NHL Notes: Broken finger sidelines Wings' Howard

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second...

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period of their NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dec. 13, 2011. (REUTERS/David DeNoma)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:15 PM ET

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will miss at least the next two games due to a broken finger.

Howard, the league leader in wins with 32, broke the index fingertip on his right hand during Thursday's game against the Vancouver Canucks. He'll have the injury looked at again when the Red Wings get back to Detroit after their four-game road trip.

"It is broken and we'll see from here," Howard told the Detroit News. "I've played with broken fingers before. I'm going to fiddle around with my sticks and cut some notches and hopefully I'll be able to hold on to (the stick)."

In 44 games this season, Howard has gone 32-11-1 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

With Howard hurt, Ty Conklin takes over as the Red Wings' starter. Joey MacDonald was called up from Grand Rapids of the AHL to serve as Conklin's backup.

ELIAS FINED

Patrick Elias was fined $2,500 Friday for boarding Montreal Canadiens' forward Michael Blunden during Thursday's game in Newark.

The New Jersey Devils forward was given just a minor penalty on the first-period play but the league felt it deserved a little supplementary discipline so Elias was fined the maximum allowable under the CBA.

Blunden was forced to leave the game early due to a lower-body injury.

NOLAN CALLING IT QUITS

Owen Nolan is expected to announce his retirement at a press conference Tuesday in San Jose.

The former Sharks captain will "make an announcement regarding the future of his hockey career" during the event. Since it's unlikely he's signed with the Sharks, retirement is the best guess.

Nolan, 39, hasn't played since 2010 but hasn't officially called it quits. He tried out for the Vancouver Canucks in training camp this season but was released.

CHRISTENSEN DEALT

The New York Rangers shed their extra forward Friday, shipping Erik Christensen to the Minnesota Wild.

The Rangers traded Christensen, who hasn't played since Dec. 17 and has just one goal and four assists in 20 games, and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013 to Minny for forward Casey Willman. New York sent Wellman, who has two goals and five assists in 14 games, to Connecticut of the AHL.

The deal allows the Rangers, who have kept 14 forwards on the roster since the all-star break, to clear a little room under the salary cap, too. Christensen is making $925,000 this season.

SMYTH WANTS OUT?

It almost seems unthinkable given his connection to Edmonton but rumours are starting that Ryan Smyth is willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to the New York Rangers.

The New York Post is reporting that Smyth is considering the possibility, which seems to indicate that New York is interested in acquiring him from the Oilers. The 35-year-old forward, who has 16 goals and 18 assists in 51 games, is on pace for his best point total since 2008.

BRIEFLY

The Washington Capitals put tough-guy Joel Rechlicz on waivers with the intention of sending him to Hershey of the AHL. Rechlisz leads the AHL in penalty minutes ... The Pittsburgh Penguins signed centre Joe Vitale to a two-year contract extension worth $1.1 million. Vitale has 10 points in 44 games this season ... The Montreal Candiens called up forward Aaron Palushaj from Hamilton of the AHL. Palushaj leads Hamilton in scoring with 13 goals and 15 assists ... The Ottawa Senators called up forward Jim O'Brien from Binghamton of the AHL. It's the first time the 23-year-old has been called up this season ... Forward Byron Bitz was called up from Chicago of the AHL by the Vancouver Canucks. Bitz has played just 10 games with Chicago, recording one goal and two assists.


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