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NHL Morning Links - Nov. 12

11/12/2013

A day later, news of the devastating leg injury suffered by Steven Stamkos is still rocking the hockey world. While the dynamic superstar is scheduled to undergo surgery on his broken right tibia, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have to figure out how to manage without the league’s top scorer; perhaps for the rest of the regular season. But the ripple effect of Stamkos’ injury goes well beyond the NHL. The potential loss is also massive for Team Canada ahead of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. As discussed by ESPN.com’s Pierre Lebrun, you can’t really replace a top-line sniper like Stamkos. If you’re GM Steve Yzerman – Lightning boss and architect of the Canadian Olympic team – you can only make do as best you can.

However, maybe the injury isn’t as bad as all that. From the glass-half-full department, Sportsnet suggests the 23-year-old didn’t suffer an “overly complicated'' break, and a return before the Olympics in February isn’t out of the question. Nick Kypreos reports Team Canada still intends to name Stamkos to their 25 man list. In any case, we should get a much better idea of the severity of the injury, and what sort of timetable for recovery may be in play, in the next 24 to 36 hours.

In what some may characterize as a gutsy move, the head coach of the Ottawa Senators is pledging to start a presumably healthy Craig Anderson over Robin Lehner against the Philadelphia Flyers. Lehner was named the NHL’s first star of the week after posting three wins (1.33 goals-against average, .953 save percentage) in a trio of appearances while Anderson recovered from a neck injury. “… Anderson is the No. 1 goalie and he’s ready to play,” said Paul MacLean on Monday. “He’s playing.” Anything less than a solid performance from Anderson on Tuesday will inevitably inspire spirited discussion as to who should sport the pads for Friday’s match with the Boston Bruins.

Forward Steve Downie (concussion) is expected to be back in the mix for the Flyers Tuesday. While Downie is pegged to skate on a line with Matt Read and Sean Couturier, winger Michael Raffl is in danger of being demoted to the AHL.

The Pittsburgh Penguins may be without defenseman Paul Martin for Wednesday’s contest against the Flyers. Martin didn’t participate in Monday’s practice after sitting out Saturday with an undisclosed injury. If the injury turns out to be an enduring concern, there’s a good chance the Penguins will recall Simon Despres from the AHL.

Unlike the Senators, the New Jersey Devils are fully on board with riding the hot hand in net. Coming off two shutouts, Martin Brodeur is getting the start against the New York Rangers Tuesday. Remember, Cory Schneider was named the Devils top goaltender to start the regular season.

Once his warm-up stint with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons is through, goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to challenge Devan Dubnyk for the No. 1 job with the Edmonton Oilers. ESPN Insider Craig Custance examines what genuine hope, if any, Bryzgalov offers the struggling Edmonton club.

Meanwhile, the agent for winger Nail Yakupov is reportedly open to a trade, if the Oilers remain unhappy with his client. Igor Larionov is hoping to have a chat with those running the show in Edmonton in the coming days.

"I'm going to Edmonton on Thursday to watch a couple games against Dallas and New Jersey. Obviously a lot of questions, and I want to have some answers," Larionov said.

Defenseman Ladislav Smid will make his debut for the Calgary Flames Tuesday. Smid is expected to be paired with Derek Smith while Shane O’Brien takes a seat against the San Jose Sharks. Furthermore, forward Lee Stempniak appears ready to return from a broken foot.

There’s word Thomas Vanek could be back for the New York Islanders in the next few days. Newsday’s Arthur Staple:

“… Vanek, who left Saturday's game in Columbus in the opening 30 seconds with an upper-body injury and sat out Sunday's loss in Montreal, does not appear to be headed for injured reserve, according to a source. It's unlikely that Vanek will be ready to play against the Predators at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, but if he can get back on the ice within a day or two, he could be back by the end of this week …”

Once again, the head coach of the Dallas Stars is giving rookie Valeri Nichushkin a shot at playing on the top line with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Lindy Ruff also appears to be experimenting with splitting up his regular No. 2 line of Ray Whitney, Cody Eakin and Alex Chiasson.

Some key members of the Habs are nearing full health. The Montreal Canadiens hope to have forward Daniel Briere in the lineup Tuesday (vs. Lightning) and imposing defensemen Alexei Emelin (knee) back by the weekend. Briere appears positioned to center a line with Rene Bourque and Michael Bournival, in place of an under-producing David Desharnais.

Solemn plan or inspirational kick in the pants? Or both? Coach Mike Babcock is threatening – but not actually promising – to bench forward Daniel Cleary for a recovered Johan Franzen against the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday. With one goal and two assists in 18 games, Clearly has been a disappointment to start the 2013-14 campaign. Obviously the Red Wings want their veteran winger to get going soon.

The St. Louis Blues reportedly intend to rely on defenseman Ian Cole for the long haul, as Jordan Leopold takes the next couple of months to recover from a serious finger injury.