VOORHEES, N.J. - Danny Briere practised with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, the first time the centre has worked out with teammates since having groin surgery three weeks ago.
"There's still lots of pain and a lot of discomfort, depending on what I do," Briere said. "But just from skating this past weekend (by himself) to today was way better. I was able to do a little bit more with the puck and shoot a little harder and skate a little harder."
Briere hopes to return by Feb. 24, for a game against Washington.
Briere also had surgery in late October to repair a torn abdominal muscle. He injured his groin against Tampa Bay on Dec. 2, his last game with the Flyers, and had surgery Jan. 22.
Briere has five goals and nine points in nine games this season. Last season, he had 31 goals and 41 assists.
The Canucks goaltender made 31 saves in a 4-2 loss at Chicago's United Center on Sunday.
Jonathan Toews’ goal with 1:18 remaining in the third period helped the Chicago Blackhawks double up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Sunday night.
Toews put home the rebound off Richard Panik’s shot at 18:42 of the third period giving Chicago a 3-2 lead. Marian Hossa added his 18th, less than a minute later, into an empty net for the Blackhawks who have now won three straight.
Ryan Miller made 31 saves in the loss – his first regulation loss in 10 starts. Postgame Miller was none too pleased with the quality of the ice at Chicago’s United Center.
On the game winner, Panik's shot deflected off Alex Edler, bounced off the boards and to Toews, who buried his eighth of the season.
“That was the first flat puck all night,” Miller said per The Province. “This ice is the worst ice I’ve ever seen in my career. It was terrible and they’ve got to do something about it."
It was a milestone night for the Blackhawks. In addition to Toews’ seventh career four-point night, defenseman Brian Campbell picked up his 500th career point on Panik’s first period goal, Hossa’s empty netter was his 400th point as a member of the Blackhawks and Corey Crawford made 26 saves for his 200th career victory.
An already depleted Canucks blue line may be without the services of Edler. The veteran defenseman appeared to suffer a right wrist injury during the third period, but did finish the game.
“We have to wait and see, we are getting an update on him,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said per Jon Abbott.
Vancouver is already without defensemen Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Philip Larsen (concussion) and Ben Hutton (hand). Jordan Subban is the lone healthy blue liner on the Canucks active roster.
The Canucks continue their three-game road trip on Wednesday in Colorado.
The Blues face a tough decision with pending UFA defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk -- keep him and try to make a playoff run, or trade him at the deadline.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was the subject last summer of considerable trade speculation. For weeks, there was talk that Blues GM Doug Armstrong was shopping the 27-year-old rearguard, who's eligible this July for unrestricted free agency.
Armstrong apparently set a expensive asking price for the puck-moving blueliner: From the Boston Bruins, both of their first-round picks in the 2016 draft plus right winger David Pastrnak. The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, spurned Armstrong's request for promising left winger Dylan Larkin.
Unable to find any takers, Armstrong opted to retain Shattenkirk for this season. The trade chatter eventually faded. But with the March 1 trade deadline less than six weeks away, the rumors are resurfacing.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wonders if Armstrong might shop Shattenkirk as a rental player to a playoff contender and use the cap savings to address other roster issues. With the Blues carrying Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko as right-shooting defenders, Friedman feels they've got sufficient depth to handle that move.
By peddling Shattenkirk to a playoff contender, the club getting him gets a boost while he bolsters his value in this summer's free-agent market. Friedman acknowledges Armstrong's previous high asking price, but wonders if he might lower it and use the cap savings to bring in something that helps the Blues now.
The Edmonton Oilers were linked to Shattenkirk last summer, but it's believed he was reluctant to go there. Friedman wonders if he'll reconsider joining them in a short-term situation.
TSN's Frank Seravalli also ponders the possibility of Shattenkirk becoming a playoff rental. He notes the Blues aren't as strong as they once were. With the Oilers in playoff position and considered buyers at the trade deadline for the first time in years, Seravalli proposes offering up a conditional first-round pick to the Blues.
Seravalli's colleague Darren Dreger suggests a “trade and extend” scenario could boost Shattenkirk's trade value. In other words, he gets dealt and signs a contract extension with his new club.
Dreger said the Blues defender is willing to consider several options. Among them, the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and even his former club, the Colorado Avalanche.
Of those on Dreger's list, all but the Sharks and Ducks need a top-four defenseman. San Jose is already solid on the right side with Brent Burns and Justin Braun. Anaheim's overstocked with good young defenseman and need scoring depth at left wing.
Pierre LeBrun believes the Blues could entertain offers for Shattenkirk. However, that doesn't mean they're keen to move him.
Trading a pending UFA would be an uncharacteristic move by Armstrong. He usually retains those players to help his club in the post-season, despite the likelihood of losing them for nothing to free agency in the summer.
Still, trading Shattenkirk before the deadline could be worthwhile to bolster a weakness elsewhere. While not as strong as in recent years, the Blues remain a playoff club. A significant move that addresses their weak points could improve their championship hopes.
