All posts by Kayla Douglas

Jets’ Dubois talks return to Columbus: ‘I circled this date on my calendar’

Former Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois isn't quite sure what to expect from his first game back in Columbus since being traded to the Winnipeg Jets in a blockbuster shakeup last January.

When asked if he'd thought about the reception he might receive from the fans when the Jets square off against the Blue Jackets on Wednesday night, the 23-year-old laughed and said, "a little bit."

"It's been almost a year now, but I'm expecting some people still to maybe be unhappy, disappointed," Dubois said in a media scrum before the game. "If they're happy, that's great. If they're not happy and booing me, I've heard it before."

Dubois has highly anticipated his return to Columbus ever since the team traded him (along with a 2022 third-round pick) to Winnipeg in exchange for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

"I circled this date on my calendar. Not because of the players involved, but because it's my first time being back. I saw the news about (Laine's) father this week, I’m really sorry about that," Dubois said. "We're all feeling for him. Hopefully I get to play against him in Winnipeg."

Laine, who remains sidelined with an injury, is dealing with the death of his father Harri and is unavailable for the contest.

Dubois added it "definitely feels weird" being on the visitors' side of Nationwide Arena.

"Tonight, I think it might take a little part of the warm-up, maybe first shift, second shift (to adjust), and then after that, it'll be just a normal game."

The Blue Jackets selected Dubois third overall in the 2016 draft and he put up 159 points in 239 career games with the franchise.

Dubois called the end of his tenure in Columbus "complicated" and "choppy," but he once again stayed away from revealing any more details as to why he requested a trade.

"It wasn't a decision made because of someone or some things. I felt like it was the right time to move on, and I’m happy here in Winnipeg. It's going well, I've learned a lot, and I'm gonna keep learning," he said. "It was just time for something new."

Dubois has returned to form with the Jets to start the season, registering 10 goals and six assists in 18 games.

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Toews ‘definitely not satisfied’ with his game after missing last season

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews hasn't quite found his groove yet after missing all of the 2020-21 campaign with chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

"I'm definitely not satisfied or happy with where (my game) is at. Just got to keep working and stay patient and try to build up more energy, more pace, more speed on the ice," he said Tuesday after the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Ben Pope.

Toews has failed to score a goal in 19 games so far this season - a drought he had never experienced in his lengthy career. The last time the 33-year-old lit the lamp in an NHL game was Aug. 18, 2020, against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Edmonton playoff bubble.

"It's been a while since I've seen a puck go in, obviously. Definitely like scoring goals," Toews said, according to The Athletic's Mark Lazerus. "So I'd like to get going in that area. Just got to keep working through it. I'm not really sure what else to say at this point."

Toews is at least feeling comfortable enough to set up plays, with eight assists under his belt in the early goings of the year.

"Mentally, I feel confident with the puck and feel like I can make plays, and there's just times when you can't take chances," he said, per Pope.

With Toews on the ice at five-on-five, Chicago has controlled less than half of the shot attempts and high-danger chances while being outscored 12-7 so far this campaign, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The Blackhawks have scored the fourth-fewest goals in the league (41) and own the third-worst goal differential (-21).

Chicago currently sits second-last in the Central Division, ahead of just the listless Arizona Coyotes, with a record of 6-11-2. The franchise fired head coach Jeremy Colliton earlier this month and has since gone 5-2-0 with interim bench boss Derek King at the helm.

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Isles add Chara to COVID-19 list; Nelson out 2-4 weeks with injury

The New York Islanders placed defenseman Zdeno Chara in COVID-19 protocol, general manager Lou Lamoriello announced Tuesday.

New York also announced forward Brock Nelson will miss two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury. The 30-year-old leads all Islanders with nine goals and 11 points in 15 games this season. He exited Sunday's contest versus the Toronto Maple Leafs after logging just 6:58 of ice time.

The Islanders called up defenseman Thomas Hickey and forward Anatoli Golyshev from the AHL to fill the roster.

Chara, 44, is the latest Islanders player to land on the list, joining captain Anders Lee, forwards Josh Bailey, Kieffer Bellows, and Ross Johnston, as well as defensemen Andy Greene and Adam Pelech.

Despite the growing list, Lamoriello said no decisions were made to postpone upcoming games after he spoke with the league Monday, so the Islanders are preparing to play.

