Mike Halford

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 06:  Paul Stastny #26 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 6, 2014 in Uniondale, New York. The Blues defeated the Islanders 6-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Blues place Stastny on IR

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When Paul Stastny was hurt in last week’s win over Toronto, the Blues said they didn’t think the injury was long-term.

But now, it appears a little more serious than first thought.

St. Louis placed Stastny on IR Tuesday, after he sat out Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Habs. Head coach Mike Yeo acknowledged it’s a significant loss for the club, which is back in action tomorrow in a Rivalry Night game against Detroit (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“He’s usually the first guy over the boards for a power-play faceoff or the first guy over the boards for a penalty-kill faceoff, and those are key,” Yeo said, per the Blues website. “He’s a very important player for us. You don’t take out a top-line center from too many lineups where they don’t feel that.”

Stastny had been on fire since the dismissal of former head coach Ken Hitchcock, racking up six points over his last five games (in which the Blues went 4-1-0).

The 31-year-old currently sits fourth on the team in assists and points, while averaging 19:25 TOI per night, so he’s clearly a big part of the St. Louis attack. And given the Blues have already lost Robby Fabbri to a torn ACL, they certainly didn’t want to be down the services another productive forward.

“We have more than capable players,” Yeo said. “Our focus is on the guys that are in the lineup and if we take care of our job, we give him a chance to get better and obviously we’ll be stronger when he gets back.”

 

Coyotes haven’t made extension offer to Hanzal

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  Martin Hanzal #11 of the Arizona Coyotes during the NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks at Gila River Arena on November 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 4-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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“I haven’t got an offer yet from the Coyotes. We haven’t talked.”

That was Martin Hanzal to the Arizona Republic this week, updating where negotiations are between him and the the club regarding a new deal.

Hanzal, set to become a UFA this summer, already seemed likely to be moved by the Mar. 1 trade deadline — and that was before his latest update.

Now it feels like a near certainty.

“The bottom line is I don’t have a contract for next season, and we’re two weeks away from the deadline,” Hanzal continued. “So it’s going to happen one way or the other. Obviously, I’ll be happy with whatever happens because this is hockey and if they move me, I’ll probably have a chance to win a Stanley Cup.

“That’s another upside, right?”

As has been well-documented throughout this process, Hanzal is a very intriguing add for a number of playoff-bound teams.

Last year he racked up a career-high 41 points (in just 64 games played), often skating alongside two youngsters in Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Hanzal was also terrific in the faceoff circle, winning nearly 56 percent of his draws, and has routinely averaged around 18 minutes per night for the Coyotes, the only NHL club he’s ever known.

At 6-foot-6, 226 pounds, Hanzal would provide an immense physical presence down the middle. And after missing some time to injury — health has been a concern for the 29-year-0ld — Hanzal seems to be peaking at the right time. He has seven points in his last eight games, including a goal in last night’s 4-0 win over Calgary.

The big question now, it seems, is what Coyotes GM John Chayka wants for Hanzal. Back in late January, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Chayka was looking to hit a grand slam, with an ask from Montreal that included prized prospect Michael McCarron and a first-round pick.

Hansen ‘made it very clear’ he wants to remain a Canuck

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 16: Jannick Hansen #36 of the Vancouver Canucks carries a puck during their NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on January 16, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
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Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen is fully aware that teams may want to trade for him ahead of the March 1 deadline.

The speedy winger is also aware that his limited no-trade clause (he can provide a list of eight teams he’d be willing to join) doesn’t give him full control of  the situation.

But for the record, he doesn’t want to be traded.

“If [Vancouver] comes to me, I give them my list and then it’s in their hands,” Hansen explained, per The Province. “I can’t veto a trade. If (Canucks GM Jim Benning) wants to trade me, he can trade me.”

Read more: Expansion draft complicates matters in Vancouver

On paper, Hansen would be a solid fit for a number of playoff-bound teams — something the Canucks aren’t, barring a major run down the stretch.

In the third year of a four-year, $10 million deal, Hansen carries a tidy $2.5 million cap hit. That’s good value for a 30-year-old who has tons of speed, the versatility to play up and down the lineup, and scored 22 goals last season.

Vancouver knows Hansen could fetch a nice return on the trade market. That, combined with the disaster of last year — Benning was pilloried for failing to flip Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata, assets that eventually walked away for nothing in free agency — has put major pressure on management to get this year right.

Hansen has even more value given he’s not purely a rental. The acquiring team would secure his services for next season as well. That, according to him, opens the door for more than the usual deadline suitors, in that Hansen’s eight teams don’t have to be guaranteed to make the playoffs.

He wants to remain a Canuck, though — so even if he’s asked for a list, he may not provide the easiest of trade options.

“I have another year on my contract, so maybe a team that’s not in the playoffs would want me for next year,” he explained. “It’s tough for me to figure out what’s going to happen. But I’ve made it very clear I’d prefer to stay here.”

Goalie nods: Bobrovsky looks to put rough stretch behind him

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 28:  Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in goal during the third period of a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on October 28, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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It was a forgettable month of January for All-Star Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

After a terrific opening three months, Bobrovsky went just 4-4 in January while posting a mediocre .908 save percentage. Not surprisingly, the Blue Jackets cooled off following their torrid start, which led to some griping from head coach John Tortorella.

But things could be trending back in the right direction.

Bobrovsky has won two of his last three, making 80 saves on 86 shots for a .930 save percentage. Tonight’ he’ll get to build on that with a home date against the Rangers at Nationwide — a club he’s had some success against. Earlier this season, he made 25 saves in a 4-2 victory, and it’s worth noting he’s been very good at home this season, boasting an 18-6-0 record.

It’s no secret that Bobrovsky is hugely important to the Jackets, and it’s fair to suggest how far they go this season is entirely dependent on him. He’s been an absolute workhorse for Tortorella this season, sitting eighth in the NHL in games played (44) and sixth in shots faced (1254).

For the Rangers, Antti Raanta gets the nod tonight.

Elsewhere…

— Just one other game on the ledger, as the Coyotes travel to Calgary to take on the Flames. Mike Smith is back in goal for Arizona, after he beat the defending champion Penguins in a shootout on Saturday. For the Flames, Chad Johnson will start after he also beat the Penguins in his last start, a 33-save effort last Tuesday.

 

Kings play-by-play man Miller still out after mild stroke

LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 11:  L.A. Kings Play-by-Play announcer Bob Miller introduces Jim Fox as Fox is honored by the Los Angeles Kings for his twenty-five years of service as a player and an announcer before their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on February 11, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Noah Graham/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) Bob Miller, the Hall of Fame television play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Kings, will miss another seven games while he continues recuperating from a mild stroke he suffered last month.

The team said Monday that Miller is recovering at home and “remains in great spirits.” The 78-year-old announcer was stricken on Jan. 28 and admitted to a hospital where he underwent an undisclosed procedure.

The Kings said Miller will provide another update on his return near the end of the month. He is in his 44th season with the Kings. Miller missed the final three months of last season because of quadruple bypass surgery.

Miller had already reduced his travel schedule during the team’s 50th anniversary season. He planned to call 58 games, including all home games, and the first round of the playoffs if the team advances.

The team said Ralph Strangis will pair with Jim Fox to call games on Fox Sports West from Feb. 16-28. Strangis has filled in for Miller this season and formerly was the voice of the Dallas Stars.