Mike Halford


Tarasenko to return Tuesday versus Kings

Turns out Vladimir Tarasenko‘s absence will be brief.

The Blues sniper, who sat out Saturday’s game against Minnesota with a lower-body injury, will be back in the lineup for tomorrow’s game against the Kings (8:30 p.m., NBCSN).

Tarasenko was hurt in a win over the Ducks last week, but managed to finish that game before sitting out the Wild tilt. The Blues didn’t seem overly concerned with Tarasenko’s health; on Saturday, head coach Ken Hitchcock joked that the lower-body ailment would keep the Russian out for “the month of October.”

Saturday, of course, was Oct. 31.

Tarasenko is off to a terrific start this season, leading the 8-2-1 Blues with six goals and 10 points. His production is a big reason the club’s been able to withstand the losses of injured forwards Paul Stastny, Patrik Berglund and Jaden Schwartz.

Video: Ruff’s successful challenge wipes out Leafs’ go-ahead goal

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Brad Boyes and the Toronto Maple Leafs thought they’d raced out to a 2-1 lead on Dallas in the first period of tonight’s game.

But Lindy Ruff had other ideas.

Dallas’ bench boss orchestrated a successful coach’s challenge to wipe out what would’ve been Boyes second of the night, correctly noting that Leafs center Byron Froese had gone offside prior to the puck going in.

From the NHL’s Situation Room Blog:

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Toronto’s Byron Froese was off-side prior to the goal.

According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”

Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Toronto Maple Leafs.

The clock is re-set to show 4:28 (15:32 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.

Since the Coach’s Challenge resulted in the original call being overturned, the Dallas Stars retain their time-out.

Earlier, Boyes and Froese had connected on the game’s opening goal, with the latter setting up the former at the 8:24 mark. It was Boyes’ first goal as a Leaf and Froese’s first point in the NHL.

Just under a minute later, Jamie Benn scored his league-high 10th goal to even the score at 1-1.

Kings say Kopitar extension ‘too close to not get it done’

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

It sounds like slowly, but surely, the Anze Kopitar extension in L.A. will happen.

“He’s everything we covet as a King,” Kings VP of hockey ops Mike Futa told Sportsnet’s Hockey Central. “It’s too close to not get it done. We’ll find a way to get it done.”

The Kopitar extension has dragged on for months now, something we’ve covered thoroughly — see here, here, here and here.

It’s been dragged out for a reason. Several reasons, actually.

The Kings were in a salary cap quagmire for quite some time, waiting on resolutions for both Slava Voynov and Mike Richards. It also stands to reason Kopitar’s ask is massive, given 1) all he’s accomplished during his time as a King, 2) the fact L.A. has openly praised how much he means to the organization, and 3) the mega-deals signed by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Chicago.

More, from TSN’s Bob McKenzie (courtesy Today’s Slapshot):

“Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane make $10.5 million per year, each. Anze Kopitar knows he’s not going to get that.

“But Malkin has the next-highest AAV, post-lockout, at 9.5. What’s the sweet spot between 9.5 and 10.5. I’m going to guess that it starts with a 10.”

Those kinds of dollars can lead to a complex negotiation.

GM Dean Lombardi has to balance between paying Kopitar what he’s worth, yet also keeping an eye toward the future, as he Kings still have some mighty big, mighty long contracts on the books — Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter through 2022, Marian Gaborik through ’21.

Lombardi also needs to account for contracts for talented youngsters like Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, who are RFAs in ’18.

As for Futa’s remarks, he certainly timed them well.

Recent reports from both TSN and Sportsnet suggested contract talks had stalled between the two sides, and that Kopitar wasn’t happy about it.

“We’re obviously working through it,” Futa explained. “He wants to stay here; we want him to stay here. Sometimes negotiations take a little longer than you like.”

Ducks waive veteran tough guy Jackman

Anaheim Ducks v Florida Panthers

Anaheim has placed forward Tim Jackman on waivers, per multiple outlets.

Jackman, 33, has only appeared in two games for the Ducks this season, averaging a mere 5:44 of ice time. Despite signing a one-year, $700,000 extension with the club back in February, Jackman was pushed down the depth chart this summer as Ducks GM Bob Murray brought in a number of new forwards, like Shawn Horcoff, Chris Stewart and Mike Santorelli.

Known primarily for his rugged style and fighting ability, Jackman did score five goals in 55 games last year, which is decent production from a player of his ilk.

Putting Jackman on waivers suggests Anahiem is about to get one of its injured players back — or, possibly more than one.

Nate Thompson, Simon Despres and Josh Manson are all currently on IR, as is captain Ryan Getzlaf. Getting any of them back would be a boost to a team that badly needs one — after starting the year 2-7-2, the Ducks have a big chance to turn around their season over the next two weeks, as they’ll play five of six at home against the Panthers, Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Oilers and Islanders.

‘Last game, no good’: Flyers healthy scratch Medvedev for first time

Evgeny Medvedev, Travis Zajac

Evgeny Medvedev, the veteran Russian d-man Philly signed this summer out of the KHL, will be in the press box tonight in Vancouver as he sits for a healthy scratch — for the first time this season.

“Last game [Friday’s 3-1 loss to Buffalo], no good,” Medvedev said, per CSN Philadelphia. “The last game I was minus-1. I am working. Maybe next time I’ll play. I don’t know. The coach maybe he’ll let me play.”

Medvedev, 33, will be replaced by Brandon Manning this evening.

The Russian rearguard was a regular fixture in the Flyers lineup this year, averaging over 17 minutes a night while appearing in all 10 games. His traditional stats didn’t jump off the page — just one assist, no goals and only a handful of blocked shots — but there was a case to be made for him driving possession while on the ice, and improving Philly’s neutral-zone play.

So, why sit Medvedev?

Well, the Buffalo game wasn’t very good. Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol also said he wants to rotate through all seven of his defensemen early in the season.

Finally, Hakstol suggested Medvedev is still adjusting to the North American style of play, having spent all of his professional career in Russia.