Author: Mike Halford

Zach Parise

Parise (sprained MCL) resumes skating, ‘getting better’


Some good news out of Minnesota on the health of injured forward Zach Parise.

On Monday, the Star-Tribune reported that Parise — who’s in Minnestota while the Wild are out on their road trip — has resumed skating, after spraining his MCL 11 days ago in a loss to Nashville.


Parise has missed four games with a sprained MCL in his right knee. As the Wild complete the trip with games at Pittsburgh on Tuesday and at Boston on Thursday, Parise will continue skating at home.

“He’s getting better,” [head coach Mike] Yeo said. “We’ll see where he’s at when we come home from the road trip.”

The Wild have fared very well without Parise, going 3-0-1 over the last four games. But things promise to get more difficult in the coming days, as they’ll finish this current trip with road dates in Pittsburgh and Boston, before returning home to Minnesota on Nov. 21 — when they’ll face Nashville, which employs the same individual (James Neal) that knocked Parise out of the lineup on Nov. 5.

D.C. Reunited: Backstrom, Ovechkin together again

Nicklas Backstrom #19 and Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals talk during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center on January 24, 2013 in Washington, DC.
(January 23, 2013 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

The Dynamic Duo is back in Washington.

For now, anyway.

During Monday’s practice, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz put captain Alex Ovechkin on a line with longtime running mate Nicklas Backstrom, suggesting the pair could be back together when Washington plays Detroit on Wednesday night.

“I just wanted to change it up, change the thought process a little bit,” Trotz said, per “I think we can be better in some areas. I haven’t put [Backstrom], Osh [T.J. Oshie] and Ovi together to see how that looks.”

For most of this year, Oshie and Ovechkin have been centered by Evgeny Kuznetsov, while Backstrom — who missed the start of the year recovering from hip surgery — started out with Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson, but has skated with a variety of wingers.

Backstrom and Ovechkin have spent a good chunk of their careers playing alongside each other, and have enjoyed some tremendous success. This includes the banner 2009-10 campaign, when both eclipsed the 100-point plateau.

The reunion could spark Ovechkin to break out of his recent mini-slump. He’s scoreless over the last three games, remaining tied with Sergei Fedorov for most goals by a Russian (483) in NHL history.

In his last two games, No. 8 has mustered just five shots on goal.

Wings sign d-man Ouellet to one-year, $715K extension

Xavier Ouellet

The Red Wings have agreed to terms with blueliner Xavier Ouellet on a one-year, one-way deal worth $715,000, per MLive.

Ouellet, 22, was the club’s second-round pick (48th overall) at the 2011 draft and has played for Detroit in each of the last two seasons, including a career-high 21 last season.

A former Quebec League standout that played for Team Canada at the 2013 World Juniors, Ouellet didn’t crack the Red Wings roster out of camp this year and has spent all of his time with AHL Grand Rapids, where he’s scored six points through 11 games.

Last year, he was named an AHL All-Star while playing for the Griffins.

With this contract, the Wings give Ouellet another year of grooming in the American League, with the opportunity to become a full-time NHLer next season. It’s important to note that, during the 2016-17 season, he’ll no longer be waiver exempt — meaning his chances of staying with parent club do improve.

After seven straight healthy scratches, Semin says ‘I want to play’

Alex Galchenyuk; Alexander Semin

The last time Alex Semin played for Montreal was back on Oct. 27 — a 5-1 loss in Vancouver, in which he finished minus-2 with one shot on goal in just over 13 minutes of action.

Since then, he’s been sitting in the press box.

Seven straight games, and counting — that’s how many times Semin’s been a healthy scratch, a streak that may or may not continue on Saturday when the Habs host the Avs.

“When you don’t play in seven games, after that it’s tough to get started,” Semin said, per the Habs website. “But, I want a fresh start and I want to play.”

Semin started the year promisingly enough, playing second-line wing next to Alex Galchenyuk while registering two assists against hated rival Boston in just his second game in a Montreal uniform.

But from there, things went south.

A string of listless performances forced head coach Michel Therrien to put Semin in the press box. Therrien alluded to the reasons for his decision this week, saying Semin’s “pace and execution have been faster” lately, which “wasn’t the case during the first few weeks of the season.”

Now, it’ll be interesting to see when the Russian gets back in the mix.

Semin skated with Galchenyuk and Lars Eller at Friday’s practice, filling the role left open by Torrey Mitchell‘s (person) absence. That could mean Semin gets back in against Colorado on Saturday.

And if he doesn’t?

Consider what Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman told 630 CHED (Edmonton) today.

“For reasons that he’s not playing, I wonder if Semin in Montreal is going to end up either on waivers or get traded somewhere,” Friedman explained. “Just because they’ve got no room for him in the lineup.”

Goalie nods: After getting called out by DeBoer, Jones back in for Sharks

Martin Jones

Martin Jones will get a shot at redemption tonight in Detroit.

Jones, who was hooked from his last outing after allowing two goals on three shots, will start against the Red Wings tonight, looking to bounce back after arguably his worst effort in a Sharks uniform on Tuesday.

San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer didn’t mice words when talking about Jones’ performance, saying the second goal allowed was “bad“:

After a hot start to the year, Jones has plateaued. He has just two wins in his last eight starts and has been yanked in two of his last three.

For Detroit, Jimmy Howard will get the nod in goal.


Sergei Bobrovsky looks to bounce back from a subpar outing against Vancouver (four goals on 29 shots) when he takes on the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The Pens will counter with Marc-Andre Fleury.

Karri Ramo once again goes for the slumping Flames, his seventh straight start. Washington has yet to name a starter. While Braden Holtby played last night in a 5-2 win over Philly and would seemingly be in line for a break, backup Philipp Grubauer was shaken up a bit during yesterday’s morning skate.

— Looks like Anton Khudobin will get the call when the Ducks host the Isles at Honda. Khudobin hasn’t played since shutting out the Sharks last Saturday. No word yet on an Isles starter, but Jaroslav Halak did play last night and allowed two goals on 22 shots in a loss to the Kings.