Nielsen returns to an Islanders team that is without captain John Tavares for the remainder of the season after he injured his knee in Sochi. He’s had a solid season with 18 goals and 43 points in 60 games this season, but with the team falling further back in the Eastern Conference, it’s not much solace for what’s been a major letdown after making the playoffs last season.
The consensus top prospect for this summer’s NHL Draft is having a rough season. Nail Yakupov has already missed time this season thanks to a knee injury and now he’s got a likely head injury to add to the list.
With Yakupov’s two injuries just this year, the question now comes up as to how this will affect his draft stock in June, if at all. With the Columbus Blue Jackets in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 overall pick at the moment, seeing Yakupov take a hit like this on top of having a knee issue earlier in the year could give them pause when it comes time to pick.
As it is, Marc-Antoine Godin of La Presse in Montreal reports that three NHL executives he’s spoken to have told him the Blue Jackets are open to shopping the top overall pick should they get it and this news came down before Yakupov was hurt last night. With the Jackets out of the playoffs, let the postseason jockeying begin.
PHT Morning Skate: Where the Red Wings still stink on the road
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Know how the Red Wings had that record-long home winning streak? They’d like to just string a couple together on the road where they’re 16-18-1 away from Joe Louis Arena. With how tight things are in the West, they might have to start on the road in the playoffs. (Detroit Free Press)
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues set a team record for wins at home in their win over Columbus with 29 victories at Scottrade Center. If the season ended today, they’d have home ice throughout the playoffs. (Post-Dispatch)
Speaking of using home ice to your advantage, that’s what the Panthers would like to do that very much. (Sun-Sentinel)
Bruce Boudreau wasn’t exactly happy with Dallas’ Stephane Robidas for his hit on Corey Perry after the Ducks’ loss to the Stars. (Dallas Morning News)
Andrei Markov on playing his first game in 17 months last night: “I’m like… happy, you know?” Nice. (Montreal Gazette)
Tuukka Rask is trying to keep his head up while he’s on the shelf with a lower-body injury. (CSNNE.com)
Video fun-time: Claude Giroux’s shootout-winning goal came on a move he’s calling “The Datsyuk.” (CSNPhilly.com)
After getting dehydrated badly in his last start, Tampa Bay’s Dustin Tokarski is finding a better pregame routine. (Tampa Tribune)
The Kings would like to just salvage their latest road trip. Good luck doing that in Chicago tonight. (L.A. Kings Insider)
It’s that time of year where teams sign college free agents. The Predators got a tough one in Jack McLellan from Brown University. (Predators)
Finally, take a look at the wicked hit to the head for potential 2012 No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov took last night during his junior game. The hit came courtesy of recently signed Islanders prospect Mike Halmo. (YouTube)