The NHL postponed three of the Ottawa Senators' games after 10 players and an associate coach entered protocol.

Lamoriello added that other than Chara, there were no additional positive cases. None of the Islanders who tested positive have returned a negative test yet.

Winger Anthony Beauvillier was placed in protocol Saturday and missed the Islanders' 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, but he was able to play Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs after his test was found to be a false positive.

It's been a tough start to the season for the Isles, who currently sit in last place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-8-2 record.

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Smith laments Sens’ late mistakes after losing in return from layoff

Despite the fact that the odds were certainly not in the Ottawa Senators' favor, head coach D.J. Smith wasn't looking for excuses following his team's 7-5 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

"A lot of good battle, a lot of really poor decisions with the game on the line," Smith said postgame. "It's an unacceptable loss ... We give up the game-winning goal with 1:33 to go and that's 100% on us."

The Senators mostly held their own during a back-and-forth affair in Denver against an Avalanche team that had won four straight heading into the contest. Ottawa forward Zach Sanford recorded a hat trick, but it wasn't enough to overcome errors the team made in the final period.

Avalanche star Mikko Rantanen scored on the power play shortly after the Senators fanned on a clearing attempt to tie the game, while Alex Newhook delivered the final dagger thanks to a turnover.

On top of that, Senators defenseman Josh Brown exited during the first period with an upper-body injury.

"We did a lot of great things. We worked hard playing with five D for the majority of the game after coming off from the amount of time we had off, but we're going to hold ourselves to a higher standard," Smith said. "We've got to find ways to win games. ... Made two major mistakes in the third period and you lose the hockey game."

The Senators were just returning from a week-long layoff following a COVID-19 outbreak, during which 10 players and associate coach Jack Capuano landed on the NHL's protocol list.

The league decided on Nov. 15 to postpone three of the Senators' games to help control the outbreak. Prior to Monday's contest, the Sens last suited up for a game Nov. 14, an ugly 4-0 loss to the Calgary Flames.

Ottawa's next chance will come Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks. The Senators are currently in the league's basement with a 4-11-1 record.

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Canadiens’ Caufield: AHL stint was ‘really good for me’

Montreal Canadiens sniper Cole Caufield is feeling appreciative of his two-week stint with the team's AHL affiliate.

"It was all about just going down there, kinda refreshing my mind, get my game back, and getting my confidence back," Caufield said in a media scrum, according to TSN. "I feel as though it was really good for me to go down there and find myself as a player and relax and get out of the noise a little bit."

Montreal assigned Caufield to the Laval Rocket on Nov. 1 amid his slow start to the year. He registered just one assist in 10 contests to kick off the 2021-22 campaign, which was a far cry from the 12 points he put up in 20 playoff games during the Canadiens' mystical run to the Stanley Cup Final last season.

Caufield appeared to rediscover his groove in the AHL, scoring two goals and three assists in six games. Montreal recalled him on Nov. 18, which Caufield said was exciting.

"It felt like the first time again. I had a lot of energy those first couple games, and I’m just going to look forward to keeping that going."

Caufield hasn't yet gotten on the scoresheet through two contests since returning to the big club. The 20-year-old said the Habs' message to him was to just be himself.

"For me, personally, I like where my game's at right now. I'm just gonna keep trying to get better," he added.

The Canadiens have struggled throughout the first month of the campaign, stumbling to a 5-13-2 record.

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Islanders’ Pulock out 4-6 weeks with lower-body injury

New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury, the team announced Wednesday.

The 27-year-old seemed to be in pain after blocking a shot and then limping to the bench during the second period of Monday's clash against the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to The Athletic's Arthur Staple. He played just over two minutes in Monday's final frame and didn't suit up for Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.

Pulock's absence is a huge blow for New York's defense corps. He eats up a ton of hard minutes for the team, averaging 21:07 of ice time per game. He's registered two points over 12 contests this campaign and leads all Islanders defensemen with 34 blocks.

A crucial component to New York's recent playoff runs, the underrated stalwart signed an eight-year, $49.2-million extension in October that kicks in after this season.

The Islanders have stumbled to a 5-6-2 record to start the campaign. They host the Calgary Flames on Saturday, which will be the first game ever played at UBS Arena.

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Phaneuf officially retires

Dion Phaneuf has officially called it a career.

