Report: Devils interviewed Mike Gillis for GM job

The New Jersey Devils interviewed former General Manager of the Year Mike Gillis for their GM position, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday's Headlines segment on "Hockey Night in Canada."

The Devils fired GM Ray Shero in January. Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald was promoted to interim GM following Shero's dismissal.

Fitzgerald remains a "very serious candidate" for the position, Friedman added, but the organization is still going to continue with its search.

Gillis was the GM of the Vancouver Canucks for six seasons from 2008-09 to 2013-14. He was named GM of the year for the 2010-11 season, in which the Canucks won the Presidents' Trophy and lost in the Stanley Cup Final. He hasn't held a job with an NHL front office since but admitted last summer he was looking to get back into the game.

The Devils' GM search will continue once the season is over and they can interview candidates currently employed by NHL teams, Friedman added. Waiting was not necessary with Gillis since he's currently an executive free agent.

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Stamkos to undergo core muscle surgery, out 6-8 weeks

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos will undergo core muscle surgery and is expected to miss approximately six-to-eight weeks, the team announced Saturday.

Even if Stamkos returns exactly six weeks from now (April 11), he wouldn't make it back for the end of the regular season, which wraps up on April 4. If he requires the full eight weeks to recover, his availability for the entire first round of the playoffs will be in jeopardy.

The 30-year-old finishes the 2019-20 campaign with 29 goals and 66 points in 57 games.

While there's no replacing a player of Stamkos' ilk, the Lightning are well-equipped to remain competitive during his absence. The club has depth at both left wing and center, especially since the trade deadline additions of versatile forwards Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.

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Blue Jackets activate Murray off IR

The Columbus Blue Jackets activated defenseman Ryan Murray off the injured reserve on Saturday, the team announced.

Murray has missed the past 34 games after suffering a lower-body injury on Dec. 14 against the Ottawa Senators.

The 6-foot-1 blue-liner is a pivotal part of the Blue Jackets' defense corps. Columbus owns a 53.66% share of expected goals and a 57.58% share of high-danger scoring chances at five-on-five with Murray on the ice this season, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The 28-year-old's return comes at a critical point in Columbus' season with the team struggling defensively without blue-chip rearguard Seth Jones. The club has recorded just one win in its last 11 outings while conceding 3.72 goals per game during that stretch.

The Blue Jackets occupy the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot entering Saturday's action.

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Bergevin recommends Caufield stay in NCAA next season: ‘He’s not ready’

Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is staying patient with one of the club's most promising prospects.

Bergevin will recommend that forward Cole Caufield continue his development with the NCAA's Wisconsin Badgers next season.

"Cole Caufield is having a good year [in the NCAA]," Bergevin said, according to La Presse's Mathias Brunet. "But, in our eyes, he is not ready. We will make a decision at the end of the year. If he really wants to leave college, we won't force him, but we'll recommend that he stay [in Wisconsin]. That doesn't mean it's a disappointment."

Montreal selected Caufield with the 15th overall pick at the 2019 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old freshman is enjoying a terrific season with the Badgers, leading the club in both goals (19) and points (35) across 33 games.

Bergevin says there's a chance Caufield could play with the Canadiens' AHL affiliate in Laval next season, but the 54-year-old executive would rather not rush the 5-foot-7 winger along in a high-pressure market like Montreal.

"We aim best for its long-term development," Bergevin said. "We are still having discussions internally. It is also possible that we will see him in Laval next year. But Laval too, it will be difficult. It is a league of men.

β€œWhat scares Montreal is the expectations. And we, as much as possible, try to reduce expectations. It is not to be negative, but it is reality. It's difficult for Jack Hughes this year; that doesn't mean he's a bad player."

Caufield is part of a crop of bright young talents for the Canadiens, which includes 20-year-old forward Nick Suzuki, who's enjoyed a strong rookie campaign in 2019-20 so far.

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Blackhawks’ Shaw, Smith done for season

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season, the team announced Saturday.

Shaw, 28, has been sidelined with a concussion since Nov. 30. The 5-foot-11 winger tallied three goals and seven points through 28 games this campaign. The Blackhawks re-acquired Shaw from the Montreal Canadiens in June 2019 after trading him in 2016.

Smith will undergo back surgery on March 6. The 31-year-old contributed four goals and 11 points across 50 games this season, his first with the Blackhawks.

Chicago sits eight points out of the second Western Conference wild-card spot entering Saturday's action and will likely miss the playoffs for the third consecutive campaign.

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Kreider suffers fractured foot vs. Flyers

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider suffered a fractured foot while blocking a shot in the first period of Friday's contest versus the Philadelphia Flyers, the team announced.

Kreider signed a seven-year, $45.5-million extension with the Rangers on Monday after being rumored throughout the season to be one of the top candidates to be moved at the trade deadline.

New York entered Friday's game having won nine of its last 10 contests and sits two points back of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. It would be a huge blow to the team's playoff hopes if Kreider is forced to miss significant time.

Kreider has posted 24 goals and 21 assists in 63 games this season.

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Report: Isles to play all home games at Nassau Coliseum next season

The New York Islanders will be returning to their old barn full time for the 2020-21 campaign.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce Saturday that the club will play its entire home schedule next season at Nassau Coliseum, sources told Newsday's Randi F. Marshall.

Cuomo is also expected to announce the Isles will play any home playoff games this season at Nassau Coliseum, Marshall adds.

Former Islanders owner Charles Wang moved the franchise's home games to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015. In 2017, Cuomo arranged for the club to share home contests between the two locations.

The 2020-21 campaign is expected to be the Islanders' last season before they move into their new home at Belmont Park, which is currently under construction.

Nassau Coliseum was originally opened in 1972 and has undergone numerous renovations in recent years.

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