Mike Halford

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 7: Ben Lovejoy #12 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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Lovejoy injury ‘long term,’ Pens confirm


The upper-body injury suffered by Ben Lovejoy in Saturday’s game against the Bolts will keep him out of the lineup for quite some time, per Pens head coach Mike Sullivan.

“It’s long term. As I said in the past, I’m not going to put a time frame on it, but it’s of the longer term nature,” Sullivan said, per the Post-Gazette. “As he goes through the process of rehab and we think we have a better handle on timeframe we’ll let you know.”

Lovejoy, 32, has been a fixture in the Pittsburgh lineup this year. Prior to getting hurt, he was one of just two defenseman to have appeared in all 57 games this season — Brian Dumoulin was the other — and he’d chipped in offensively, scoring three goals and nine points while averaging just under 19 minutes per night.

With Lovejoy out of the lineup, Pittsburgh went with a six-man defensive unit of Dumolin, Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley, Ian Cole, Derrick Pouliot and Kris Letang in Tuesday’s win over the Sabres. Steve Oleksy has been called up from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but it’ll be worth monitoring Pens GM Jim Rutherford as we get closer to the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Lovejoy’s absence could force Rutherford to add a piece on defense.

Sens extend d-man Wideman: two years, $1.6M

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 14: Chris Wideman #45 of the Ottawa Senators prepares for a faceoff against the New York Rangers during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on November 14, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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It’s taken a while, but Chris Wideman appears primed to stick at the NHL level.

Wideman, a longtime scoring ace in the American League, has inked a two-year, one-way extension with the Sens worth $1.6 million, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal carries an $800,000 average annual cap hit, and comes in Wideman’s first full season at the NHL level.

The 26-year-old, a fourth-round pick in ’09, has spent most of his professional career with the Sens’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton, where he emerged as one of the league’s best offensive defensemen. He was given the Eddie Shore award last season as the AHL’s top blueliner, after scoring 61 points in 75 games.

This year, Wideman has five goals and nine points through 44 games, averaging 13 minutes per night.

Wideman had previously been on a one-year, $600,000 deal and was set to become a restricted free agent at year’s end.

Staal (lower body) out, Skjei in for Rangers versus Devils

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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The Rangers are heading into New Jersey for a big rivalry game down a pair of regular d-men, as both Marc Staal and captain Ryan McDonagh will sit out tonight’s affair.

McDonagh was already ruled out, still feeling the effects of a Leo Komarov elbow.

Staal’s injury — not believed to be serious — was only announced recently, which does explain why the Blueshirts recalled blueline prospect Brady Skjei from AHL Hartford earlier today.

As a result, Keith Yandle will skate with Dan Girardi on a d-man pairing tonight, while Dylan McIlrath will go with Dan Boyle. Skjei will play alongside Kevin Klein.


Dallas has prospects ‘everybody wants,’ but Nill isn’t ‘giving them up’

Jim Nill

At first glance, the Stars have the look of a deadline buyer — second in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference, trailing only defending champ Chicago in both.

But according to GM Jim Nill, the club might not be all that active by Feb. 29.


Because he’s loathe to part with the prospects his competitors want.

“We’ve got four young defensemen, five or six young forwards,” Nill said, per NHL.com. “We’ve got three or four guys in the top-20 scoring [Travis Morin, Brendan Ranford, Jason Dickinson] and another guy who’s out for the season in Devin Shore who was leading the league in scoring.

“When I talk about trades, when we got to make trades, that’s who everyone wants and I’m not giving them up. That’s too big a part of our future.”

It’s no secret both Nill and owner Tom Gaglardi are bullish on the club’s prospect pool. Last summer, Gaglardi raved about the club’s blueline depth, saying “we’ve got the deepest bench of defense prospects in the league quite honestly.”

As such, it wasn’t surprising to read this in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts column:

In preparing for “Headlines” last weekend, I asked which teams were most insistent about adding pieces. When it came to forwards, the teams mentioned most often were Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles and the Islanders…

…On defence, it was Los Angeles, Montreal, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Tampa Bay. No Dallas was interesting, especially since I linked Dan Hamhuis to them last week, so you wonder about your intel. But they didn’t get as many mentions.

All that said, Nill has been aggressive at past deadlines. Last year, he sent veteran winger Erik Cole to Detroit and, the year prior, traded Stephane Robidas to Anaheim and acquired Tim Thomas from Florida.

Goalie nods: After ripping ‘unacceptable’ officiating last night, Domingue goes back-to-back

Louis Domingue

Last night, Arizona’s Louis Domingue sounded like a frustrated goalie following a 3-2 loss in Washington.

“I’m expecting that they treat every guy the same way, and I felt like because I don’t have many games in this league, I’m being treated differently,” Domingue said per Fox Sports, venting that officials didn’t blow play dead when Tom Wilson jostled away the puck from his glove, which led to a Mike Richards goal. “And I think that if [Braden] Holtby would’ve covered the puck this way, they would’ve [blown] the whistle right away. All game it was the same thing.

“I didn’t have the whistle. It’s just unacceptable that they don’t treat us the same way.”

Today, Domingue admitted he was a frustrated goalie.

“I know they have a tough job,” Domingue said, per AZ Central. “They do a good job at it. Sometimes after games, you get emotional. There’s stuff that you say, but I still think I had possession of the puck. I understand that they had a tough job, and it’s a fast game. I make mistakes.”

Later tonight, Domingue will try to right the ship.

The rookie netminder is back in goal in the second of a back-to-back as the Coyotes take on the Bolts in Tampa Bay. After winning January’s rookie of the month award, the 23-year-old has struggled through a rough February — he’s 3-5-1 and has allowed 29 goals on 272 shots over the nine-game stretch… for a save percentage of .893.

So maybe that’s part of the frustration, too.

For the Bolts, Andrei Vasilevskiy gets the start in goal.


— Both the Rangers and Devils are expected to go with their No. 1s in a rivalry game at Prudential: Henrik Lundqvist versus Cory Schneider.

Michal Neuvirth, who replaced Steve Mason against Toronto over the weekend, is back in goal for the Flyers. Cam Ward goes for the ‘Canes.

James Reimer goes for the host Maple Leafs tonight, while the Preds are likely to counter with Carter Hutton.

Petr Mrazek takes back the starter’s net when Detroit hosts Columbus. No word yet on a Blue Jackets starter (Joonas Korpisalo has started 12 straight, though).

Jaroslav Halak takes on Devan Dubnyk as the Isles play in Minnesota.

Ondrej Pavelec will make his fourth start since returning from injury when the Jets host the Stars. Antti Niemi is in goal for Dallas.

— The red-hot Craig Anderson (1.51 GAA, .951 save percentage over last three starts) goes for Ottawa in Edmonton. Cam Talbot starts for the Oilers.

— Joni Ortio gets a rare start as the Flames take on the Kings in L.A. Jonathan Quick will be in the other goal.