Dustin L. Nelson The Hockey Writers
Johnson Out Months, Canucks Not Tanking & More News
The Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson broke his fibula in Saturday’s game against the Stars, the team announced not long after he left the ice. He’s expected to miss six-to-eight weeks recovering.
The injury appears to have occurred when Johnson blocked a Tyler Seguin shot as Dallas was entering the zone in the second period.
Losing a top-pairing defenseman hurts any team, but it hurts a little more on a team with so little defensive depth and so many defensive struggles. The team has the 24th ranked penalty kill and they rank 20th in shot attempts against at even strength.
As the team’s top defenseman, Johnson is arguably the team’s most important player right now.
With 19 points in 23 games, the Avs sit in last place in the Western Conference (with the worst record in the NHL) and this is going to make it even tougher to climb the difficult Central Division. They’re seven points out of the bottom wild card spot.
Don’t Call It a Rebuild
Canucks president Trevor Linden spoke with Sportsnet’s Luke Fox for a piece published Saturday and revealed the team isn’t pursuing a rebuild in part out of loyalty to the Sedins.
“We have Daniel and Henrik Sedin here, who are very important to this organization and icons in the city. They’re not going anywhere. I don’t know how I walk into the room and tell these guys, ‘Strip it down.’ I’m not sure it’s fair to these guys,” Linden said. “There’s different circumstances, be it in Toronto or Carolina or Vancouver, that require different routes. It’s not perfect, but I’m encouraged by the young players we’ve introduced, and we’ve got some young prospects.”
While there’s loyalty to the Sedins and the Canucks are trying to recover, they’re still tanking. The team finished 28th last season and just past the quarter-season mark this year they rank 25th. They’re getting top picks. What matters is whether or not they maximize the potential of rebuild intentionally or unintentionally happening already.
Sabres netminder Anders Nilsson, who is carrying a .934 save percentage through eight games and seven starts, has added a pride flag to the back of his helmet.
“I have a couple friends who are gay, and life hasn’t been easy for them growing up,” Nilsson told the Buffalo News. “It’s time that hockey starts to pay some attention to that.”
The Los Angeles Kings waived forward Teddy Purcell Saturday. Sunday at noon, Purcell cleared. It’s a bit surprising considering the big year he had last season, scoring 14 goals and 43 points. However, this season he has just two assists in 12 contests.
His $1.6 million cap hit may have played a role in many teams deciding not to claim him.
Preds Claim Boucher
Nashville claimed forward Reid Boucher off waivers from the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
After scoring eight goals and 19 points in 39 games with the Devils last season, he’s appeared in nine games and posted just a pair of assists. The former NTDP skater is a veteran of 82 NHL games.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford has had an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday. Coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford will miss two-to-three weeks recovering.
The team had to sign an emergency backup goaltender for Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Flyers. They inked Philadelphia rink employee Eric Semborski to a one-day contract.
Nurse Out Long-Term
Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse has suffered a foot injury and is out “long term”. The team is calling it a lower-body injury, but multiple reports indicate the injury was suffered when he blocked a shot with his foot.
The 21-year-old has three goals and five points in 25 games with an average ice time of 17:40.
Smith and the Blue Jackets Set Records
Mike Smith and the Columbus Blue Jackets set some records Saturday night. For their part, Columbus fired 60 shots on net in a 3-2 shootout win. That’s a new franchise record for shots in a game.
In the opposing sweater, Mike Smith made 58 saves, setting a new record for the Coyotes/Jets franchise. He broke the previous record of 54, set by Smith on April 3, 2012.
h/t The Score
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