Mike Halford

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 13: Shawn Matthias #16, Toby Enstrom #39 and Drew Stafford #12 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates Matthias scoring his first goal for the team against the Carolina Hurricanes during NHL action on October 22, 2016 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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Another day, another injury for Jets as Matthias goes on IR

Tough times in Winnipeg.

On Wednesday, the club announced that veteran forward Shawn Matthias suffered a lower-body injury in last night’s loss to Washington, and has been placed on injured reserve.

On its own, the loss hurts. Matthias has been productive this season, with five assists through eight games.

On the whole?

Yeah, Winnipeg’s in trouble.

The Jets already had two key forwards on IR prior to the Matthias designation: Bryan Little, a versatile center and offensive producer, and veteran winger Drew Stafford, who scored 21 goals last year.

Lest we forget, Winnipeg also played last night’s game against the Caps down the services of three defensemen: Tyler Myers, Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba.

The first two were dealing with lower-body injuries (of the day-to-day variety), while Trouba remains away from the team while embroiled in a contract dispute.

Add it all up, and there’s little surprise Winnipeg’s started the year 4-6-0, and — with all the recent losses at forward — there’s little surprise the club has only scored 10 times in the last six games (this after scoring 14 in the first four).

Things don’t get any easier for the Jets, either. They now head out on the road for three straight — in Washington, Detroit and MSG — and pretty much spend most of November on the road:

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With Matthias on IR, Winnipeg recalled Andrew Copp from AHL Manitoba. Copp had 13 points in 77 games for the Jets last season.

‘Disappointing’ Avs are ‘just spinning in the mud again’

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 22: Head coach Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche looks up ice during first period action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on October 22, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Avalanche 5-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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Colorado lost for the third time in four games on Tuesday night, a 5-1 drubbing at home to the Predators.

It was the Avs’ second straight defeat at the Pepsi Center, and an ugly one at that. Just ask head coach Jared Bednar.

“It’s not at all how we want to play,” Bednar said, per the Denver Post. “It’s pretty bad. We didn’t find the intensity we needed for the game.

“It was disappointing because it was a chance for us to go a couple of games above .500 and now we’re just spinning in the mud again.”

Bednar wasn’t the only one brandishing verbal cleavers after the game.

Matt Duchene said the Avs are “very inconsistent” while captain Gabriel Landeskog said “the work boots and work hats weren’t on.”

The most troubling development? These complaints are largely similar to the ones heard while Patrick Roy was still the head coach. Roy repeatedly took his core players to task, saying they lacked leadership, and suggesting the club needed to add more character.

There were also remarks — from Roy and various players — that the Avs lacked consistency, had a habit of coming out flat and never developed a consistent work ethic.

Now, one has to wonder if the fan base is tiring of this group.

From Post columnist Mark Kiszla:

“The work boots and work hats weren’t on,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said. Not that anybody in town noticed. It’s Raiders week and the Cubbies are wrestling a goat in the World Series. There were so many empty seats in the Pepsi Center, the Avs should have let folks in for free with a two-drink minimum.

It’s hard to watch this hockey team without a beer in your hand. Yes, Nathan MacKinnon can fly and Matt Duchene can score. But what Colorado management sees in goalie Semyon Varlamov at $6 million per year escapes me. What’s more, if the Avalanche really cared about Varly, why hasn’t Sakic gotten the 28-year-old goalie some meaningful help on the blue line?

It’s early, but Colorado can’t be thrilled about its attendance numbers. The Avs averaged just 15,428 through the first three games — 23rd in the NHL — and are coming off a year in which they finished 19th in the league (an average of 17,032.)

Tough times in Denver, to say the least.

No hearing scheduled for de Haan after Drouin hit

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Isles d-man Calvin de Haan isn’t scheduled to face a disciplinary hearing for his hit on Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin, an NHL spokesman confirmed.

De Haan was given a five-minute interference major on the play, which occurred early in the first period of the Bolts’ eventual 6-1 win. Drouin left the game and didn’t return, finishing with just 18 seconds of ice time.

Following the contest, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Drouin was held out of the remainder of the contest for precautionary measures, and will be re-evaluated.

“He was in good spirits after the game,” Cooper added, per NHL.com.

De Haan doesn’t have a history with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, having never been suspended or fined during his six-year career.

Rakell ‘ready to go’ for Ducks in Freeway Faceoff

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Rickard Rakell #67 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on December 21, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Ducks 5-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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After surgery, a contract dispute and visa issues, Rickard Rakell is finally ready to make his season debut tonight when the Ducks take on the Kings in the latest installment of the Freeway Faceoff.

“I think I’m ready to go,” Rakell said, per the Ducks website. “I’ve been skating hard with the coaches, so I feel conditioned. It’s more about timing because I haven’t played games in a while.”

In practice this week, Rakell centered the third line between Antoine Vermette and Chris Wagner, while also seeing second unit power-play time with Vermette, Jakob Silfverberg, Shea Theodore and Kevin Bieksa.

So it certainly looks like he’s ready to go.

The Ducks will certainly welcome it.

Signed to a six-year, $22.8 million extension two weeks ago, the 23-year-old should give his club a bump offensively. Rakell finished fourth on the Ducks in scoring last year, with 20 goals and 43 points, and led the team in game-winning markers.

Tonight’s game will mark the first matchup of the season between the Kings and Ducks, who have established a pretty healthy rivalry over the last few years. For what it’s worth, Rakell finished with a goal and an assist in four games against L.A. last year.

Related: The injury-riddled Kings just want to ‘stay in the race’

 

‘Valuable’ Murphy to make season debut for ‘Canes, who really need wins

Ryan Murphy
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With just two victories from their first eight games, the Carolina Hurricanes need to turn things around — and fast — to stay on track with their goal of snapping a seven-year playoff drought.

And tonight, they’ll get some help in that department.

Ryan Murphy, who hasn’t played at all this season due to a lower-body ailment, will make his debut when the ‘Canes take on the Sens in Ottawa.

The former first-round pick will be a welcome addition to the lineup. Specifically, for sophomore Noah Hanifin, who’s struggled to find a consistent d-man partner this year after playing extended lengths of time with Murphy last season.

Head coach Bill Peters said Murphy’s presence in the lineup will make an impact.

“He’s a valuable guy,” Peters said, per the ‘Canes website. “He’s a puck-mover, and we’ve had a hard time moving the puck out of our zone in transition.”

Murphy, who’s really struggled with injuries over his four-year career, is a good skater and has nice passing vision — two attributes that should help Carolina get the puck out of its own end, which Peters alluded to.

This is also the time Carolina needs to make up ground in the standings. Having survived a tough six-game road swing to start the year, the ‘Canes have a quick two-game trip through Ottawa and Nashville before a nice stretch at home, which will see them play six of seven at PNC Arena.