In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Sidney Crosby mysteriously left the Pittsburgh Penguins practice midway through and the team isn’t commenting as to why, the Columbus Blue Jackets look to be getting a key player back for their playoff push, and the Vancouver Canucks might have found a way to move Loui Eriksson’s contract. Finally, after a week of speculation and discussion, Johnny Gaudreau is back on the top line for the Calgary Flames. Is everything back to normal? Or, are there still potentially problems in Calgary?
Crosby Leaves Practice Early
Already dealing with a few absences, Sidney Crosby may or may not be added to the list of “unfit to play” based on him pulling out of practice Sunday. During the second period of Saturday’s team scrimmage, he suddenly left the ice and it’s not clear as to why.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan declined after the scrimmage to comment on Crosby’s status due to the NHL’s new protocols on talking about player absences. That said, TribLive’s Seth Rorabaugh writes that a team source said Crosby was being held out for precautionary measures due to an undisclosed ailment.
The team is already missing forwards Anthony Angello, Patric Hornqvist, Adam Johnson, Sam Miletic, Sam Poulin, Phil Varone, defensemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Juuso Riikola and Alex D’Orio who have been absent since the start their training camp due to what is presumed to be precautionary measures against to potential secondary exposure to coronavirus.
Josh Anderson Added to Blue Jackets Roster
The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they placed forward Josh Anderson on the team’s 34-man roster. Anderson was questionable for the playoffs due to a nagging shoulder injury and this season had only four points in 26 games.
The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline writes that Anderson won’t be with the team as they initially travel to Toronto for the tournament, but Anderson could join them at some point.
How the Canucks Can Move Eriksson
One of the many interesting stories to watch this offseason will be how the Vancouver Canucks deal with the contract of Loui Erikkson. Even in an NHL where the salary cap was rising, his contract is not a team-friendly one. But, in a flat cap situation, it’s an albatross. The Canucks would like to be out from underneath that deal, but a buyout has complications.
As per a recent report, there is potential that Eriksson could be traded, but to move him, the Canucks would need to give up a sweetener. Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal has revealed that at the trade deadline the Canucks were in talks regarding Eriksson but teams were asking for defenseman Brogan Rafferty and center Adam Gaudette to be added to that deal.
Is this the type of move the Canucks would do in order to keep their team together?
Gaudreau Rejoins Top Line in Calgary
After spending the first week of training camp away from his linemates in Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm — a decision that caused quite the stir among the media — Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau was on the ice with where most figured he should be Sunday. TSN’s Jermain Franklin took some video of the group doing drills together.
The Flames reportedly have an intra squad game schedule for later Sunday evening and that could be why the trio of forwards is back together. If they are expected to play together in that game, practicing together makes sense.
This might not clear up all the apparent “issues” in Calgary, but it could calm the waters a bit. For the Flames, the timing of dissension and unhappiness right before they were set to start their play-in series was anything but good.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”