SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Jackets get Testy

Mark Letestu handles the puck around the Maple Leafs net at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh,...

Mark Letestu handles the puck around the Maple Leafs net at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Penn., Dec. 8, 2010. (JUSTIN K. ALLER/Getty Images/AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:11 PM ET

The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired centre Mark Letestu from the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday.

The Penguins get a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft in return.

Letestu, 26, had one assist in 11 games with the Penguins this season. In 85 career NHL games, he has 15 goals and 14 assists.

Letestu will likely make his Blue Jackets debut Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

NASH BOTTOMS OUT

Since arriving in Columbus for the 2002-03 season, Rick Nash has played for seven coaches and had one winning season.

But now he has hit bottom.

"It's definitely been my toughest challenge as a captain, and really the toughest challenge of my career," Nash told the Columbus Dispatch regarding the Blue Jackets' 2-11-1 start.

"Things just aren't going right. "It's not one player or a couple of players, it's the whole team. And it's my job to keep everybody together."

Nash has taken some heat because he doesn't show anger and frustration on the ice.

"Sometimes you want to walk off the ice and smash your stick and throw Gatorade bottles, take out your anger," Nash said. "That helps for some people."

But it is Nash's style to keep an even keel.

"I've always been this way," Nash said. "I'm the same way to the team, which is honest as well.

"Do I call guys out? Yeah, if it needs to be done I will. I have no problem at all. But whatever happens behind closed doors, I try to keep it there."

CROSBY UNLIKELY TO PLAY FRIDAY

Sidney Crosby is unlikely to return to action Friday when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Dallas Stars.

Many had circled Friday's date for Crosby's return after a 10-month layoff since the game comes at the end of a five-day break. That would have afforded the Penguins captain a chance for some good, hard practices to take some contact and see if there was a recurrence of his post-concussion symptoms.

But indications out of Pittsburgh Tuesday indicated there was was no change in Crosby's status so he probably won't play against the Stars.

Crosby has been out since Jan. 5 since taking hits to the head in successive games and being diagnosed with a concussion. He was cleared for full contact by his medical team Oct. 13.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero has said he would prefer Crosby's return happen on home ice. After Friday's game, the Penguins are next at home Tuesday when they host the Colorado Avalanche. In between those two games, they play at Carolina Saturday.

PRONGER CLOSE TO RETURNING

Philadelphia Flyers captain Chris Pronger, recovering from an injury to his right eye, participated in all the drills Tuesday at practice and could play this week.

"He looks good on the ice," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told NHL.com.

Pronger and his teammates flew to Tampa for a game Wednesday night against the Lightning. Whether he is inserted into the Flyers lineup may hinge on how he feels after the morning skate.

Pronger has missed six games since being struck in the right eye by Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski's stick on Oct. 24.

BOOGEY NIGHT

The Minnesota Wild will honour the late Derek Boogaard in a pre-game ceremony Nov. 27.

Boogaard, who died in May after mixing booze and prescription drugs, will be featured in a tribute video prior to the Wild's game against the Calgary Flames. His grandparents, parents and siblings are expected to be at the game.

Although Boogaard was a member of the New York Rangers when he died, he played the majority of his career -- five seasons -- in Minnesota.

RITOLA SUSPENDED

The Tampa Bay Lightning suspended forward Mattias Ritola Tuesday after he refused to report to Norfolk of the AHL.

The Lightning has also put Ritola on unconditional waivers for the purposes of terminating his contract, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The 24-year-old Swede said he'd rather play in Europe than go to the minors.

"I've spent almost four years in the minors," Ritola told the Times. "I feel this is the way to go in my career right now."

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he understands where Ritola "is coming from" and respects his decision.

RAYMOND SKATES

Vancouver Canucks forward Mason Raymond skated with his teammates Tuesday, the first time he's done so since breaking a vertebra in the Stanley Cup final.

Raymond, who was hurt on a hit by Boston Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk during Game 6 of the final, still has some hurdles to clear before he can play even though he's joined the Canucks on their road trip. But a return to practice was a major step in the right direction.

"He continues to progress," Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman told the Vancouver Province. "We're doing some team-building exercises and Mason is here because he's a very important person in our group."

Raymond has said he'd like to play before the end of November but no timetable has been set for his return.

BRIEFLY

The NHL launched its new French-language website Tuesday. LNH.com will have much of the same content as it's English site, according to a press release from the league. The NHL also added websites in Czech, Finnish, German, Russian, Slovakian and Swedish at the start of the season ... The New York Rangers traded defenceman Tomas Kundratek to the Washington Capitals for forward Francois Bouchard. Both have been playing in the minors ... The Toronto Maple Leafs called up forward Matt Frattin from Toronto of the AHL to fill injured Tim Connolly's spot on the roster. Frattin played 11 games with the Leafs before being sent down just over a week ago.


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