Mike Halford

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Boyd Gordon #27 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Anaheim Ducks at the Wells Fargo Center on October 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Flyers lose veteran center Gordon (upper body) for at least a week

Already down the services of Michael Raffl, Michael Del Zotto and Scott Laughton, the Flyers suffered another blow on the injury front Tuesday, announcing that Boyd Gordon would be out at least a week with an upper-body ailment.

Gordon, a veteran penalty killer and bottom-six checking forward, signed over from Arizona this past summer. One of Philly’s more active guys on the dot, he sits fourth on the team in faceoffs taken but leads in winning percentage (52.4).

In eight games, Gordon has one goal while averaging 8:31 TOI per night.

Beyond this injury, the Flyers could be making some lineup adjustments for tomorrow’s game against Detroit (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Raffl could make his return to the lineup at the expense of Chris Vande Velde.

Soshnikov recalled as Leafs’ youth movement continues

DETROIT, MI - MARCH 13:   Nikita Soshnikov #41 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on March 13, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Toronto continued to get younger on Tuesday, as Russian forward Nikita Soshnikov was recalled from the AHL Marlies.

Soshnikov, 23, joined the Leafs as an undrafted free agent last year and played 11 games at the NHL level, scoring two goals and five points.

His time in North America has largely been spent with the Marlies — last year, he had 18 goals and 28 points in 52 games (plus seven more in 11 playoff contests). This year, he’s racked up three points in six games.

Not overly large — listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds — Soshnikov is high on skill and could be fun to watch alongside the likes of Toronto’s other young talents like Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner.

His roster spot with the Leafs opened up yesterday, when the club placed veteran d-man Matt Hunwick on IR.

St. Louis’ penalty kill is great, but Hitch doesn’t want to talk about it

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 21:  Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues walks on the ice in game four of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 21, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Blues have killed off 93.9 percent of penalties taken this season — the second-best mark in the NHL — and have allowed just one PPG over the last eight games, when they were shorthanded 29 times.

For most, that’s cause for praise (heck in Chicago, it would be cause for a parade.)

Yet for head coach Ken Hitchcock… well there’s this, from the Post-Dispatch:

Hitchcock will talk about just about anything. Except his team’s penalty kill.

Ken, your penalty kill …

“Don’t want to talk about it,” he said last week.

Is that a bad omen?

“Don’t want to talk about it.”

It hasn’t seemed to miss a beat with Rick Wilson taking over for Brad Shaw …

“Don’t want to talk about it. Next question.”

Hitchcock’s refusal to talk could come from a fear of upsetting the hockey gods — thou shall not speak glowingly of thy PK — or maybe he just doesn’t want to draw attention to unit that, historically, has been really good for a really long time.

Last year, the Blues had the league’s third best penalty kill, at 85.1 percent.

The year prior, they finished ninth at 83.7 percent.

The year prior to that? Second, at 85.7 percent.

A big part of this is consistency. Even though the coaching changed over from Shaw to Wilson, several of the contributors stay the same: Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo see the most shorthanded TOI per night, while the likes of Alex Steen, Patrik Berglund and David Perron — back for his second tour of duty in St. Louis — log big minutes up front.

Effective penalty killing is part of the Blues’ DNA, and often leads to success. So it’s probably worth noting that, in last year’s Western Conference Final loss to San Jose, the Blues surrendered four power play goals over the final five games of the series (and had their hands full with Brent Burns).

Related: ‘Invigorated’ Hitch signs on for one final year in St. Louis

‘It’s going to be great for him’ — Habs send Sergachev back to junior

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Mikhail Sergachev celebrates with the Montreal Canadiens after being selected ninth overall during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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On Monday, the Habs announced that Mikhail Sergachev — the 18-year-old blueliner taken ninth overall at the draft — has been re-assigned to OHL Windsor after spending all of October in Montreal, appearing in three games.

It’s a move that, apparently, was always in the cards.

“The plan was to keep him a month and evaluate after that,” Habs GM Marc Bergevin said, per the club’s Twitter account. “He needs to go play. It’s going to be great for him.”

Sergachev impressed team brass during training camp and the exhibition campaign, earning an opening-night roster spot over Mark Barberio.

But, as Bergevin noted today, the club is playing well and has solid depth across the lineup, making it tough for the rookie to secure minutes.

The Habs also saw some potentially troublesome developments — specifically, Sergachev tailoring his style of play to survive and stick with the NHL club.

Sergachev has loads of skill and is a gifted offensive d-man, so it should be fun to see him follow up on his ’15-16 campaign in Windsor, when he scored 17 goals and 57 points in 67 games.

The Spitfires should be a contender for the Memorial Cup, which is another reason Montreal was keen to send Sergachev down. Windsor is currently being led by a fellow first-rounder from this year’s draft — Logan Brown, taken 11th overall by Ottawa.

Undermanned Wild dealing with salary cap problems

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: Cliff Fletcher of the Minesota Wild attends the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Chuck Fletcher will be working the calculator hard over the next few days.

The Minnesota GM finds himself in a financial quandary ahead of tomorrow’s tilt against Buffalo — with Zach Parise, Marco Scandella and Zach Dalpe out week-to-week, Erik Haula out 7-10 days and Chris Stewart sick, the Wild only had 14 skaters at Monday’s practice.

Now, Fletcher will try to get some healthy bodies in the lineup — if he can.

From the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo:

The Wild’s using eight real forwards in practice and defenseman Nate Prosser, so only three lines.

The Wild’s currently trying to figure out how it can afford three or four callups for Tuesday’s game for Buffalo. Will it have to play shorthanded? Will Prosser have to play wing?

Right now, yes, unless the Wild figures out a way to create cap space by putting Scandella and maybe Victor Bartley on LTI (Long-term injury allows you to surpass the cap, but you must get compliant when the player returns), although the rule is convoluted on Bartley because the Wild’s not absorbing his full cap hit in the first place after his training camp injury.

Per CapFriendly, the Wild are pushed right up against the cap ceiling. In Saturday’s 4-0 win over Dallas, the club gave AHL Iowa recalls Tyler Graovac and Cristoph Bertschy their season debuts, and both played well — Bertschy registered his first NHL point (an assist) while Graovac scored his first big-league goal.

It would be unfortunate if all these injuries and a tight cap situation derailed what’s been a great start to the year. The Wild are 6-2-1 and atop the Central Division, and have received terrific netminding from Devan Dubnyk, the NHL’s reigning second star of the week.

Related: They ‘don’t have superstars,’ but the Wild are off to a hot start