January 6, 2012
NHL notes: Kings mine Nicholls to boost offence
By QMI Agency
The Los Angeles Kings, one the lowest-scoring teams in the league, have turned to former star Bernie Nicholls to give their offence a jolt.
Nicholls, who holds the franchise single-season record for goals, with 70, has been hired as a consultant by new coach Darryl Sutter. He is working with players in practice and analyzing games in order to advise Sutter.
"I love consulting," Nicholls said. "Coming in and working with these guys, doing whatever it is, I really enjoy that part."
Nicholls, 50, had career highs of 70 goals and 80 assists in 1988-89. The Kings combined this season have just 87 goals through 40 games.
"Why not use that resource when you have it?" Sutter said of Nichols. "It's not about having the blinders on. It's about using everything you can."
ANOTHER LOSS FOR JACKETS
The Columbus Blue Jackets, in last place overall, got more bad news when it was learned Mark Letestu would be out up to six weeks because of a broken right hand.
The 26-year-old centre was hit hard into the boards Thursday by San Jose Sharks defenceman Douglas Murray.
The Jackets recalled centre Ryan Russell from Springfield of the AHL on Friday.
The team also placed winger Kristian Huselius on injured reserve Friday. He already has missed one month of action because of a torn groin muscle.
CROSBY RUMOURS DENIED
Agent Pat Brisson rebuffed speculation Sidney Crosby was being ruled out for the rest of the season because of recurring concussion woes.
"Sidney is doing very well, he's training, he's going in the right direction," Brisson told ESPN. "The idea of retiring or shutting him down is not even in our vocabulary. Far from that."
Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain, sat out more than 10 months with post-concussion syndrome, returning last Nov. 21 and playing just eight games before being sidelined again.
TORTORELLA AN ALL-STAR
John Tortorella has been awarded a coaching job at the NHL all-star game thanks to the New York Rangers' strong first-half showing in the Eastern Conference.
The coach of the Western team with the best points percentage as of next Monday will join Tortorella behind one of the all-star benches, Jan. 29.
The Bruins coaching staff, led by Claude Julien, while handle the other bench by virtue of Boston winning the Stanley Cup next spring.
FLAMES GET BIG BODY
The Calgary Flames traded minor-league defenceman Brendan Mikkelson to the Tampa Bay Lightning for centre Blair Jones on Friday in a Friday that added depth to both teams.
With plenty of defencemen in the system, the Flames picked up a big-bodied centre in Jones, 25.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Jones had two goals and two assists in 22 games with the Lightning this season.
Mikkelson, 24, had three goals and 12 assists in 33 games with Abbotsford of the AHL. He appeared in 19 games with the Flames last season.
Both players will be restricted free agents this summer.
The wife of a Rangers fan beaten by rival Flyers fans outside a cheesesteak stand in Philadelphia after Monday's Winter Classic lashed out at bystanders for not calling 911 during the brawl. Video footage released by Philadelphia police showed off-duty New Jersey cop Neal Auricchio and a friend being thrown to the ground and repeatedly punched by three men in Flyers jerseys in front of a crowd of hockey fans. Maria Auricchio said she cannot believe none of the fans alerted authorities. Instead they seemed to be cheering the fight on ... Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta is expected to return to the lineup Saturday after sitting out almost one month with a groin injury. The Habs were 4-7 in his absence. But they could be without defenceman Alexei Emelin, who was hit on the left cheek by a puck at practice Friday ... Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang skated Friday for the first time since Nov. 26 when he suffered a concussion on a hit from the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty. It's not known when Letang will return to practice.