In a surprising move, Kings coach Darryl Sutter made Marian Gaborik a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game against the Bruins.
Gaborik is a healthy scratch for the Kings today. That Darryl Sutter, always full of surprises…
— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) December 18, 2016
Gaborik missed the season’s first 21 games after suffering a foot injury in the World Cup. Since returning, he has struggled to put points on the board (and he’s never been a dynamic presence in the defensive zone). In nine games he has four points and just a single goal.
His ice time has been sliding accordingly. Gaborik saw just 11:05 of ice time in Friday’s game against the Penguins.
Gaborik is now in the third year of a seven-year contract he signed with the Kings prior to the 2014-15 season. The deal carries a cap hit of $4.875 million.
Gudbranson to Have Surgery
Sunday, the Canucks confirmed that defenseman Erik Gudbranson will require surgery to repair a ligament in his wrist.
“Erik suffered ligament damage to his wrist this season that has affected his wrist function,” general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. “Continued treatment and rehabilitation have not improved his condition and Erik and our Canucks medical team believe that surgery offers the best long-term outcome and are confident in a full recovery. Erik’s leadership qualities and strong physical presence will be missed but this is a decision that best supports a long, productive and healthy career.”
The team has not announced a timetable for his return, but it doesn’t look great for a team that has been struggling and can’t afford to lose a defenseman. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos says that Gudbranson is expected to be out “months.”
Subban Injury Update
P.K. Subban missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury, but the team has said very little about the ailment or how long the defenseman will be out.
Adam Vignan of the Tennessean reports that Subban is not traveling with the team for their two-game road trip. That means it’s unlikely he suits up for Monday’s game against Philadelphia or Tuesday’s against the Devils.
Saturday, with Subban out, Nashville had to shuffle pairings. Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis were left together. Meanwhile, Mattias Ekholm was paired with Petter Granberg and Matt Irwin skated alongside Yannick Weber.
Torts Sets a Record
Columbus coach John Tortorella hit a major milestone Sunday when the Blue Jackets beat the Canucks in overtime. It was his 500th win as an NHL coach. He’s the first American-born coach to ever hit the milestone and the 24th to do it overall.
The first USA-born coach to ever win 500 @NHL games.
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 18, 2016
Additionally, with an assist in Sunday’s game, defenseman Zach Werenski tied the franchise record for most points in a season by a rookie defenseman. He now has 21 points in 29 games, which ties Ryan Murray’s rookie mark for a complete season.
Congrats on 500 Torts. Don't forget who got u 16 of those😂😂😂
— Eddie Lack🇸🇪 (@eddielack) December 18, 2016
Crawford Back Soon
Chicago netminder Corey Crawford has been out of the lineup since Dec. 3 when he had an appendectomy. He was originally projected to sit out for three-to-four weeks recovering. Now it looks like he’s on the precipice of a return.
Coach Joel Quenneville says he’s targeting Friday’s game against Colorado for Crawford’s return, reports Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
“He was out there [Sunday] with some players, and so he got some good work again,” Quenneville said. “[He’ll practice on] Tuesday, and we’ll look at the 23rd as an option.”
Scott Darling has been in net since Crawford went out, winning five of eight in Crawford’s absence.
Odds & Ends
– Jarome Iginla tallied in Sunday’s action, putting him in a tie with Alex Delvecchio for the 34th most points in NHL history.
– The Calgary Flames have reassigned Tyler Wotherspoon to the Stockton Heat of the AHL.
– This is an unfortunate own goal scored by Tommi Taimi with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star.