Florida Panthers fans were quite worried Saturday when star player Aleksander Barkov skated off the ice during his second shift and did not return for the rest of the game. The Panthers deemed the injury as an upper-body injury and head coach Joel Quenneville refused to comment on it. However, The Athletic’s George Richards (subscription required) reports that general manager Dale Tallon referred to the injury as “minor.”
How Barkov was injured is a different story, as it doesn’t look as if Barkov took a hit, but the 24-year-old was seen clutching his side after an icing call on his second shift. He still lined up for the face-off, but looked to be in obvious pain. The team flew back to home last night and have Sunday off, with a home match against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
- The Winnipeg Jets are looking for some added punch to their lineup as TSN’s Brian Munz reports that center Bryan Little, who has been sidelined all season with a concussion, is expected to play Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers. The 31-year-old has served as the team’s second line center for quite some time. He scored 15 goals and 41 points last season.
- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson was not at practice Sunday after blocking a Brandon Carlo shot Saturday and being forced out of the game and missing the third period, according to TSN’s Kristen Shilton. X-rays on Johnsson’s leg came back negative, suggesting the injury isn’t too serious and the forward isn’t expected to be out for long. The 24-year-old winger has two goals and five points in nine games with the Leafs so far.
- The return of Andrew Ladd could be coming soon as Newsday’s Andrew Gross reports that the 33-year-old winger was skating in a regular practice jersey Sunday, after several practices in an orange non-contact jersey. Ladd is coming off a torn ACL and was limited to just 26 games last season. If healthy, Ladd could make some key contributions on the team’s bottom-six. He scored three goals and 11 points in those 26 appearances last year. Gross in a separate tweet, reports that both Jordan Eberle and Casey Cizikas, each on injured reserve with lower-body injuries, skated today, but separately from the rest of the team.
- The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that defenseman Radim Simek is expected to join the San Jose Sharks on their five-game road trip, but the blueliner said that he likely won’t play in any of those games due to his leg injury. He has been practicing so a return could come in the next few weeks, but his return to health has taken longer than the team expected.
- NHL.com’s Bryan Burns reports that Tampa Bay Lighting forward Cedric Paquette is now considered to be day-to-day. The 26-year-old forward, out with an arm injury, hasn’t played a game this season yet, but could be close. Paquette scored a career-high 13 goals last season.