NHL notes: Participation at 2018 Olympics still uncertain
Canada's Patrick Sharp (left) faces off against Sweden's Marcus Kruger during the men's gold medal final at the Bolshoy Ice Dome at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Feb. 23, 2014. The NHL has not committed to the 2018 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Ben Pelosse/QMI Agency/Files)
The participation of National Hockey League players at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics remains on ice but officials hope to reach an agreement in time to avoid a repeat of the standoff before Sochi.
National Hockey League players have competed at the last five Winter Olympics but were in doubt for this year's Sochi Winter Olympics until a deal was struck seven months before the opening faceoff.
Many NHL team owners are opposed to the idea because the league is forced to shut down for two weeks in the middle of their season as the game's biggest names risk injury while representing their countries.
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Vice President Bob Nicholson told reporters at the inaugural Association of National Olympic Committees awards ceremony on Friday that he was hopeful a new agreement could be reached.
"I know the players want to go but it's very difficult for the NHL because it's the one sport that has to stop its season in the middle to go to the Olympic Games," said Nicholson, a former Hockey Canada president.
Looks like Jonas Gustavsson is missing more than “a few weeks” after all.
‘The Monster’ is set to miss two months with a separated shoulder, according to Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. Originally, the team thought he’d be shelved for less than a month.
Gustavsson doesn’t have surgery planned at this time.
The Red Wings have called up Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL to replace Gustavsson.
Wings head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press that he has confidence in Mrazek to fill in for Gustavsson.
“I think he’s a real good goalie,” he said. He’s really good with the puck. He hasn’t had the kind of start he wanted in the American Hockey League, but he’s going to get an opportunity to play in a game that Gus would play, and you’ve got to show you can win in this league.”
STEPAN RETURNS SATURDAY
New York Rangers centre Derek Stepan is scheduled to make his regular-season debut on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, coach Alain Vigneault said on the Rangers website Friday.
Stepan missed the first 12 games due to a fractured fibula.
"He's good to go, he will play tomorrow," Vigneault said on the team’s website. "Step is obviously a big part of our team. He not only plays the centre position, five-on-five, power play, and penalty killing, but he's also a good young player who provides leadership in our dressing room."
Stepan was second on the Rangers in scoring last season with 57 points (17 goals, 40 assists) in 82 games. The 12 games he missed this season are the first of his five-season NHL career.
Stepan broke his leg during a training camp conditioning drill Sept. 24.
"I feel good, I feel strong," Stepan said, according to The (Bergen) Record. "It was good to get back in the mix."
KABERLE SKATES WITH RANGERS
Tomas Kaberle may have found a new home.
The New York Rangers are currently without three of their top six defenceman, meaning Kaberle may be an appropriate quick fix.
The 36-year-old blueliner is currently skating with the Blue Shirts, while their back end is under repair.
A former member of the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, Kaberle hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2013 season with the Habs, and spent last season in the Czech Extraliga with Kladno.
Kaberle was invited to the New Jersey Devils training camp on a tryout but only played two pre-season games before being released.
PERRY OUT WITH FLU
Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry, the leading goal scorer in the NHL, has been bothered by flu-like symptoms.
As of Friday afternoon, he was unlikely to play in his team’s game against the Arizona Coyotes that night.
"I don't think Perry will be around for (Friday)," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said, according to NHL.com.
Both Perry, who has 11 goals in 13 games, and captain Ryan Getzlaf missed Wednesday's game against the New York Islanders with the flu. Gretzlaf was expected to play Friday.
"You never know who else is going to catch it," Boudreau said.
Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen is expected to make his season debut Friday after being sidelined with a hamstring injury and reported torn biceps.
CANUCKS CALL JENSEN
The Vancouver Canucks recalled winger Nicklas Jensen from Utica of the American Hockey League on Friday.
Jensen scored four goals in his last seven games for Utica before the call-up. Canucks Forwards Tom Sestito and Zack Kassian are out with injuries.
The 21-year-old Jensen will join the Canucks (10-4-0) for games Saturday in Los Angeles against the Kings and Sunday in Anaheim against the Ducks.
Jensen was selected 29th overall in the 2011 draft. He played in 17 games for the Canucks last season and had three goals.
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson began his three-game suspension Friday for his high hit to the head of Carolina left wing Jiri Tlusty on Tuesday. Johnson was replaced by James Wisniewski, who had missed the last three games with a broken finger ... New Jersey Devils right wing Jordin Tootoo returned Friday after missing seven games with a foot injury.
Do you think the NHL will participate at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea?