News and notes from around the NHL this evening:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without forward Brandon Dubinsky tonight against the Boston Bruins, reports Fox Sports Ohio’s Dave Maetzgold. Dubinsky is still day-to-day with a lower body injury—first reported by Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline—that forced him to miss Wednesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. The American center has struggled out of the gate, posting 0G and 2A in 10 games for the Blue Jackets. The Jackets, meanwhile, have called up Markus Hannikainen from the Cleveland Monsters to replace Dubinsky in the lineup. The 23 year-old has 4G and 3A in 11 games for the Cleveland Monsters to start the season.
- The Ilya Kovalchuk to the NHL rumors are heating up again. PHR first reported last week that Kovalchuk was mulling a return to the NHL, and the Russian confirmed that in a lengthy interview on the KHL website (link in Russian). Kovalchuk basically states that he would not foreclose the option to return, but he did not affirmatively state that he is seeking a return. Because Kovalchuk is in his final contract year, however, his statements could just be posturing to get a larger contract from SKA St. Petersburg or another KHL team. Kovalchuk is off to a great start this season, scoring 16G and 20A in 28 games, and may look to parlay that into a lucrative contract—KHL or elsewhere.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning have scratched Nikita Nesterov tonight to make room for Valtteri Filppula against the New York Islanders tonight, reports Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns. Nesterov is currently pointless in ten games for Tampa Bay, while Filppula has 4G and 5A in 12 games. Also missing from warmups is Jonathan Drouin, who suffered a head injury against the same Islanders on November 1st.