Matt Stajan

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Longtime NHLer Matt Stajan retires after 14 seasons

TORONTO — Matt Stajan retired Tuesday after 14 seasons in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames.

The 35-year-old two-way center announced his decision in a statement through the NHL players’ union.

He had 413 points (146 goals, 267 assists) in 1,003 NHL games – more than five seasons in Toronto and more than eight in Calgary. He spent last season with the German club EHC Red Bull Munich.

Stajan is from Ontario and rooted for the Maple Leafs, who drafted him in 2002. He scored for Toronto in his first NHL game in 2003. In the 2009-10 season, he had a career-high 57 points with Toronto and Calgary.

”As a kid growing up in Mississauga … it was my dream to one day play in the NHL,” Stajan said. ”To have had this dream come true and have been able to play the sport that I love so much for so many years is something I feel extremely fortunate and grateful for. The memories that I have made will truly last a lifetime.”

Off the ice, Stajan and wife Katie had deep ties to Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre following the death of son Emerson shortly after birth in 2014. The hospital renamed an emergency unit in honor Emerson, and the Emerson Stajan Foundation has been created.

Looking to make the leap: Sam Bennett

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While some might argue Sam Bennett already made “the leap,” it’s important to remember he only played 12 games last year — 11 of which came in the playoffs.

So more of a hop than a leap, really.

Which is why we’re profiling the 19-year-old here. For all the promise Bennett showed in ’14-15 — three postseason goals, boundless energy, quality net-front presence — this is the year where he’ll try to establish himself as a full-time NHLer because, despite that stellar spring cameo, Bennett isn’t guaranteed a roster spot this fall.

“It’s still the NHL,” Flames assistant GM Craig Conroy told NHL.com in July. “There are no givens. You play bad in training camp, and that’s not good.

“[Bennett’s] mindset is he’s going to do this and this and this, but you just don’t want to feel like it’s going to be given. You want him to know he has to come and earn it. It’s earned, not given.”

Taken fourth overall by Calgary in 2014, Bennett really hasn’t played much hockey in the last 12 months. A torn labrum in his left shoulder limited him to 15 games with OHL Kingston last year, and from there he transitioned straight his 12-game stint with Calgary. Heck, Bennett was green enough to take part in the Flames’ prospect development camp last month, which further illustrated just how inexperienced he is.

“I’m still only 19 years old,” he explained. “I think there is tons that I still need to learn.”

It’s worth noting that, after last year’s impressive showing, the Flames know the stakes have been raised. Prized offseason acquisitions Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik have raised expectations and, at center, Bennett will be in tough for minutes with the likes of Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Josh Jooris and Matt Stajan — all of whom are older, and more experienced.

That said, Bennett thinks what he showed in the postseason is proof he’s ready for a full-time gig.

“I feel like I proved myself in the playoffs,” Bennett said. “Obviously it’s not going to change the way I act or anything.

“I’m still going to work as hard as I can to make this team again.”

Perry returns to Ducks practice after missing previous two

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The leading playoff scorer was back on the ice Friday, as Corey Perry returned to Anaheim Ducks practice after missing it on Tuesday and Thursday.

Perry, who leads all postseason skaters with 15 points through nine games, was shook up in the series-clinching Game 5 win over Calgary in Round 2, courtesy a collision with Flames forward Matt Stajan. Perry looked to be in serious discomfort on the play, but returned shortly afterward and went on to score the game-winner in OT.

There was some concern of a lingering ailment following the Stajan hit, but Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said he fully expects Perry to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, which will go at the Honda Center on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

Perry misses second practice, still expected to play Game 1 versus Blackhawks

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Corey Perry watch continues.

The L.A. Times reported on Thursday that Perry missed another Anaheim Ducks practice, however head coach Bruce Boudreau reiterated the point that he expects the veteran forward and playoff points leader to be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Perry was hurt on a collision involving Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan in Game 5 of that second round series.

“We have six days off, there’s no sense rushing him, I’m pretty sure he’ll be back on the ice [Friday],” Boudreau told the L.A. Times. “I have no indication that he’s not [going to be able to play].”

Video: Corey Perry limps off after collision with Matt Stajan

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Uh oh.

That’s the phrase that entered just about every Anaheim Ducks’ fans mind – at least the censored version, for some – as they saw Corey Perry struggle off the ice following a collision with Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan.

Judge for yourself if there was anything malicious about the low hit, which didn’t draw a penalty:

If nothing else, Perry was able to take a spin onto the ice mere moments later, so we’ll see how it goes.