Scandinavian hockey fans have something to celebrate after the NHL signed a multi-year deal to have games broadcast live in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.
The league signed an agreement Thursday with Scandinavian broadcaster Modern Times Group to air all 1,230 games on TV, mobile apps and on the Internet. Many of the games will be offered on MTG's pay-TV channels and multi-screen video streaming service but some will be available on free TV.
"A lot of kids want to see NHL games and now that it's possible, it's going to be huge," Detroit's Valterri Filppula said on the NHL website. "Thinking back, when I was growing up I wish I could've seen games, so definitely it's a good thing.
According to the NHL, 10% of its players are from the four Nordic nations.
NO CHANGES FOR CBJ
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson and coach Scott Arniel both got votes of confidence from team president Mike Priest, according to the Columbus Post-Dispatch.
With key players suspended (James Wisniewski) or injured (Jeff Carter, Kristian Huselius, Jared Boll), the Blue Jackets have struggled to a 0-5-1 start, leading to speculation that Howson or Arniel -- or both -- could get the boot. Not so, according to Priest.
"When we have our whole team assembled, and we have time to digest it, then we'll be able to really take a hard look and evaluate it," Priest told the Post-Dispatch. "Time will tell, but we are absolutely committed to winning. We demonstrated that this summer, and we're not going to rest until we win. We hoped we wouldn't be where we are. We have to keep pushing through this, but we also need to see our team. We don't have our team."
HAVLAT GOOD TO GO
San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat, acquired in the off-season trade that sent Dany Heatley to the Minnesota Wild, will make his season debut Friday against the New Jersey Devils.
Havlat missed the first four games of the season while recovering from summer shoulder surgery. The 30-year-old was injured while playing for the Czech Republic at the 2011 world championship. In 78 games with the Wild last season, Havlat had 22 goals and a team-high 62 points.
The Sharks also recalled forward Benn Ferriero from Worcester of the AHL.
BACK WHERE HE STARTED
Goalie Manny Legace has signed a tryout agreement with the AHL's Springfield Falcons, where he started his pro career in 1994.
Legace, who is entering his 18th professional season, has appeared in 365 NHL games and posted a record of 187-99-41 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. The 38-year-old has played with the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes.
Legace has a career record of 53-45-15 with Springfield and is the franchise's career leader in shutouts, with eight. He was named the AHL's top goalie in 1995-96.
On the heels of Montreal Canadiens defenceman Hall Gill playing in his 1,000th NHL game Thursday, two more long-time veterans will reach milestones this weekend.
Detroit Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom will play his 1,500th NHL game Saturday at Washington.
San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton will play his 1,000th NHL game Friday against New Jersey. Thornton and Gill played their first NHL game with the Boston Bruins on the same night in 2007.
St. Louis Blues forward David Perron, out for almost a year with a concussion, briefly skated with his teammates Thursday.
Perron participated in just one drill during the workout but seemed happy to take that small step toward playing again.
"I felt good and I wanted to try it out with guys moving around me," Perron said. "It was good, it went well. The positive part is I'm still progressing, so that means I'm doing better."
There is no timetable for Perron's return to the lineup. He was concussed on a hit in a game against the San Jose Sharks last November.
Former Calgary Flames first-round pick Kris Chucko has retired after playing in just two NHL games, both in 2009-10. Chucko packed it in because of concussion symptoms ... The Carolina Hurricanes signed 2011 second-round draft pick Victor Rask to an entry-level contract. Rask has six goals and four assists in eight games with Calgary of the WHL ... The Columbus Blue Jackets called up goalie Allen York from Springfield of the AHL on an emergency basis. York is 1-0-0 with a 2.97 goals-against average and .907 save percentage with Springfield ... The Florida Panthers called up forwards Tim Kennedy and Bracken Kearns from San Antonio of the AHL before their game against the Buffalo Sabres. Kearns, 30, made his NHL debut against the Sabres.