The former defenseman spent time with the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and Los Angeles Kings in a career that spanned over 1,000 games and 14 seasons.

The 36-year-old hasn't played in the NHL since the Kings bought out his contract in 2019.

"As I look back, it's hard to encapsulate and thank the great number of people who supported and guided me both as a player and a person throughout my career," Phaneuf said in a statement to the NHLPA. "I was very fortunate to play in the NHL for a long time, and I'm thankful first and foremost to my mom, dad, and brother for their untiring support on and off the ice. My heartfelt love and appreciation also goes to my wife, Elisha, and our daughter."

The Flames selected Phaneuf in the first round of the 2003 draft. The three-time All-Star enjoyed a stunning rookie campaign during the 2005-06 season, ending the year with 20 goals and 29 assists. He was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy alongside Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

He was also nominated for the Norris Trophy during the 2007-08 season but lost to Nicklas Lidstrom.

Phaneuf never won a Stanley Cup and advanced outside of the first round of the playoffs just once in his career. He and the Senators lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in double overtime in Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.

Phaneuf served as the Maple Leafs' captain from 2010-16, succeeding Mats Sundin, who wore the "C" until the 2007-08 season.

The Leafs will honor Phaneuf with a pregame ceremony prior to Tuesday's clash against the Nashville Predators, according to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun.

"A great thanks to the entire Toronto Maple Leafs organization, their ownership, and leadership ... for providing me with this opportunity to retire with such love and support here in Toronto," Phaneuf said. "It was a special honor to represent the Maple Leafs as team captain - a point of pride and honor that I will carry with me forever."

Phaneuf ended his career with 494 points (137 goals and 357 assists) over 1,048 regular-season games and 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 55 playoff contests.

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Report: Crosby won’t face discipline for incident with Capitals’ Fehervary

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won't face supplementary discipline from the NHL's Department of Player Safety for throwing Washington Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary against the boards during Sunday's game, reports the Washington Post's Samantha Pell.

The incident occurred early in the third period. The Penguins were down 5-1 and Crosby seemed to take his frustrations out on the Capitals youngster. The two players got tangled up before Crosby grabbed Fehervary and tossed him aside. There was no penalty called on the play.

Fehervary didn't have much to say about it after the game, which ended up being a 6-1 victory for Washington.

"Yeah, I don't know. I don't even know what should I talk about it. I don't care. We'll see next game," Fehervary said, according to JJ Regan of NBC Sports Washington.

After recovering from offseason wrist surgery and spending time on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list, Crosby has suited up for just two games so far this season and has yet to register a point.

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Blues call up 2020 Hobey Baker winner Scott Perunovich

Reinforcements are on the way for the St. Louis Blues' blue line.

Defenseman Scott Perunovich has been recalled from the team's AHL affiliate, general manager Doug Armstrong announced Monday.

The Blues selected Perunovich in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The 23-year-old is tied for the AHL's scoring lead with 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) in 12 games during his first taste of action with the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Perunovich missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Prior to the start of his professional career, Perunovich was a force at the collegiate level. He spent three seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and captured back-to-back NCAA titles in 2018 and 2019. He took home the Hobey Baker Award as the top collegiate player in 2020.

The Blues have recently run into some trouble on the back end. Defensemen Torey Krug and Niko Mikkola each missed their fifth straight game in COVID-19 protocol Sunday.

St. Louis also assigned goaltender Joel Hofer, forward Dakota Joshua, and defenseman Calle Rosen to the Thunderbirds on Monday.

The Blues are fourth in the Central Division with an 8-4-2 record. They'll host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.

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Golden Knights’ Stone returns to lineup vs. Canucks

The Vegas Golden Knights have their captain back.

Mark Stone is back in the lineup on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks, according to The Athletic's Jesse Granger.

He had been sidelined with a lower-body injury since Oct. 14. He was seemingly in some discomfort after taking a shot in the offensive zone against the Los Angeles Kings and was helped to the locker room.

Though the details surrounding Stone's ailment were unclear, the 29-year-old was able to avoid surgery.

Stone took part in line rushes alongside Chandler Stephenson and Evgenii Dadonov earlier Saturday.

His return is welcome news for the battered Golden Knights and their top line, which is also missing Max Pacioretty who is week-to-week with a fractured foot.

Stone has put up three assists in two games this season. The Golden Knights are 8-6-0 to start the year.

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