Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has missed much of the past few weeks with an illness, and now we have clarity on why his absence was so long. Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards relays a Finnish report that Barkov was dealing with a bout of pneumonia, causing him to be away from the team.
Thankfully, Barkov is now healthy. He’s returned to skating with the team and is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow against Detroit, says Richards. In the seven games Barkov missed, the Panthers went 2-3-2. The return of their captain can’t come soon enough, as the team currently sits outside a playoff spot after winning the President’s Trophy last year. Richards also notes the team is optimistic that Anton Lundell can return from an injury tomorrow after missing the last two games.
- After scoring just one goal in 26 games this season, offensive struggles are beginning to weigh on Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi. Puljujärvi told a Finnish news agency today (translated) that “of course, I’d like to be a productive top-line player, but right now, it looks like I can’t do that in NHL. Maybe some other league.” The Finn had a career year last season with 36 points in 65 games and even received some Selke votes, but his play on both sides of the puck has dipped this year. Hopefully, the Oilers can help Puljujärvi figure out a way to regain his confidence.
- Team Canada captain Marie-Philip Poulin has deservedly won the 2022 Northern Star award, given to Canada’s top athlete of the year. Poulin led Canada’s top women’s hockey contingent to both Olympic gold and World Championships gold, scoring a combined 27 points in 14 games. She’s the first hockey player to win the award in seven years.