If Armstrong moves Shattenkirk to a contender for a high draft pick, he could bundle that pick with a prospect and attempt to pry a quality player from a non-playoff club.
The Blues must improve at center, where the depth drops noticeably beyond Paul Stastny. If Armstrong wants a rental player, he could pursue Martin Hanzal of the Arizona Coyotes. If his preference is someone with term on his contract, Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche could be an option.
With goaltender Jake Allen struggling of late, perhaps Armstrong could use the freed-up cap room to bring in a reliable starter. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a playoff team, but they could attempt to move Marc-Andre Fleury to protect Matt Murray in June's expansion draft.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
The rookie has been out of Winnipeg's lineup since Jan. 7 due to a concussion.
There’s good news on the injury front for the Winnipeg Jets. Rookie Patrik Laine, who has been out of the lineup since Jan. 7 with a concussion, could return to action as early as Tuesday when the Jets conclude a four-game home stand against the San Jose Sharks.
Laine was one of a few players that participated in a half-hour bag skate following the Jets practice on Sunday.
“We talked this morning, he wasn't going tomorrow,” Paul Maurice said of the Jets game against Anaheim on Monday. “Even a guy that had no injury, I wouldn't have had him do today's practice and then go into back-to-back (games).
“I guess (Tuesday) is a possibility. But, as you know, (we're) waiting for the next day to make sure. If he comes into the rink tomorrow and feels real strong, then we'll start thinking about the next night.”
Despite missing seven games, the 18-year-old remains second in goals (21) and third in points (37) amongst rookies.
Laine was concussed when he was the recipient of an open ice hit from Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe during the Jets 4-3 loss just over two weeks ago. It was the first concussion Fin has experienced.
“Always everything is new, first concussion so just have to listen to what the trainers and doctors are saying,” Laine said. “Just try to follow orders as best as you can. Just get some rest and try and try to be back.”
In Laine’s absence the Jets have gone 3-3-1 and won their first two games to start the home stand.
Laine, who will miss his eighth game on Monday, admitted he's been cautious during his recovery.
"Always when I try to get my heart rate up, it started to hurt my head," he said. "The past few days I've felt like I could be back soon and and just try to work hard so I can be a good player on the ice again."
After Tuesday's game, the Jets begin a four-game road trip with a visit to Chicago on Thursday.
Bad news for fans of the aesthetic side of hockey as the league is reportedly set to nix alternate jerseys for 2017-18 as part of the introduction of the Adidas line of jerseys.
Fans who enjoy jersey design and the unique looks teams can sport on a nightly basis won’t be thrilled to learn that the NHL will reportedly be doing away with alternate jerseys for next season.
That’s right. No more third jerseys will be in the mix next season, as Reebok waves goodbye to the NHL after 10 years as the league’s jersey designer and gives way for Adidas to come in and pick up where their subsidiary left off.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, the league’s 30 teams — and soon to be 31 when the Vegas Golden Knights officially join the fray in 2017-18 — have been informed that in order to make “the initial implementation of new sweaters easier” teams will be allowed to only rock either a home or road sweater for the entire campaign. That’s a great number of alternates that will be retired at the end of the 2016-17.
The uniform database for this season at NHLUniforms.com shows the league is split almost entirely down the middle, with 17 teams rocking an alternate sweater and the remaining 13 without one for the current campaign. Most of the ‘Original Six’ is included in the group without alternates, with the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers being the only two with a regular alternate as part of their game-day attire. Also included in the no-alternate category is the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
It’s an especially tough break for several of the league’s teams who’ve just recently introduced their alternates, too. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals have introduced new alternates. Some of those — like the Ducks’ orange ‘Mighty Ducks’ throwback, Flames’ white ‘C’ and Capitals’ retro-style jersey — have become instant favorites.
That the league is leaving every team without an alternate is somewhat puzzling given that it’s a potential revenue stream that is being taken off the table, but before teams or fans go blaming the league or Adidas, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time alternates have been taken away.
During the 2006-07 season, there were 17 teams that had an alternate jersey in their repertoire, but that season the NHL was starting to prepare for the switch from CCM jerseys to the Reebok EDGE jersey system that has been the standard over the past decade. Come 2007-08, all of those alternates had been nixed, with each team down to just a road and home sweater. That said, some of the alternate designs that had been much beloved in the years leading up to the change made their way to the new look.
For instance, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ star and flag logo that they currently wear was the team’s alternate before the Reebok EDGE system took hold. The red and green Minnesota Wild jersey was also the alternate pre-2007-08. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks took the blue and green color scheme from their ‘Stick and Rink’ alternate in 2006-07 and transposed it onto their home and road uniforms when the new style came into existence in 2007-08.
And for jersey fans let down by the lack of alternates, there may be something else to get their juices flowing next season. Several jerseys are sure to get tweaks as Adidas takes over, but there were three teams who got major overhauls when Reebok replaced CCM: the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals. There’s potential for a similar scenario with the switch to Adidas in 2017-18.