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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Auston Matthews Could Play Against Rangers

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews could be in the lineup against the New York Rangers when the teams take the ice on Saturday.

Matthews, who missed the past six games because of a concussion, said Friday that a decision will be made after the morning skate.

“I think it’s just talking with the training staff,” Matthews said after participating in his first practice since getting injured. “No decision is going to be made until tomorrow. I’m definitely feeling a lot better. I feel good out there on the ice. Obviously just trying to get my legs back.”

Matthews was injured when he collided with Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly during the third period of Toronto’s a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 9th.

“I think just later on after Pittsburgh, just colliding with Morgan and then later on that night, the next day, I wasn’t feeling very well,” Matthews said, when discussing the injury with reporters on Friday.

“Just normal concussion symptoms, I guess. Don’t need to go any farther than that.”

“Just like last time, it’s nice to get back out there with the whole team and get skating again,” said Matthews.

Matthews leads the team this season with 26 points, including 13 goals and 13 assists, in 26 games and Toronto is not the same team when he is out of the lineup.

“It’s very frustrating,” Matthews said.

“You never like missing games and two back-to-back injuries like that where you miss time, it [stinks]. Obviously the main thing is to be healthy. That’s my main concern, and obviously the training staff and everybody else’s, so like I said, I feel good and it feels good to get back on the ice.”

 

Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings’ Jeff Blashill Has Doubts that Henrik Zetterberg will Return this Season

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Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill has his doubts when it comes to the potential of Henrik Zetterberg suiting up this season, uncertain that the 37-year old will be healthy enough to do so and admitting that his status is currently in the air.

“He’s had a hard summer and I don’t think his back is reacting great,” Red Wings’ head coach Jeff Blashill said earlier this week, according to Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News. “Certainly we’ll know more in a month (at training camp), but as of today, there’s a lot of doubt as to whether his back will be healthy enough to play.”

Zetterberg did play in all 82 games for Detroit last season, but it was a tough task to enable he could do so.

“As you know, Hank wasn’t able to practice for half the year,” Blashill said. “He was able to gut it out through those last two months where he wasn’t able to practice. There were nights I didn’t think he’d able to play and he did play.”

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski Hoping to be Ready by Season Opener

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Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is hoping to avoid missing the start of the 2018-19 regular season as he continues to recover from undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year, according BlueJackets’com’s Brian Hedger.

“My goal, ultimately, is to be there for Game 1,” Werenski said. “You never want to miss time, you never want to miss games, so my goal going into training camp and into the season is to be ready for Game 1.

“If it’s later, like Game 5 or Game 10, whenever that is, I’m going to work to miss as few games as possible and be ready to help the team.”

Werenski, 21, has begun skating but hasn’t progressed to contact drills as he continues his journey back.

“I feel great out there,” Werenski said. “There’s no problems right now. I’m just kind of ramping it up here, trying to get my timing back. Everything feels good on the ice. I haven’t had any contact yet. That’s not until later. I probably won’t do that until probably halfway through training camp, but everything is good. Everything’s on pace. I actually don’t know what my timeline is, to be honest, but I’m hoping to be back toward the start of training camp – probably not Day 1, but as soon as I can be.”

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Eastern Conference

Capitals Add Scott Arniel, Reid Cashman to Coaching Staff

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The Washington Capitals have added Scott Arniel and Reid Cashman as assistants to the staff of head coach Todd Reirden, according to a team announcement made on Monday.

Arniel played in 730 NHL games with the Winnipeg JetsBuffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins throughout the 80s and early 90s, and served as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from the 2010-2011 season until the 2011-2012 season.

Cashman, 35, was the assistant coach at Quinnipiac University, his Alma mater, for four seasons before being promoted to associate coach in his final year, and spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.

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