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NHL Daily Links - Jan. 31

1/31/2014

One of the not-so-secret secrets to the success enjoyed by the Tampa Bay Lightning this season has been the play of goaltender Ben Bishop. So hopefully the upper-body injury (read: concussion) Bishop suffered during Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators isn’t all that serious.

The towering netminder didn’t feel too bad as the evening wore on but, as we’re slowly learning, the first 24-hour span following a head injury doesn’t reveal the whole story. Bishop is considered the favorite to sub in for the American quad at the Olympic Games, should another goalie feel under the weather.

In other Team USA-related news, ESPN Insider Craig Custance sketches out what Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty brings to the table (hint: a lot). And the national squad will name its captain on Friday. Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings), David Backes (St. Louis Blues), Ryan Callahan (New York Rangers), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), and Ryan Suter (Wild) are believed to the top candidates for the honor.

One Detroit Red Wings forward may replace another on Team Sweden for Olympic competition. Apparently Gustav Nyquist is “under strong consideration” to fill in for Johan Franzen, who is having a rough go of it in recovering from his latest concussion.

Defenseman Mike Green is hurt. His head and shoulder took a serious crunching into the boards via a Boone Jenner hit during Thursday’s tilt between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Capitals will know more once Green is evaluated Friday. On the upside, the D-man was scheduled to travel with the team to Detroit.

A new-ish top line is emerging for the Wild. If coach Mike Yeo opts to run with the Parise/Mikael Granlund/Jason Pominville forward combo, it will be interesting to see where Mikko Koivu slots in upon return from an ankle injury. The Wild captain still intends to represent Finland in Sochi next month.

The value of Daniel Carcillo is being evaluated ahead of the healthy return of Derek Dorsett (broken fibula). While Dorsett’s comeback is pencilled in for after the Olympic break, Carcillo has performed well since making his Rangers debut earlier this month. Surely, coach Alain Vigneault will make it all work.

Forward Tomas Fleischmann of the Florida Panthers spent Thursday evening in the Air Canada Centre press box as a healthy scratch. The Panthers ended up losing, 6-3, to the Toronto Maple Leafs, so Fleischmann’s stay in coach Peter Horachek’s doghouse may be short-lived.

Annoyed by the Leafs latest run of good fortune? Blame recently acquired defenseman Tim Gleason, maybe. Also, there’s reportedly a “50-50 chance” center Dave Bolland returns to Toronto’s lineup before the Olympic break. Bolland has been out with a nasty ankle injury since early November.

Not exactly a blockbuster deal, but the Leafs have sent defenseman Mark Fraser to the Edmonton Oilers for forwards Cameron Abney and Teemu Hartikainen. TSN’s Bob McKenzie on why the move isn’t all that significant.

“… So it's Cam Abney (ECHLer) and Teemu Hartikainen (in KHL) for Fraser. In other words, an expiring contract and an expired contract …”

And Fraser is in the final year of his contract, carrying a $1.275-million cap hit. Meanwhile, ESPN Insider Corey Pronman suggests there’s no cause to get too worked up about Hartikainen either -- even if he does end up playing in the NHL.

“… Hartikainen is signed in the KHL through 2014-15. Best case scenario is bottom six forward if he ever comes back to NA …”

The San Jose Sharks hope to have forward Logan Couture (hand) back before we take pause for the games in Sochi. The Sharks have four contests between now and Feb. 8.

The Vancouver Canucks could be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa for a while. Hurt “seriously enough”, Bieksa isn’t expected to suit up during the team’s upcoming five-game road trip. Frank Corrado has been called up to fill the void.

Don’t anticipate a return to the blue line for Dustin Byfuglien anytime soon. Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice seems reasonably pleased with how Big Buff is comporting himself as a forward.

While a bit bothered by his latest stint as a healthy scratch, and all the talk of a potential trade, winger P.A. Parenteau of the Colorado Avalanche intends to plow through like any good pro. In other Avalanche news, preferring not to “haggle”, the club cut a seemingly reasonable new deal with goalie Semyon Varlamov. The contract is worth $29.5 million over five years.