Tag: Eric Belanger

Johan Hedberg #1 of the New Jersey Devils looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on December 6, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(December 5, 2010 - Source: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America)

Hedberg, Belanger, Asham and Powe put on waivers


Four veteran NHLers were placed on waivers on Thursday.

New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg — bumped out of the picture after the Devils acquired Cory Schneider at the draft — Edmonton’s Eric Belanger and New York Rangers forwards Arron Asham and Darroll Powe were given notice as teams continue to try and shed salary/cap hits prior to the start of free agency.

Hedberg, 40, has one year remaining on a two-year, $2.8 million deal signed with the Devils on 2012. He has a full no-trade clause, but there was some thought he’d waive it in order to join a new club.

That didn’t materialize, so — assuming Hedberg will go unclaimed and be bought out — he’ll get paid $933,333 over the course of the next two years.

Belanger, 35, is heading into the final year of a three-year, $5.25 million deal signed in 2011. The veteran center had a forgettable 2013 in Edmonton, scoring just three points in 26 games, and his buyout will save the Oilers $1.75 million in cap space.

Asham and Powe were placed on regular waivers — not unconditional — meaning they’re not in line for compliance buyouts. The Rangers had already used one on Wade Redden and will probably hold the other to decide the future of Brad Richards next summer.

IR moves: Oshie and Colaiacovo off, Nugent-Hopkins on

Cam Fowler, T.J. Oshie

The NHL’s injured reserve got a bit of a workout today.

St. Louis activated forward T.J. Oshie from injured reserve and will have him in the lineup for tonight’s game against Edmonton. Meanwhile, the Oilers put forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on injured reserve with an illness. Coach Ralph Krueger says Hopkins won’t travel with the team and will miss their next two games. Edmonton activated Eric Belanger to take his place in the lineup.

Meanwhile in Detroit, the loss of Kyle Quincey to a broken cheekbone will be balanced by the return of Carlo Colaiacovo. The oft-injured blue liner returns after missing 29 games with a shoulder injury. Detroit’s had their share of defensive ailments, but getting a very fresh (yet very fragile) Colaiacovo back should help them out as he’s played in just two games this year.

Oilers’ Nugent-Hopkins (illness) likely to miss second straight game

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

The Oilers will likely be without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the second consecutive game on Saturday when they take on the Blues in Edmonton.

“Very doubtful,” was how Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger classified Nugent-Hopkins’ likelihood of suiting up.

The 19-year-old was slated to center Edmonton’s top line on Wednesday night against San Jose, but was a late scratch due to what’s suspected to be the flu.

His absence forced Krueger to juggle things in what ended up a 4-3 shootout loss to the Sharks.

Krueger had already moved winger Ryan Smyth to center the fourth line between Lennart Petrell and Mike Brown with Eric Belanger (groin) out.

Combined with the Nuge falling ill, Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner were Edmonton’s lone natural centers.

On the bright side, Belanger is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday, meaning the Oilers should have more depth down the middle.

Nugent-Hopkins late scratch for Oilers, out vs. Sharks tonight


The Edmonton Oilers will be without the services of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tonight when they host San Jose at Rexall.

Nugent-Hopkins wasn’t feeling well prior to the game and left the arena, according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug.

The 19-year-old was slated to center Edmonton’s top line tonight between Jordan Eberle and Ryan Jones, and his absence will force Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger to juggle things…again.

Krueger was already thin at center with Eric Belanger (groin) on the shelf.

The Belanger injury forced Krueger to move winger Ryan Smyth to center the fourth line between Lennart Petrell and Mike Brown.

With the Nuge now out, Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner are Edmonton’s lone natural centers.

Sharks to use Burns at forward? (Update: Yes!)


There was a strange sight at San Jose Sharks practice over the last two days — former All-Star defenseman Brent Burns skating up front.

As a forward.

A winger, to be specific.

The experiment began on Monday, first noticed and followed up on by David Pollak of the Mercury News:

A reasonable explanation. Burns has been out of the San Jose lineup since Feb. 23 after suffering an undisclosed injury in the first period of a 3-1 loss in Dallas.

Given the rigors of a shortened season, practices are few and far between, so it makes sense the best way to get Burns back into shape was to skate him as a forward.

But then, on Tuesday, the intrigue heightened — Burns took line rushes with Scott Gomez and James Sheppard.

More, from Pollak:

This wouldn’t be the first time Burns has played up front.

He played wing in junior and was routinely used as a forward in Minnesota under then-head coach Jacques Lemaire. Here’s more, from a 2008 piece in the Minnesota Star-Tribune:

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire absolutely loved Burns’ game on the right side of Andrew Brunette and Eric Belanger during Thursday’s 4-0 victory against Phoenix. “He had four chances to score, if not five,” Lemaire said. “He missed the net on four. I know he won’t miss the net every night.

“He has a sense where the puck’s going to go, where to go at the right time to get the puck. That’s what I like about his offense. … There’s not a lot of guys who are scorers that do that.”

Burns brings energy and intensity, and he flies up and down the ice better than most players. Burns also has a 6-4 frame, so he can bang bodies like a true power forward. Thursday, he registered a game-high five hits on the forecheck.

“Burns, he likes it. He’s excited to play,” Lemaire said.

There’s been no confirmation the Sharks actually intend on using Burns up front, but one final thing to consider — the Minnesota connection.

During the 2004-05 campaign, Burns was playing for the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Houston, and his head coach at the time?

None other than his current bench boss, Todd McLellan.

UPDATE: Pollak confirms that, assuming Burns gets clearance to play tonight vs. St. Louis (which McLellan thinks he will), Burns will skate with Gomez and Sheppard and get powerplay time on defense.