Ryan Miller

Report: Ryan Miller won’t be back before the playoffs

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Ryan Miller will not be back before the playoffs, reports TSN’s Farhan Lalji from Vancouver.

According to Lalji, the injured Canucks goalie needs “at least three more weeks before he begins skating again.” Three weeks from today is Apr. 8. The last day of the regular season is Apr. 11. The playoffs start Apr. 15.

Miller, 34, suffered a sprained knee Feb. 22 on Long Island. That left the starting role to backup Eddie Lack, who’s been excellent as the Canucks have gone 6-3-1 in the 10 games since. The 27-year-old fan favorite has a .934 save percentage in March.

Miller’s status, in concert with Lack’s solid play, would seem to make Lack the favorite to start Vancouver’s first game of the playoffs, assuming the Canucks manage to qualify.

With 13 regular-season games still to play, it should also be interesting to see when Jacob Markstrom gets another shot after his “nightmare” start versus San Jose on March 3.

The Canucks have two more back-to-back sets, including this weekend when they play in Los Angeles Saturday and Arizona Sunday.

Related: With Miller reportedly out 4-6 weeks, Canucks ‘confident’ in Lack

PHT Morning Skate: ‘Hamburglar’ Hammond will get free McDonald’s for life

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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.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, whose often called The Hamburglar, has been given a lifetime card that will provide him with free McDonald’s. “I guess at the end of the day at least I know I’ll never end up starving. If hockey doesn’t work out, I have a meal plan,” Hammond said. (Ottawa Sun)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $30,000 league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $3,000. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Enter Now!

What happens if the players vote against inflating the salary cap by 5% next season? It turns out it might happen anyways. (Sportsnet)

The Florida Panthers’ competition to be the team’s backup goaltender for a practice has gone from having over 1,500 applications to a pair of finalists: Bill Ruggiero and Dustin Smith. (Panthers.nhl.com)

While recovering from a knee injury, Ryan Miller entered Eddie Lack’s pads competition:

Here are the highlights from Washington’s 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo:

The Buffalo Sabres are considering using some of their draft picks as trade chips. (John Vogl)

Teuvo Teravainen and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman are upbeat about the 20-year-old forward’s progress. (CSN Chicago)

After ‘nightmare’ start for Markstrom, Canucks face goaltending conundrum

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Four shots.

Three goals.

And that was the end of Jacob Markstrom’s season debut for the Vancouver Canucks, who went on to lose 6-2 at home to San Jose on Tuesday.

Markstrom only lasted 7:45 before Eddie Lack had to come off the bench, the latter’s night of rest quickly canceled.

“Not the start I wanted or the team wanted, and I’ve got to be better than that,” said Markstrom, per The Province. “I wanted all three goals back. It’s tough right now and I’m very disappointed in myself. It’s going to be a tough night but tomorrow is a new day. It was kind of a nightmare but it happens and you’ve got to refocus.”

When the 25-year-old next gets a chance is uncertain. Vancouver’s number one, Ryan Miller, could be out until the playoffs. Assuming the Canucks even make the playoffs, that is. Their cushion is down to three points after last night’s action.

Looking ahead, Vancouver has 14 more games in the month of March, including two sets of back-to-backs on Mar. 21-22 and 30-31.

Can Lack hold out until those back-to-backs? It would mean playing the next seven or eight in a row, on top of the six straight in which he’s already appeared, either as a starter or reliever.

If not, what can they expect of Markstrom after what happened against the Sharks?

“A game like that, he just has to forget about it,” said coach Willie Desjardins. “You get off to the wrong start and everything goes bad. The next time he’s got to bounce back and have a good one. Sometimes, you need to reset a bit and think about it. I just think it’s like a pitcher in baseball. You can have a Cy Young winner and sometimes he doesn’t have a good day. What does that mean? It means when his rotation comes up again, he goes again and I expect him to play well — that’s what I expect out of our goalies.”

Vancouver’s next game is Thursday in Arizona.

Goalie nods: Markstrom makes season debut for Canucks

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Vancouver goes with Markstrom

There’ll be plenty of eyes on the crease in Vancouver tonight as Jacob Markstrom makes his season debut against the Sharks.

Markstrom, a former touted prospect with Florida that came to the Canucks as part of the Roberto Luongo trade, has spent all of this season in AHL Utica and revived his career, going 17-7-2 with a 1.95 GAA and .932 save percentage, earning a spot in the All-Star Game.

Markstrom was recalled last week after Ryan Miller went down to injury, and served as Eddie Lack’s backup. Tonight, he’ll play in his first NHL game since April of 2014.

No word yet on who’ll start for San Jose. Alex Stalock played last night and shut out the Habs, so the Sharks could turn to Antti Niemi.

Elsewhere…

Preds at Devils: Carter Hutton (probable) vs. Cory Schneider

Flames at Flyers: Karri Ramo vs. Steve Mason

Caps at Jackets: Braden Holtby vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Sabres at Bolts: Anders Lindback vs. Ben Bishop

Leafs at Panthers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Roberto Luongo

Sens at Wild: Andrew Hammond vs. Devan Dubnyk (probable)

Isles at Stars: Jaroslav Halak vs. Kari Lehtonen (probable)

Ducks at Coyotes: Frederik Andersen (probable) vs. Mike Smith

Kings at Oilers: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Ben Scrivens (probable)

Sabres’ Chris Stewart is eager to play postseason hockey

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Chris Stewart came to the Buffalo Sabres from St. Louis as part of the Ryan Miller trade a year ago today. He doesn’t regret his tenure with Buffalo, but given that the Sabres are sitting in the NHL basement and his contract set to expire this summer, a trade to a contender wouldn’t upset him.

“If it does happen, I’m chomping at the bit,” Stewart told the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington.

The prospect of veterans being traded hasn’t been a taboo subject in Buffalo. Sabres coach Ted Nolan tried to use the possibility of being dealt as a motivational tool earlier this month.

“Maybe somebody will see you and want you,” Nolan suggested to his players at the time.

Stewart has 11 goals and 25 points in 61 games while playing for the offensively anemic Sabres. The 27-year-old forward comes with a $4.15 million annual salary.

It’s believed that Boston recently expressed an interest in Stewart’s services, per ESPN, but Buffalo’s reported asking price of a second-round pick and a prospect might be a roadblock.