Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health Alex Ovechkin away from Capitals to attend to family matter Bruins’ Linus Ullmark is NHL’s biggest goalie surprise this season Senators’ Anton Forsberg out indefinitely with MCL tear in both knees Dustin Brown has No. 23 retired, statue unveiled
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado. If his coach was watching, it could be alarming: Colorado Avalanche guard Cale Makar catch the advantage and lose in the competition of the fastest skaters.
However, Jared Bednar was out of touch and had no idea what happened in the All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. Only now Makar came out of his crash into the sides just fine.
These days, the Stanley Cup champions are definitely improving in terms of injuries. Defender Bowen Byram returns to the squad along with the striker Valery Nichushkin. Defender Josh Manson approaching a return. Same for the captain Gabriel Landeskogwho has not yet played this season. Forward Darren Helm is also progressing.
Despite all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche made it to the All-Star Game with a playoff berth. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, the most in a single season since the team moved to Denver in 1995.
“Anyone we can bring back right now is just huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game road trip in Pittsburgh Tuesday night.
Bayram is returning after being out of action since early November with a lower body injury. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago when he led all rookies with nine assists in the playoffs. Bayram started this season quickly – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before injury.
“He looks great. He is buzzing there, ”said Makar about his comrade on the blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into play mode. But I think he’s a guy who can turn it on pretty quickly.”
Bayram missed part of the games last season due to concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be with the team as he made his way back.
“I was just happy that it wasn’t my head,” Bayram said. “It was much easier to be out of the house when you still feel good and feel like yourself. … I’m just happy to start working again.”
Count on Bayram for as many minutes as you need.
“I am 100%, so there is no reason to relax,” Byram said. “I’m confidently jumping back.”
Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can ride with the team. He has been out of action with a lower body injury since early December.
“I think it helps to get on the road, to be around the guys,” Bednar said.
Landeskog could return “pretty soon,” Bednar said, but did not give an exact timeframe. The longtime Avalanche captain pulled out after knee surgery in October.
The Avalanche successfully entered the All-Star break, winning seven of the last eight. They scored 57 points behind Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.
One thing the Avalanche are wary of is another slow start after the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and they quickly went 0-4-1 on their return.
“It’s just a shift of mentality back into game mode. There is no more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We are not where we want to be right now. But there is still plenty of time.”
ARLINGTON, Virginia – Alexey Ovechkin will be away from the Washington Capitals to attend to family matters and the health of a loved one, and is expected to be away for at least the rest of the week, if not longer.
General Manager Brian McLellan announced the absence of Ovechkin before the team’s morning rental. No further details have been made public, although Washington appears to be poised to be without its longtime captain and face of the franchise for an extended period.
Trainer Peter Laviolette said he did not suggest that Ovechkin would return “in the foreseeable future”.
“When it comes to your family and your parents, that’s what matters,” Laviolette said. “He’s going to sort things out right now and we’re going to support him.”
Further complicating matters, if Ovechkin needs to return home to Russia, where his parents and other family members live, are the travel restrictions due to the war in Ukraine. There are no direct flights between North America and Moscow.
The Capitals will play two home games this week before taking on the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night as part of the NHL Outdoor Stadium Series in Raleigh.
“Sending positive thoughts on behalf of the organization,” the Hurricanes tweeted ahead of the Capitals game on Tuesday night. “There is nothing more important than those we love. We wish Alex and his family all the best.”
Ovechkin, 37, leads Washington with 32 goals and 54 points. In his 18-year NHL career, he missed just 48 games, with the Capitals losing 25 of them.
“We played without key players all season, last year and the year before. We will miss him,” center Lars Eller said. “We’re better with him in our lineup, but in the meantime the other guys will have to fill in the gap and we can do that.”
Capitals play without their best defenseman John Carlson since he got the puck to his head on Dec. 23. There is also a lack of a front line right winger Tom Wilsoncenter of the fourth line Nick Dowd and now Ovechkin, so the team remembered the winger Joe Snively from the Hershey of the American Hockey League.
In every aspect of the game, the Washingtons look different without Ovechkin, who is the league’s career power-play goalscorer thanks to his trademark position on the left side of the faceoff circle.
“Obviously teams are used to seeing (Ovechkin) in his office, so we all know what he can do there, how he can score from there,” longtime teammate. Niklas Backstrom said. “Definitely he will be missed, but at the same time we have to find other ways to create chances and try to use them.”
The Capitals enter an important stretch of time in a precarious position: holding one of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference and risking being eliminated from the playoffs by the end of the week. Even before Ovechkin’s absence, they were averaging 2.27 goals over their last 14 games.
“To win matches, you have to score goals,” Backstrom said. “You are not going to win matches by scoring just one goal. I think we need to be a little more urgent there, we need to be a little more hungry online.”
On Tuesday, Ovechkin met with teammates before leaving the Capitals’ training facility. This gave the players an opportunity to offer their support before preparing to take the ice without him.
“It’s nice to see him, hug him and let him know that we’re here for him in person and not through text,” the winger said. TJ Oshi said. “We think of him, miss him and wish him the best.”
Having just signed a four-year, $20 million contract, Linus Ulmark shared the net with a newcomer. Jeremy Swayman and then, briefly, with Tuukka Rask, a cornerstone of the organization who was trying to come back from hip surgery. Ullmark conceded eight goals in two playoff games before succumbing to Swaimane’s starter spot and leaving in the off-season of change unsure what his role would be.
Turns out he’s stellar as the best goaltender in the NHL.
Ullmark leads the league in wins, save percentage and goals average, which is one of the main reasons the Bruins lead the league table and keep pace with the best regular season in NHL history. Along with other stars Stuart Skinner And Logan Thompsonwho respectively have the Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights on their way to the playoffs, Ulmark tops the list of the season’s biggest goalie surprises.
“He stood on his head” – Bruins top scorer and MVP candidate. to David Pastr said. “He plays incredible. To be honest, this year it’s just fun to watch. He plays confidently. He is big. He’s very confident online and he’s having a special year.”
Ullmark thinks he feels more comfortable in his new surroundings, and it shows in his game: he has already set a career high with 26 wins, his .937 shooting percentage is more than 10 points higher than his next closest competitor, and his GPA of 1.90 would have been higher. be the lowest among goaltenders who have played 40 games or more since Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur in 1997-98.
The 29-year-old Swede has thought a lot about what has changed in his game, and it’s hard for him to pinpoint it. Feeling “at home” in Boston is one of many things.
“I just think it’s just little pieces here and there that just fall into place,” Ullmark said. “Besides, we have a great team and it goes hand in hand with my work as well as Sway’s work. This is not just a one man show. It’s team work.”
Bruins lead Eastern Conference after 38 Pastrnak goals, captain Patrice Bergeronbilateral dominance at the age of 37 and the training of rookie Jim Montgomery. But Bruce Cassidy, who was fired after coaching Boston to six playoff games, called Ullmark’s appearance “big” when asked about his former team’s permanence.
“He finished really well last year and he carried that over to this year,” Cassidy said. “Now you are creating competition for Swain in this position. I think it’s a great thing for Boston.”
Cassidy, who is now on the bench with the Golden Knights, put Thompson in first place after Vegas found out about it late in the offseason. Robin Lehner will be out for a season in rehab after hip surgery.
Thompson, who took the lead last season through injury, won 20 of his first 35 starts this season before being sidelined himself last week. Prior to this, the undrafted late had earned All-Star honors and was hailing the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.
“There were a lot of times when I was really close to just quitting and giving up,” says Thompson…