff appearance since 2004.

After getting traded to San Jose last season, Reimer signed with the Panthers this summer. He’s made six appearances thus far — though one was a 20-second cameo against the Isles — and has posted a .905 save percentage and 2.73 GAA.

For the Leafs, Frederik Andersen will be in goal.

Elsewhere…

Ben Bishop makes his second straight start as the Lightning take on the Sabres in Buffalo. He’ll be up against Robin Lehner, who has lost four straight games while posting a .906 save percentage.

— The red-hot Connor Hellebuyck will go again for the Jets, who are in Philly. Hellebuyck is riding a four-game winning streak, having posted a .946 save percentage and 1.47 GAA over that span. For the Flyers, Steve Mason is in net.

— After sitting out a 6-2 loss to Toronto due to a lower-body injury, Pekka Rinne is back in goal for Nashville. He’ll take on Mike Condon, who gives Craig Anderson the night off in Ottawa.

— Marquee matchup in Minnesota as Tuukka Rask and the Bruins face Devan Dubnyk and the Wild.

— The Sharks will go with Martin Jones (last three starts: 3-0-0, .959 save percentage) as they take on the Blues. St. Louis will counter with Jake Allen.

— The in-form Semyon Varlamov looks to continue his stretch of fine play in Dallas. Kari Lehtonen appears likely for the Stars.

Ryan Miller has fallen ill, so Jacob Markstrom starts again for the Canucks. No word on a Coyotes starter yet, but Mike Smith did return from a lengthy injury to play in last night’s loss to Calgary.

— No starting announcements from Anaheim, where the Devils will take on the Ducks.

Peter Budaj will start again for the Kings, who host Edmonton. The Oilers haven’t revealed their starter.

Duchene, out with concussion, shocked that ‘vicious’ Trouba hit went uncalled

Matt Duchene
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Matt Duchene has been out of the lineup for nearly a week after taking a headshot from Jets d-man Jacob Trouba.

Now, the Avs forward is speaking out about the hit — and not in the fondest of terms.

‘I thought it was pretty vicious,” Duchene told the Denver Post, adding he was “shocked” there was no penalty on the play. “I knew where [Trouba] was and he kind of threw his arm out in desperation. I think it was an unfortunate reaction, but it caught me in the head, chipped a tooth, knocked a tooth loose as well, and obviously gave me a concussion.

“I obviously wasn’t too thrilled with that play.”

The play in question (Trouba also avoided supplemental discipline, FYI):

(Link here, if you’re unable to view)

Duchene has missed Colorado’s last two games while recovering from his concussion, and will be out again tonight when the Avs take on the Stars in Dallas.

This makes for a tough scenario for Avs head coach Jared Bednar, who is also without the services of captain Gabriel Landeskog (lower body).

On the bright side, Tampa Bay is getting Drouin back

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 29:  Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in action against the New Jersey Devils during their game at the Prudential Center on October 29, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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The Lightning needed some good news after learning captain Steve Stamkos would be out at least four months following knee surgery.

On Thursday, they got some.

Jonathan Drouin, who’s missed the last seven games with an upper-body injury, will draw back into the lineup tonight when the Bolts take on the Sabres in Buffalo, per the Tampa Bay Times.

Drouin has been out since absorbing a big Calvin de Haan hit in a Nov. 1 win over the Isles. He was off to a solid-if-unspectacular start prior to getting hurt, scoring two goals and five points through 10 games, averaging 16:35 TOI per night.

With Stamkos out, the Lightning have been forced to shuffle their forwards, so it looks as though Drouin will slot in alongside Ryan Callahan and center Valtteri Filppula, on what would amount to the third line.

Vladislav Namestnikov will center the top unit between Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, while Tyler Johnson will play the middle on the second line with Alex Killorn and Brayden Point.

Based on those lines alone, one thing should be obvious: Tampa Bay is equipped to deal with losing someone of Stamkos’ caliber better than nearly any other NHL club.