The Carolina Hurricanes are close to getting their former captain back as Justin Williams is expected to return to the ice on Sunday against the New York Islanders, according to News & Observer’s Chip Alexander. While head coach Rod Brind’Amour did state that Williams will go through pre-game warmups before he made a decision on whether to play Williams, the scribe writes that everyone, including Brind’Amour believes that Williams will make his debut on Sunday.
“I’m nervous before every game I play so I’m going to have nerves,” Williams said. “But the one thing you never question is your ability and that’s one thing I’m never going to question. I’m going to go out there and work my tail off and let my instincts take over.”
The 38-year-old Williams signed a one-year deal 11 days ago and has been working with the team trying to get into game shape. Williams is coming off a solid season in which he scored 23 goals and 53 points last season and likely will take a bottom-six role to start.
- The Vancouver Canucks still remain hopeful they can bring back defenseman Nikita Tryamkin, who left the team three years ago after his dissatisfaction with his playing time and refusal to play in the AHL. The Canucks have hoped to bring back the 6-foot-7, 265-pound blueliner back after several successful seasons in the KHL. The 25-year-old might be open to coming back, according to his agent, Todd Diamond (via TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal. “It’s very much on the table, the goal and desire is to sign in Vancouver, that’s what we have had discussions about,” said Diamond. “I don’t want to disrupt his season. There is plenty of time to talk when his season is over.”
- San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner changed up the lines of his team, which also included listing forward Marcus Sorensen as a healthy scratch. Boughner used the word “message” when addressing the media, according to The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz, suggesting he needs more “relentlessness” and for him to play “more on the inside.” After a 17-goal campaign, the 27-year-old is struggling this season with just five goals and has just one point in the last 19 games.
- Buffalo Sabres goaltending prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made his season debut in the AHL Saturday, stopping 24 of 27 shots in the Rochester American’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Cleveland Monsters. The Buffalo News’ Bill Hoppe writes that the plan has been to allow Luukkonen to stay with the team for a week before they return the top prospect to the ECHL, where he will play in their all-star game. The team may give him one more start before sending him back.