Ducks to retire jerseys of Kariya, Niedermayer this season

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The Anaheim Ducks announced on Monday that they are going to honor two of the franchise’s best all-time players during the 2018-19 season when they retire the jersey numbers of Paul Kariya (No. 9) and defenseman Scott Niedermayer (No. 27).

Kariya’s number retirement ceremony will take place on Oct. 21 against the Buffalo Sabres, while Niedermayer will have his night on Feb. 17 against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

Niedermayer, whose number 27 is also retired by the New Jersey Devils, will become the eighth player in league history to have his jersey retired by two different teams. That list includes Mark Messier (Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers), Bobby Hull (Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets), Tim Horton (Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs), Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings), Ray Bourque (Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche), Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes), and Patrick Roy (Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche).

“Paul Kariya and Scott Niedermayer both had an enormous impact on our franchise.” said Ducks Owners Henry and Susan Samueli in a statement released by the team.

“Paul was the club’s first superstar player, helped put Anaheim on the NHL map and electrified fans with his speed and play-making ability. Scott led our team to the first Stanley Cup in California’s history with a Conn Smythe performance in 2007 that will be remembered in this community forever. Although Paul and Scott played in different eras of Ducks hockey, they shared similar traits: to captain the Ducks with class, dignity and determination.”

Kariya is the big one here, and his jersey going into the rafters is probably long overdue.

He spent nine years with the Ducks, playing the best hockey of his career in Anaheim. His 300 goals and 669 total points with the team place him among the top-four in both categories. He was a superstar with the Ducks and a key part of their 2002-03 team that made a run to the Stanley Cup Final. Following that season he signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche to reunite with former Ducks teammate Teemu Selanne. He also spent time with Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues in his career.

Kariya’s career came to a premature end due to concussions, and his relationship with the NHL and the game of hockey was strained in retirement. A little more than a year ago it was mentioned by Selanne that the Ducks wanted to bring Kariya back into the fold with the team but that he was still “very bitter” about hockey.

When Kariya officially retired back in 2011 he was extremely critical of the league and the way it handled head injuries.

He was the first ever draft pick in Ducks franchise history, going fourth overall in 1993.

“I am extremely honored and very thankful to Henry and Susan Samueli and the entire Ducks organization for this incredible recognition,” said Kariya in the Ducks’ statement. “This is not something I ever dreamed would happen. I am very grateful to the community for their support, and I look forward to celebrating this special evening in October with all Ducks fans.”

Niedermayer spent the final five seasons of his NHL career in Anaheim, joining the team as a free agent ahead of the 2005-06 season. After a remarkable career with the Devils that saw him win the Norris Trophy and three Stanley Cups, he joined the Ducks where he would have an opportunity to play with his brother, Rob. It was also in Anaheim where he eventually joined forces with another Hall of Fame defenseman in Chris Pronger and helped give the Ducks one of the most dominant defense-pairings ever, a duo that helped lead the team to its first — and to this point only — Stanley Cup during the 2006-07 season.

“I received a very special call last week from Henry Samueli, informing me that the Ducks were going to retire my jersey,” said Niedermayer in the Ducks’ statement. “What an incredible honor. I’m very grateful to have played for such an incredible organization in front of amazing Ducks fans. I’m also grateful for the amazing teammates, coaches and training staff I was able to work with in Anaheim. Together we achieved great things. I want to thank Henry and Susan Samueli for this honor. I am looking forward to the special night during the 25th Anniversary season of Ducks hockey.”

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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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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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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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.