SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notebook: Ryan's Duck days could be numbered

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) makes a save on Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan (9)...

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) makes a save on Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan (9) in the second period during Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference quarterfinal hockey playoffs in Anaheim, California April 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:00 PM ET

Bobby Ryan's days as an Anaheim Duck could be numbered.

The underachieving Ducks have had preliminary talks with the New York Rangers about sending Ryan east, according to the New York Post. Nothing more substantive has come from the discussions but the Rangers likely wouldn't be the only team interested in acquiring the former second-overall pick, who had 34 goals last season.

Ryan is off to a slow start with seven goals and four assists in 23 games this season.

There are rumblings the Toronto Maple Leafs would jump into the Ryan sweepstakes, if it goes that far. Leafs general manager Brian Burke drafted Ryan in 2005 when he was running the Ducks and reportedly has interest in bringing him to Toronto.

Ryan, 24, has scored at least 30 goals in three consecutive seasons. He has a salary cap hit of $5.1 million through the 2014-15 season.

The Ducks have played poorly this season, going just 6-13-4, and are 14th in the Western Conference. Coach Randy Carlyle is on the hot seat and could be the next coach fired, so it makes sense general manager Bob Murray is shopping Ryan, if for no other reason than to shake things up in the room.

GREEN LIGHT?

The Washington Capitals still don't have a time frame for defenceman Mike Green's return but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Green, out for two weeks with a strained groin, has started skating again. He has been on the ice twice in the past few days, according to the Washington Post.

"He seems to be doing really well but we don't have a timetable," Caps general manager George McPhee said.

Green has been out since Nov. 11. He was hurt during a game against the New Jersey Devils.

The Capitals have gone 4-9-1 with Green out of the lineup this season.

PENS FORWARD FINED

Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal has been fined $2,500 for high-sticking Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, the NHL said Tuesday.

Neal was given a minor penalty after high-sticking the Hab in the third period Saturday of Pittsburgh's 4-3 overtime win.

The fine marked the second disciplinary action stemming from the game as Montreal's Max Pacioretty was suspended three games for an illegal hit that left the Penguins' Kris Letang with a broken nose.

The Canadiens have called up centre Louis Leblanc to replace Pacioretty. The 20-year-old is expected to make his debut Wednesday night in Anaheim against the Ducks.

STAAL BACK ON SKATES

New York Rangers defenceman Marc Staal is skating again on his own, as he recovers from a concussion, according to an.

The 24-year-old got back on the ice Monday and Tuesday, ESPNNewYork.com reported, after being shut down last month because of post-concussion symptoms.

Staal's injury troubles date back to Feb. 22, although he played 15 of the Rangers' final 17 games of 20110-11. He hasn't played this season.

'CANES GET NODL

The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired right winger Andreas Nodl, 24, off waivers from Philadelphia.

Nodl had one assist in 12 games this season for the Flyers, and 11 goals and 11 assists in 67 games in 2010-11.

Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said Nodl is a good skater whose skill level provides depth. "He has a skill level that gives us a little more depth among our top 12 forwards."

LOU STILL NO. 1

Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider started his sixth game in a row Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Roberto Luongo is still No. 1, coach Alain Vigneault says.

With Schneider playing so well, some have suggested he should take over as the starter while highly paid Luongo shifts to a backup role. That won't happen, according to Vigneault.

"Roberto wants to play, he is a competitor, he is a very proud guy," Vigneault said. "He knows he is the No. 1 goaltender on this team and he wants to play. But at the end of the day Cory right now is playing real well and those are the decisions a coach has to make."

The Canucks play the next three games at home and Luongo is expected to start at least one of them. But Schneider is riding a four-game winning streak so Vigneault has been reluctant to make the switch.

KESSEL ON TOP

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel has taken over top spot in fan balloting for the 2012 all-star game.

Kessel, the NHL's leading scorer with 16 goals and 15 assists, has received 258,446 votes and leads first-week leader Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators by just 2,000 votes.

Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson and teammate Jason Spezza are second and third among forwards in balloting. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby jumped to fourth among forwards with nearly 207,000 votes.

Karlsson, Toronto's Dion Phaneuf and Pittsburgh's Kris Letang are the top three defencemen. Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins has the most votes among goalies, just over 175,000.

The all-star game goes Jan. 29 in Ottawa.

LOW EXPECTATIONS

Montreal Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov could make his season debut Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

While Habs coach Jacques Martin is not saying if Markov will play, he did caution fans to have realistic expectations for the former all-star defenceman when he does get into the lineup.

"It's important to understand that whatever moment that Andrei is ready to play, he's still not going to be at 100%," Martin said on the team's website. "We need to remember that he has missed one; almost two years of hockey. It would be unfair to expect him to jump back into the lineup and immediately be performing at 100%."

Markov hasn't played since early last season after surgery on his right knee.

BRIEFLY

The St. Louis Blues called up defenceman Cade Fairchild from Peoria of the AHL. The 21-year-old has two goals and five assists in 19 games with the minor-league club ... Defencemen Alexandre Picard and Robert Bortozzo were recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Picard has played six games with the Pens this season while Bortozzo made his NHL debut earlier this month in Los Angeles ... The Buffalo Sabres recalled forward Paul Szczechura from Rochester of the AHL, a day after sending him down. It's the second time this season Szczechura has been called up ... The Nashville Predators called up centre Kyle Wilson from Milwaukee of the AHL. Wilson has four goals and nine assists in 17 games with Milwaukee.


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