News and notes from around the NHL this morning:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets announced yesterday that forward Matt Calvert is week-to-week with a strained oblique muscle. Calvert hasn’t had a large impact production-wise, scoring 9G and 2A in 51 games, but is a valuable part of the team’s penalty kill and fourth line energy unit. In his stead is Finnish prospect Markus Hannikainen, who has 12G and 8A in 36 games for the AHL Cleveland Monsters. He’s appeared in 7 games for Columbus so far, scoring 1 goal in the process. This is only Hannikainen’s second season in North America, so its taken him some time to adjust from the Finnish leagues.
- The Ottawa Senators have recalled forwards Mike Blunden and Phil Varone this morning, the team announced. The team simultaneously reassigned forwards Casey Bailey and Max McCormick. Blunden has bounced between the AHL and NHL for 10 seasons now, and currently has 12G and 10A in 47 games for the AHL Binghamton Senators. Varone—acquired from Buffalo last season—has 13G and 25A in 48 games with Binghamton, but has yet to register a point in 4 games for Ottawa. The Sens hope that his AHL production will transition to NHL points. Bailey did not impress in his two-game stint with the Senators, going pointless and averaging under 10 minutes a game. McCormick fared even worse, registering zero points and averaging less than 6 minutes in the same two games.
- New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein’s back issues are more severe than initially thought, reports New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis. Klein originally suffered back pain while warming up before Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, and pulled out of that game. He did not attend Friday’s practice, and coach Alain Vigneault now says that Klein will miss the Rangers’ back-to-back games this weekend. Klein acts as a depth defenseman for the Rangers, scoring 3G and 11A in 52 games while averaging under 18 minutes a night. With the Rangers comfortably in a playoff spot, its prudent to rest veteran players for the upcoming post-season grind.