With Robin Lehner’s brief push and Ben Bishop’s 2-0-1 start, the Ottawa Senators probably aren’t dead-on desperate for Craig Anderson to return. Still, he’s their big-money guy, so getting him up to speed for the playoffs (and maybe a push for the Northeast Division title) is a must.
Anderson underwent a little dress rehearsal on Monday as he tested that injured hand while taking shots with Senators assistant coaches before their main practice, as the Ottawa Citizen reports.
The Senators goalie sliced his pinky finger while cutting a frozen chicken breast, which makes me think that teams should mandate “grill-ready” chicken for all its players – even if it means putting their Twitter policies on hold.
(OK, that’s a selfish thing because I want more players to say foolish things on Twitter and less players to injure themselves preparing healthy yet convenient meals.)
As far as his actual return, that remains to be seen, but the report indicates that he might make a “real” practice appearance sometime this week.
With a 4-1-1 record in their last six games, the Chicago Blackhawks probably aren’t quite panicking about Jonathan Toews’ absence anymore. Still, there’s no doubt that they’ve missed their versatile captain for the last 11 games, so GM Stan Bowman presents a good news/bad news proposition.
Craig Custance reports that Bowman believes that Toews won’t play against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, but he hasn’t ruled out a possible return against the Stars in Dallas on Friday or a home game versus the Washington Capitals on Sunday. At worst, Bowman stated that Toews is expected to be back within next week.
(Whether that means he’ll be back on March 20 against the Blue Jackets, March 21 against the Vancouver Canucks or even March 25 against the Nashville Predators remains to be seen … and is always subject to further change.)
With the Central Division crown just about guaranteed to be a jump ball between the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, the Blackhawks ultimate target is probably a sixth seed, to be honest. That actually could be a pretty-much-ideal scenario at least considering the situation at hand, as that would limit the urge to rush Toews back too soon, give him time to get acclimated without feeling too much pressure and give Chicago a workable first round matchup against a likely flawed Pacific Division winner.
That’s not too awful an outlook, but most importantly, they need a healthy Toews to have a real shot in the playoffs. It sounds like we’ll have to wait a little longer to see if they’ll get that same guy back.
Anaheim Ducks ultra-pest (and reigning Hart Trophy winner) Corey Perry has been called many things in his brief but productive career. Most of those things cannot be published in a “family” blog.
Still, part of what makes him such an irritant for opposing goalies and players is a considerable willingness to take abuse – especially in front of the net. Considering the abuse he can take from time to time, one word that probably wouldn’t apply to him is “soft.”
In fact, Perry has played in 272 consecutive hockey games, but a shoulder injury suffered from a Stephane Robidas check might just end that mini-Iron Man streak. The OC Register’s Eric Stephens reports that Perry might not play against the Colorado Avalanche tonight.
Bruce Boudreau said that Perry is “doubtful” to play but wouldn’t be surprised if he played anyway.
“He’s at the stage where he wants to play,” Boudreau said. ”We’ll see how it goes at game time. It doesn’t surprise me one lick. I know I’ve only been here for three months or fourth months but you get to know people in a hurry. He’s a battler. As good as they come.”
(Is it a bad sign that I imagined Boudreau chowing down on a huge hot fudge sundae when he used the phrase “one lick” in that quote? It’s probably a bad sign.)
For what it’s worth, Perry labeled his chances at “50-50,” which is typical of hockey players who rarely give us any idea if they’ll play.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really behoove the Ducks to push their star into action with only the biggest dreamers clinging onto playoffs hopes. Then again, fantasy hockey owners gearing up for their own personally pivotal playoff runs probably don’t want to hear it.
After losing three games in a row and going 1-3-1 in their last five games, Brandon Dubinsky said that the New York Rangers “stopped the bleeding” with a 4-3 OT win against the New York Islanders on Sunday. Unfortunately, some of their wounds are still showing.
Heart-and-soul captain Ryan Callahan (foot) and offensive blueliner Michael Del Zotto (hip) missed practice today, raising concern that both players won’t be available for tomorrow’s match against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Naturally every point matters, but you’d be naive to say that Tuesday’s contest is more important than a match that could alter the outlook of the Atlantic Division on Thursday. The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently just four points behind the Rangers and the two teams will face off on March 15.
Not having Callahan’s versatile, hard-nosed game and MDZ’s offensive prowess could make for some nervous times for a team that once seemed almost predestined for the Atlantic crown.
Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has made waves with his great play this season, but he’s also distinguished himself by defying injury logic. He barely missed a beat when he broke his finger, and if you ask him, his current groin injury won’t be that big of a deal, either.
In fact, Howard said that “everything’s back to normal” and shared an optimistic target date of Tuesday, as Bill Roose discusses for the Red Wings’ official site.
The plan is for Howard to go to Nashville with the Wings and participate in Saturday’s morning skate at Bridgestone Arena. If all works out, a return to the lineup could come as early as Tuesday in Los Angeles, Howard said.
As competent as Joey MacDonald has been lately, the banged-up Red Wings could use a close-to-100-percent Howard as they jostle with the St. Louis Blues for the Central Division crown – and the first or second seed that will come with it.
At the same time, Howard and the Red Wings should be weary not to rush back. Ultimately, it’s all about playing your best hockey in the postseason, which could be at risk if his return is too hasty.