Prospect Need to Know: Cliff Pu is making London a nightmare

Cliff Pu (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The world under-18s are going full-bore in North Dakota right now and there is some fantastic talent assembled. Sure, Russia’s under-18s were pulled out because of a drug scandal, but youngsters such as Klim Kostin and Andrei Svechnikov just get to make their impressions a year earlier. And with Jesse Puljujarvi joining Finland, the Americans will have several rivals to fend off if they want to defend their gold medal from last year. We’ve also got CHL playoffs getting serious and a special guest star from the coaching ranks in this week’s prospect round-up.

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Devils’ playoff hopes take serious blow as Schneider out at least two weeks

Jared Clinton
Cory Schneider (Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Devils’ hopes of making the post-season were slim already, but they may be non-existent as New Jersey will be without goaltender Cory Schneider for at least two weeks.

Following the Devils’ 6-1 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday night, New Jersey coach John Hynes said Schneider is set to miss at least the next two weeks with a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

Schneider, 29, fell injured during the Devils’ 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars Friday night. The Stars were on a power play early in the third period when a shot was deflected wide and rebounded onto the tape of Dallas’ Jason Spezza, who was alone to Schneider’s right. In an attempt to scramble back to the post, Schneider pushed hard to his right, jamming his leg into the post to stop Spezza’s shot. Schneider almost immediately appeared injured: Read more

Devils’ Schneider leaves game with lower-body injury after sprawling save

Jared Clinton
Cory Schneider (via NHL)

No matter who the Devils’ leading scorer is or who’s skating the most minutes on the blueline, the one player New Jersey can’t ever afford to lose if they wish to stay competitive is goaltender Cory Schneider. Unfortunately, the Devils may have to deal with that after Schneider was forced to leave Friday’s game against the Dallas Stars.

In the third period, with New Jersey on a penalty kill, Schneider drove hard across his crease to stop a Jason Spezza shot. As Schneider was stretching his right leg to make the save, he jammed his right foot against the post, which appeared to cause his leg to stop suddenly and awkwardly. Schnedier looked to be in pain immediately after making the stop: Read more

Ilya Kovalchuk scratched for remainder of KHL playoffs, could terminate deal in May

Jared Clinton
Ilya Kovalchuk (center) was stripped of SKA St. Petersburg's captaincy. (Alexander Demianchuk\TASS via Getty Images)

Those hoping to know the fate of former NHL all-star Ilya Kovlachuk shouldn’t expect a resolution until May at the earliest.

Kovalchuk, 32, has spent the past three seasons of his career with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg, but problems arose after the opening game of the club’s first-round playoff series against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which SKA lost 3-2 in overtime. After the loss, Kovalchuk was sent back to St. Petersburg ahead of Game Two to train individually and he was held out of the lineup for the second game of the series. SKA won, and continued to win, and Kovalchuk remained out of the lineup.

Now, with SKA onto the second round with a 4-1 series victory over Lokomotiv, it appears Kovalchuk, who was stripped of the team’s captaincy, won’t be returning to the St. Petersburg lineup for the remainder of the playoffs, and there’s reason to wonder if he will ever skate with the team again. Read more

Five low-cost trade deadline targets who could make an impact

Jared Clinton
Dale Weise (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Canadiens winger Dale Weise seemingly believes it’s likely he’s playing in his final games in Montreal.

This past weekend, Weise told The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan that contract talks with Montreal have been relatively non-existent since the summer, and the unrestricted free agent-to-be was honest about his chances at staying a Canadien beyond the trade deadline.

“Obviously, you got to look at where we are, look at my contract status and we haven’t had a lot of talk,” Weise said. “So I think you would weigh a little more on the side that there’s a pretty good chance that I’m going to get moved, but crazier things have happened.”

And with 14 goals and 25 points through 55 games, Weise stands to be one of the better, more cost-efficient options available at the deadline. Making only $1.025 million this season, Weise has produced at one of the highest cost-per-point ratios for pending unrestricted free agents this season. He brings that to the table as a third- or fourth-line player who has been skating on a team that has been middle of the pack in scoring this season.

If Weise is set to be traded by the Canadiens, he could be the perfect depth acquisition by a team looking for effective scoring without having to free up a ton of cap space. He’s not the only player who fits that bill, though. Here are five other players who could provide the same punch as Weise without contending teams having to break the bank: Read more

Devils’ Tootoo ejected for cross-checking Islanders’ Boychuk

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
Jordin Tootoo (Jana Chytilova/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jordin Tootoo has a history of playing close to the edge, but he was deemed to have crossed it Friday night.

The New Jersey Devils right winger was issued a major penalty and game misconduct for cross-checking New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk in the second period of a 1-0 Isles win.

Tootoo sent Boychuk into the end boards after making contact with the blueliner just as the two players skated beyond the goal line at the 15-minute mark of the second period.

Boychuk left the ice favoring his upper body. He was playing his eighth game since sustaining a shoulder injury on Dec. 31. Boychuk sat out the rest of the period, returning to action in the third, while Tootoo was ejected.

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