Will anyone give David Booth a shot?

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I was in Seattle this weekend to watch some baseball games. The Mariners were hosting the best team in the majors, the Oakland Moneyballin’ Athletics, who went into the All-Star break with a 59-36 record, despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the league.

While I didn’t get to see Scott Kazmir pitch for the A’s, baseball fans know his comeback story well by now. A couple of years ago, this guy was throwing for the Sugar Land Skeeters. Today, he’s a Cy Young candidate.

I don’t know if there’s a future Kazmir in the NHL right now. The Anaheim Ducks are hoping so with Dany Heatley.

But another, perhaps stronger, candidate is David Booth, the 29-year-old winger who was bought out by the Canucks after failing to produce in Vancouver at the same level he did in Florida, where he scored 87 goals in 309 games with the Panthers.

Booth’s stint with the Canucks was marred by injuries, bad luck, and, on occasion, simply poor play. He was an occasional healthy scratch and spent time this past season in the AHL on a conditioning assignment. Oh, and John Tortorella called him a “weird dude.”

When Booth’s Vancouver career came to an end, the Michigan native had scored just 26 goals in 134 games. He’ll be best remembered by Canucks fans for his hunting pictures.

In fairness to Booth, though, he suffered a serious ankle injury in March of 2013 — one the doctor told him would take a year to fully heal — and didn’t get near as much time on the power play with the Canucks as he did with the Panthers.

“I was playing 22 to 23 minutes and on 5-on-3s in Florida, and I haven’t had that opportunity this year,” said Booth. “You can’t expect 30 goals on the third line and not getting out on the power play.”

Despite the challenges he faced, Booth still managed to be a positive possession player with Vancouver. And before getting bought out, he finished 2013-14 with four goals in his last 10 games.

Speaking to the Vancouver Sun, Booth’s agent, Mike Liut, called the buyout “an opportunity to start over again” and said his client is “excited about it.”

“The way the season ended for him, in his mind, he knows he can play,” said Liut. “He’s getting back to 100 per cent and it’s a new challenge.”

Will anyone give Booth a shot? We’ll have to wait and see. Maybe he’ll have to accept a tryout, like another former much-maligned Canuck winger, Mason Raymond, did last year with the Maple Leafs. Raymond then scored 19 times for Toronto, earning a $9.5 million deal with the Flames.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.