The transaction wire was busy today as teams sent down their eligible players to the American Hockey League for the duration of Olympic Break. Here’s a breakdown of who’s headed back to the farm for two weeks:
Tampa Bay: The Lightning sent forward Vladimir Namestnikov and goalie Kristers Gudlevskis back to AHL Syracuse. Namestnikov made his NHL debut against Detroit last night and Gudlevskis is off to Sochi where he’ll play goal for Latvia.
Phoenix: The Coyotes sent forward Tim Kennedy (pictured) and defenseman Connor Murphy back to Portland. Kennedy has two goals and eight points this season and Murphy has a goal and eight points himself.
New Jersey: The Devils sent 22-year-old defenseman Jon Merrill back to Albany. Merrill has impressed lately and scored the game-winning goal in overtime, his first career goal, on Friday against Edmonton. He and two other young blue liners have been the focus of some attention lately among Devils faithful.
Vancouver: The Canucks sent four players back to Utica in the AHL. Forwards Kellen Lain and Pascal Pelletier and defensemen Yann Sauve and Frank Corrado will spend Olympic break in Central New York after helping fill holes in the injury-riddled Canucks lineup of late.
Washington: The Capitals sent three players to Hershey. Forward Casey Wellman and defensemen Julien Brouillette and Patrick Wey were sent back to the AHL. For Brouillette, his brief stay in D.C. was a memorable one as he scored his first career NHL goal against New Jersey on Saturday.
Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin has been fined $5,000 for a butt-end on Canucks forward Pascal Pelletier last night, the NHL has announced.
The incident occurred midway through the second period, but there was no penalty called on the play. The stickwork was in retaliation for a hit Pelletier — called up from AHL Utica — had landed moments earlier.
There does not appear to be any video available of said incident, but we’ll try to track some down. Emelin doesn’t have any past history as a repeat offender, but did avoid a supplemental discipline hearing earlier this year after hitting Flyers forward Steve Downie in the head.
The Canucks limped into tonight’s game against the Bruins and, just prior to puck drop, learned they would essentially be playing on one leg.
Olympic defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Chris Higgins, the club’s second-leading goalscorer, have been ruled out for tonight’s game at TD Garden, according to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy. Recently recalled forward Pascal Pelletier will draw in up front, while newly acquired d-man Raphael Diaz will be on the blueline.
It’s unclear what injuries befell the pair, but both reportedly were hurt during last night’s 2-0 loss in Detroit. As such, Vancouver now heads into Boston minus the services of Higgins, Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Tanev, Mike Santorelli, Yannick Weber and Andrew Alberts.
Captain Henrik Sedin, who returned from a six-game absence on Monday, is also not at 100 percent. He only took four faceoffs against Detroit the other night before eventually ceding duties to a variety of players, including rookie Kellen Lain.