Mark Stone out indefinitely, Crosby, Ovechkin to team up for breakaway challenge, and more: Around the League
Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
Welcome back to Around the League — the column here at CanucksArmy in which we examine news and notes from around the National Hockey League, oftentimes through a Canucks-tinted lens.
After the chaos of the Bo Horvat trade and the start of All-Star Weekend in South Florida, there’s very little big news going around. But there is one story developing in Vegas that could have a huge impact on the Western playoff picture, as well as some odds and ends surrounding the NHL’s big All-Star showcase.
Mark Stone undergoes back surgery, out indefinitely
On Wednesday, the Golden Knights announced that Mark Stone had undergone successful back surgery at the end of January, and will be out of the lineup indefinitely.
Stone has fought through several injuries throughout his career, including missing 45 games last season for different ailments, including a second back surgery. Despite it all, Stone has continued to be a huge offensive sparkplug for Vegas when he’s healthy.
Stone left the lineup on January 12 second on the Knights in scoring with 38 points in 43 games, and his absence has already affected Vegas badly. The Golden Knights have won just once in their last eight games since Stone’s injury, and their scoring has entirely tailed off at a crucial point of the season.
The Kings recently jumped over the Knights to take second place in the Pacific, and the Oilers sit only two points behind in fourth with a game in hand. If Bruce Cassidy’s squad can’t find a way to replace Stone’s output, they could end up falling out of the playoffs entirely like they did last season.
If you’re the Canucks, perhaps you make a call to Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon and offer them some offensive punch in exchange for more of the draft picks and prospects you need. Cause if there’s any team that’s shown how willing they are to go all-in for a Stanley Cup run right now, it’s Vegas.
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby to team up in NHL All-Star Breakaway Challenge
Move over Avengers: Endgame, we have a new owner of the ‘Most Ambitious Crossover’ title.
Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin’s rivalry has always been more storyline-based then born out of actual hatred; the two stars’ personal relationship has always been mutually respectful at worst, and even relatively friendly at best. So it’s not too surprising that given the limited number of All-Star Game appearances the elder statesmen have left, they’d want to team up for something fun for this year’s Breakaway Challenge in the Skills Competition.
Ovechkin has done stunts like this before at the event, including this iconic bit with Crosby’s Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin back in 2009. But this’ll be Crosby’s first ever time competing in the Breakaway Challenge.
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But Crosby and Ovechkin won’t have an easy path to putting the puck in the net. Because former Canuck and Hockey Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo will be standing in their way as the event’s celebrity goaltender.
Luongo took to Twitter to poll fans on which mask to wear for the game, but sadly his 2006-07 Grizzly Bear mask was not one of the options.
Tage Thompson to miss All-Star Weekend with injury; Rasmus Dahlin to replace him
After leaving the Sabres’ last game before the All-Star break on Wednesday with an upper-body injury, Tage Thompson has been ruled out of the All-Star Game and will be replaced by teammate Rasmus Dahlin.
Thompson has been having an incredible season in Buffalo, sitting sixth in NHL scoring with 68 points in 50 games and leading the Sabres to within a point of the East’s second wild card spot. There’s no word on how long Thompson is expected to be out for yet, but hopefully for Sabres fans who’ve dealt with over a decade of frustration and losing, he won’t be out for too long.
Meanwhile, Dahlin has been having his own great campaign with 55 points in 49 games and is a more than deserving replacement. He’ll be partaking in the Hardest Shot event during Friday’s Skills competition, which also features the Canucks’ only remaining All-Star, Elias Pettersson.
Dylan Strome signs five-year extension in Washington
On Friday morning, the Washington Capitals signed forward Dylan Strome to a five-year deal with an annual average value of $5 million.
Strome has had a strong first season in Washington after signing with the Capitals this past offseason as a free agent. He has tallied 11 goals and 25 assists through 52 games so far this season, and is coming off of a 22 goal, 26 assist campaign with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.
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