All posts by Josh Gold-Smith

Maple Leafs activate Marner off injured reserve

Mitch Marner is on the verge of a return to the lineup, as the Toronto Maple Leafs activated him from injured reserve Wednesday.

Marner missed the last 11 games with an ankle injury. He was hurt during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 9.

The Maple Leafs went 4-7-0 in his absence. That interval includes the team's sixth consecutive loss Nov. 19, after which the club fired Mike Babcock and replaced him with Sheldon Keefe.

Toronto placed Marner on long-term injured reserve with an expected initial recovery timeline of four weeks on Nov. 10. He was eligible to be activated off LTIR as of Wednesday.

The 22-year-old ranks third among Leafs skaters in assists (14) and fifth in points (18) this season despite his absence from the lineup.

Toronto hosts the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.

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Kadri: Babcock a good coach but ‘sometimes his methods weren’t the greatest’

Nazem Kadri acknowledges Mike Babcock's behavior wasn't always ideal.

The Colorado Avalanche forward didn't say no when asked if some of his former bench boss' tactics to get the best out of players crossed a line.

"Sometimes," Kadri told the assembled media, including Sportsnet, after Colorado's morning skate in Toronto ahead of the center's highly anticipated return.

"I think Babs is a good coach. I just ... sometimes his methods, I think, weren't the greatest. That's just the fine line between players and coaches. I think as a coach, you've got to take that responsibility to kind of have your players' backs, and that's when you get the best out of them."

The Maple Leafs fired Babcock on Nov. 20 after suffering their sixth consecutive loss the night before.

Less than a week later, the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan reported Babcock had shamed a rookie in 2016-17 by asking him to rank his teammates by work ethic and then sharing the list with the team. The Athletic's Ian Tulloch later reported the rookie was Mitch Marner.

On Monday, former NHLers Chris Chelios and Johan Franzen came forward with unflattering accounts of Babcock's tactics during his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings.

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Jets claim Nick Shore off waivers from Maple Leafs

The Winnipeg Jets plucked forward Nick Shore off the wire on Wednesday, the club announced.

Winnipeg wasn't the only team interested in his services, as at least one other team put a claim in, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

The Toronto Maple Leafs placed him on waivers Tuesday. The 27-year-old produced only three points while logging the second-lowest average ice time (9:13) on the team in 21 games this season.

Toronto signed Shore to a one-year, $750,000 contract in July.

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Sharks’ Kane avoids suspension for headshot on Capitals’ Gudas

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane won't miss any games for his hit on Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas.

Kane was fined $5,000 for elbowing Gudas on Tuesday night, the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday.

The hit occurred late in the third period, and replays showed Kane catching Gudas with a blow to the head.

Kane was assessed a five-minute major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct.

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Sharks’ Kane avoids suspension for headshot on Capitals’ Gudas

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane won't miss any games for his hit on Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas.

Kane was fined $5,000 for elbowing Gudas on Tuesday night, the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday.

The hit occurred late in the third period, and replays showed Kane catching Gudas with a blow to the head.

Kane was assessed a five-minute major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct.

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Aliu optimistic after meeting with NHL: ‘Big change coming’

Akim Aliu had a positive outlook following a meeting at the NHL offices in New York on Tuesday.

"I want to thank everyone for their support. It obviously means a lot to me," the former player said, according to TSN's Matthew Scianitti. "It's been a tough week, but we had some great discussions with (NHL commissioner) Gary (Bettman) and (deputy commissioner) Bill (Daly). They couldn't have been kinder and receptive to the message we're trying to bring."

He added, "I think there is some big change coming. It's long overdue, and I'm excited to see it come to fruition."

The 30-year-old also expressed his optimism on Twitter.

Bettman and Daly shared Aliu's sentiment, releasing a joint statement that described Tuesday's meeting as a "productive and candid conversation" that is "part of a broader, thorough review and process that the league is undertaking."

The league won't comment further until after the Board of Governors meetings next Monday and Tuesday.

On Nov. 25, Aliu tweeted that now-former Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters repeatedly directed the N-word toward him regarding the player's choice of music while the two were with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10.

The next day, two of Aliu's former teammates corroborated his more detailed account of the incident. Peters then acknowledged using "offensive language" and said he had apologized to the IceHogs at the time.

However, Aliu called Peters' apology "misleading, insincere, and concerning," adding that Peters had never apologized prior to last week.

Peters resigned last Friday after the Flames opened an investigation into the matter.

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Report: Penguins’ Hornqvist likely to miss about a month with knee injury

Details about Patric Hornqvist's latest injury are crystalizing.

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward is dealing with a knee injury and is expected to miss around a month, The Athletic's Josh Yohe reports.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said Tuesday that Hornqvist would be out "longer term" with what he deemed a lower-body ailment after falling in practice Monday.

The 32-year-old has contributed 11 points in 20 games in 2019-20. He missed seven contests in November with a separate ailment.

Pittsburgh has been ravaged by injuries this season. Sidney Crosby, Justin Schultz, and Brian Dumoulin are among the Penguins players currently on the shelf, while Evgeni Malkin was forced to miss 11 games earlier in the campaign, and Kris Letang returned to action last Wednesday after sitting out eight contests.

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Devils fire head coach John Hynes

The New Jersey Devils have dismissed head coach John Hynes and named Alain Nasreddine interim bench boss, the club announced Tuesday.

The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Devils 7-1 on Monday night, dropping New Jersey's record to 9-13-4 ahead of Tuesday's game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Hynes was in his fifth season behind New Jersey's bench. During that span, the Devils went 150-159-45 and missed the playoffs in all but one campaign, in which the Tampa Bay Lightning knocked them out of the first round in five games.

Expectations were high in New Jersey following an active summer. The club landed P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev on the trade market and drafted Jack Hughes first overall.

However, the Devils stumbled out of the gate, losing their first six games and nine of their first 11 contests to start the season.

The New Jersey job was Hynes' first as an NHL head coach.

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Maurice: Kulikov out until ‘around the All-Star break’

The Winnipeg Jets' shorthanded defense corps will now be tested even further.

Head coach Paul Maurice said Tuesday that Dmitry Kulikov will be out "until around the All-Star break" with the injury he suffered during Friday night's win over the Anaheim Ducks. This year's All-Star weekend takes place Jan. 24 and 25 in St. Louis.

Kulikov left that game after Ducks forward Carter Rowney hit him hard in the first period. The veteran kept his left arm down at his side while skating off, according to the Winnipeg Sun's Scott Billeck.

The Jets called it an upper-body ailment at the time, and Kulikov didn't play in a loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

The 29-year-old, who's not known for his offense, has recorded four points in 25 contests this season. He ranks third among Jets blue-liners in ice time while logging nearly 20 minutes per game.

Winnipeg's back end has already been thinned out after an injury to Nathan Beaulieu, the offseason departures of Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, and Ben Chiarot, and Dustin Byfugilen being away from the team all season amid his uncertain future.

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Canadiens’ Kinkaid assigned to AHL after clearing waivers

Keith Kinkaid will try to rediscover his game in the minors.

The Montreal Canadiens have assigned the veteran goaltender to their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket. Kinkaid went unclaimed on waivers before Tuesday's deadline.

Montreal placed him on the wire Monday. Afterward, Canadiens head coach Claude Julien said this would give Kinkaid the opportunity to play more often and "hopefully get his game back in sync."

The 30-year-old backup has an .875 save percentage and just one win in six NHL games this season.

On July 1, Montreal signed Kinkaid to a one-year, $1.75-million contract.

The Canadiens recalled their top goaltending prospect, Cayden Primeau, from Laval on Monday.

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