Zach Parise and Justin Schultz appear ready to return, injury updates on Price, Lehtonen, Yakupov and more.
We begin today with a reminder to get your lineups set early. It is a dense schedule with 12 games on the slate and the first ones kick off at 1:00 pm EST. I would hate to see you miss out on some numbers on a big day like today. Set your lineups now. Like, right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
And we’re back!
Light ramblings today with no NHL action last night. Mostly just injury updates, starting with…
The latest on Carey Price is that he will miss at least one week after re-aggravating his leg injury. I hope he stays out a little longer to ensure he returns fully healthy. We would all hate to see this become a nagging injury.
Update on Nail Yakupov: he will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a high ankle sprain. He was droppable in one-year leagues with Connor McDavid out so this doesn’t change much, unless you were still hanging on, in which case, you have now been set free.
Klefbom has played really well but has not fully taken advantage of the PP opportunity. Shuffling back in the lineup will hurt him but not fully. He is still doing most of his damage at even strength.
This is just wishful thinking but the best thing that could happen here is that Schultz returns and performs well enough that the Islanders would consider him in a swap for Travis Hamonic. Fat chance, I know.
It also appears that Connor McDavid is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery and may be back in mid-January. Please don’t rush this. I’m watching football as I write this and Tony Romo just went down after re-aggravating his own collarbone injury after coming back early. It’s just not worth it.
Zach Parise wants to get back into the lineup today against the Jets. This would likely push Thomas Vanek back to the third line. Vanek will likely continue on the top PP unit, however so not all is lost.
Kari Lehtonen has been placed on IR with an upper-body injury. Jack Campbell has been recalled but it is more likely we see an extended run of starts for Antti Niemi. Unless this injury becomes a nagging one, Lehtonen will still very much be a part of the goaltending picture so don’t go all-in on Niemi or anything drastic like that.
The Islanders have called Ryan Strome back up to the big club. Hopefully we see a Strome with a little more urgency in his game and a willingness to shoot. It is fine to be a playmaker but sometimes shooting is the best play. Too much deference in his game earlier this season.
Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and likely is on his way to the AHL. This works out well for the Flames since they don’t lose the asset. You would have to imagine they would have preferred it if Ortio could have snagged the starting role but as it stands he gets to see more reps in the minors.
This also means Jonas Hiller is on his way back from injury. He poses more of a threat to Karri Ramo who has started 11 in a row for the Flames. Realistically, however, you won’t find too much value in this Flames tandem.
The Flames have also called up Markus Granlund. He is unlikely to have much of an impact.
Some reports are indicating that Alexander Radulov is set to sign an extension to remain in the KHL. However the latest reports indicate that Radulov has rejected that extension to become a free agent this summer with the possibility of an NHL return.
I would like to see Radulov return but only if his heart is in it. His last return to the NHL was kind of sad.
Some juicy stuff in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts:
No one is impacted more by all of this than Jakub Voracek. Two numbers were obvious going into last Saturday’s game in Ottawa: fewer offensive-zone starts and his shooting percentage cratered. Here’s the deeper data: last year he carried the puck into the offensive zone four times for every chip. Now he’s at 1.9/1. That’s a significant drop. Finally, 90 per cent of NHL forwards attempted a higher percentage of shots from the slot.
You cannot find someone who does not believe Voracek will turn it around. Virtually a unanimous opinion. The contrarian in me wants to stake a claim to that corner but it is just too illogical.
“The time between when I quit hockey and I die,” he says, looking at the gap between his hands, which is now only a couple inches wide, “I want it to be the shortest.”
Jagr continues: "If I can play till I die, that's what I will do. What else are you gonna do? Even if you retire, you still will have to go work out, and maybe harder than you do when you play hockey because you don't wanna look ugly and fat. At least I don't want to."
I never pick up print magazines these days. But this one I’m going to grab. Can’t get enough Jagr.
Speaking of oral histories, here’s an entertaining one on the coaching tenure of Wayne Gretzky.
One more oral history. This one on what it’s like playing with the Sedins:
DALPE – I remember one time it was a TV time out and I was super nervous, like, I gotta get these guys to talk, I gotta pass to them all the time. Hank looked at me calmly and was like, “Hey Zac, just play and we’ll adjust to you. Don’t feel like you have to overcompensate and kinda play out of your shell. Just do what got you on this line and we’ll take care of the rest.” And I was like, That’s a huge relief. You try to get the superstars the puck and sometimes try to make plays you shouldn’t and it doesn’t work out. When Hank said that to me it was like a breath of fresh air.
Just a great week in hockey for oral histories really.
Dobber takes a look at some studs and duds around the league.
Sean McIndoe with a hilarious look at the history of the NHL attempting to fix its scoring problem.
Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends. I hope the night off from hockey was one you all enjoyed with friends and family, American or otherwise.
Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.
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