The Montreal Canadiens will be without Tomas Tatar Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who is a healthy scratch, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels. The move made by head coach Claude Julien is believed to be a message sent to both Tatar and the team after Montreal has lost three of their last four games.
Tatar, despite having four goals and eight points in 14 games, has been adequate on the ice, but not as good as last season when he posted 22 goals and 61 points in 68 games. Engels believes that the message is meant just as much to the team as Tatar is one of the most popular players in the locker room.
The Philadelphia Flyers attempted a similar benching of leading scorer Travis Konecny on Jan. 30. Unfortunately, he has not scored a point since then.
- Corey Masisak of The Athletic reports that a New Jersey Devils team spokesman said the team will be allowed to return to practice on Monday. That will be the first time the team has been allowed on the ice since the game at Buffalo on Jan. 31. The team is currently scheduled to play on Tuesday at the New York Rangers.
- The Minnesota Wild got even more good news when they learned that defenseman Matt Dumba should be in the lineup on Tuesday when they begin playing once again after suffering what looked to be a severe ankle injury, according to Star Tribune’s Sarah McLellan. Dumba got tangled up with teammate Jordan Greenway and suffered an awkward fall on Jan. 30, but the blueliner said that he’s feeling good and has no issues regarding the injury. The 26-year-old Dumba is looking solid this season, already with three goals in just nine games this season. Teammate Mats Zuccarello is also getting closer to a return. The veteran forward practiced Friday in a non-contact jersey.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have placed defenseman Connor Murphy on injured reserve, retroactive to Feb. 9, according to NHL.com’s Brandon Cain. The blueliner was suffered a right hip injury in that game and is expected to miss up to two weeks. Murphy has been playing well for Chicago with two goals and five points in 13 games, while averaging 22:45 of ATOI.
- The Vancouver Canucks could be getting a boost back to their defense as head coach Travis Green reported that defenseman Travis Hamonic is close to returning to the team. The 30-year-old blueliner remains on long-term injured reserve with an upper-body injury. He has only appeared in five games with the Canucks this year with two assists, but could be a big addition if he returns soon.