Buffalo Sabres

Sabres’ McCormick (blood clot) released from hospital, no timetable for return

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Buffalo forward Cody McCormick was released from hospital Monday after being diagnosed with blood clot in his leg over the weekend.

While a positive development, the club also said McCormick doesn’t have a timetable for return.

The 31-year-old, who rejoined the Sabres organization after spending last season in Minnesota, has scored one goal and four points in 33 games this year; his lone goal came on Friday night against Tampa Bay and, the following day, Buffalo’s team trainers sent him to hospital for evaluation.

With McCormick now sidelined indefinitely, the Sabres have recalled Phil Varone and Zac Dalpe from AHL Rochester.

In praise of Erik Johnson

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In what’s been a season of disappointment for Colorado, something fairly significant has occurred.

Defenseman Erik Johnson, the former first overall pick at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, is playing the best hockey of his life. Johnson leads all NHL defensemen in goals, with 12, while averaging a career-high 24:17 TOI per game — two big reasons why he’s been named an All-Star for the first time in his career.

“I’m just getting rewarded for playing well,” he said, per the Denver Post. “I’m a really big believer that if you play the game fair and you play it the right way, if you don’t cheat the game, if you’re in the spot you’re supposed to be, if you’re picking up other teammates when they’re down, and if you’re doing all the right things as a player, the game rewards you.’

That mentality could be why head coach Patrick Roy utilizes Johnson as often as he does. Along with d-pair partner Jan Hedja, Johnson plays most of Colorado’s “tough minutes,” often facing the opposition’s top forwards while getting the majority of his shift starts in the defensive zone (55.6 percent.)

It also represents something of a maturation in Johnson’s game.

Given his pedigree and draft position, Johnson’s promise often exceeded his actual production. He was, lest we forget, just the second-ever American defenseman to be taken No. 1 overall (Bryan Berard was the first, in 1995); he also burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old, scoring 33 points in 69 games as a rookie, and was the centerpiece for the Avs in the 2011 blockbuster deal with St. Louis, one that also included Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart.

Since then, Johnson’s faced more disappointments than successes.

Johnson admits he had a sheltered role in St. Louis and, upon moving to Colorado, struggled to develop a well-rounded game. He was tabbed as a draft bust on a number of occasions — check out the lead from this Post article from November — and suffered a major setback last January, when he was left off the U.S. Olympic roster for Sochi. Johnson, who’s repped America at nearly every level, including the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver, admitted he was “disappointed and upset” by the snub, but has since used it to fuel his fire and play tremendously well.

“It almost looks like, when you’re watching him, that he took the expectations off himself and just goes out there and plays,” Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said, per the Post. “It’s a lot of fun to watch. Because right now, he’s one of the best defensemen I’ve seen this year.”

It’s also worth pointing out that, despite seven seasons in the league and over 450 games played, Johnson is still only 26 years old. The old NHL adage states that learning to play defense takes longer than any other position, so what we could be witnessing this year is the former No. 1 overall pick finally blossoming into the franchise-type defenseman many envisioned on draft day.

 

Sabres’ McCormick in hospital with a blood clot

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The Buffalo Sabres announced Sunday that Cody McCormick will be out a while with a blood clot in his leg.

According to Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald, the blood clot is in McCormick’s calf muscle.

“I’m quite sure it’s somewhat serious if he’s still in the hospital,” said Ted Nolan. “I know he took a puck in the foot, he was limping around for a couple days, maybe it happened from there. I’m not 100 percent sure.”

McCormick, 31, has appeared in 33 games for the Sabres this season registering a goal and three assists to go along with 40 penalty minutes.

He is just the latest NHLer to be sidelined due to blood clots.

Flyers’ defenseman Kimmo Timonen has missed the entire season due to blood clots in his right leg and lungs.

Goaltender Tomas Vokoun missed the entire 2013-14 season due to blood clots and has since retired.

Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis is expected to miss six months after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lungs in November.

Related: Flyers’ Timonen to get blood test results in 10 days

So, who was the biggest All-Star snub?

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The remainder of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game rosters were announced on Saturday.

While some “snubs” are probably quite happy about getting a break (especially Joe Thornton, who’s taking a nice trip to Cabo), you can bet plenty of fan bases will gripe about players who didn’t make it, even if they might not realize that all 30 NHL teams must be represented in some form.

Well, if you’re going to gripe about it, why not do it in the comfy confines of PHT? Before you vote for the biggest snub of them all, however, let’s take a look at who’s on the roster:

Fan voted: Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo Sabres
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Forwards: 
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Defensemen: 
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Goalies: 
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Rookies: 
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning

OK, did you get a chance to scan the list? Good. Pick the biggest nub in the poll below. If your guy was double-snubbed (gasp), then write him in.

Crosby, Ovechkin headline 2015 All-Star Game roster

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We already know that Zemgus Girgensons was voted into the 2015 All-Star Game alongside Chicago Blackhawks players Corey Crawford, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews. The NHL trotted out the rest of the best today:

36 Additional All-Stars

Forwards
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Defensemen
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Goaltenders
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

6 Rookies

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning

The “fantasy draft” will take place on Jan. 23, with the captains for each team being announced sometime next week.