When news of Ottawa Senators forward Josh Norris’ shoulder injury first broke, it was speculated as a potentially season-ending ailment. The timeline was eventually narrowed down to a three-to-five-month period, and in early November, it became clear that Norris would not need to have surgery on his shoulder. Now, it seems there is even more good news regarding Norris’ injury situation. At Senators practice today, Norris took off his non-contact jersey and donned a regular practice jersey.
That’s an important development, as it indicates that Norris could be nearing a return to the ice sooner than anyone may have anticipated. While the Senators remain in last place in the Atlantic Division, they are currently on a three-game winning streak and have a 7-2-1 record in their last ten games. Being able to add Norris back to their group of centers would give them a trio of Norris, Tim Stutzle, and Shane Pinto, an enviable group of young pivots. Norris scored 35 goals and 55 points last season, and while his slow start to this season as well as his shoulder injury makes it somewhat likely that he’ll need time to get back up to full speed, his return to the ice would undoubtedly be a major help to the Senators’ push to get back into the playoff picture.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reports that the NHL “has discussed expanding its regular season from 82 to 84 games in an effort to create more regional rivalry matchups.” With the league still recovering from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been renewed focus on advancing the league’s revenue goals. Wyshynski does note that “the topic wasn’t mentioned at this week’s board of governors meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, but is expected to be discussed at the general managers’ meeting in March 2023,” meaning the change is still a bit of a way away from being officially agreed upon and implemented.
- NorthStar Bets’ Chris Johnston has reported that executive Eric Joyce is no longer a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Joyce joined the Maple Leafs in the fall of 2020 and had most recently served as the director of hockey strategy and pro scouting. It is unclear at this current moment if the Maple Leafs have chosen to leave those roles unfilled, delegated Joyce’s responsibilities to others, or otherwise re-assigned Joyce’s vacated titles and responsibilities.