More injury trouble for the Pittsburgh Penguins as the club announced Tuesday it will likely be without one of its biggest stars for the rest of the regular season.
Evgeni Malkin is scheduled to miss 2-3 weeks after suffering a foot injury Sunday afternoon against the St. Louis Blues.
“He got hurt on a play toward the net,” head coach Dan Bylsma told the team’s website.
There was some relief, however, as Bylsma admitted team doctors “haven’t indicated” Malkin will need surgery on the injury.
Malkin missed 11 games earlier this season with lower-body injuries. In 60 games, the 27-year-old has 23 goals and 72 points.
Pittsburgh has lost 439 man-games this season -- the most of any NHL team -- and are currently without Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis, Tomas Vokoun, Paul Martin, Beau Bennett and Chris Conner, all of whom are on injured reserve.
SMITH GOES ON SHELF
The Phoenix Coyotes, in the thick of the playoff race, will be without a key cog in the short-term.
Starting goaltender Mike Smith is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, the team announced Tuesday.
Smith was forced from Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers in the third period after New York’s Derrick Brassard fell on him.
“He had some tests done this morning and ... he’ll be evaluated by our doctors when we get home (on Friday),” head coach Dave Tippett told the team’s website.
The Coyotes faced the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and will go head-to-head with the Devils in New Jersey on Thursday.
Thomas Greiss got the start Tuesday and the club called up former Canadian world junior goalie Mark Visentin from the AHL’s Portland Pirates.
Smith misses time at a critical juncture for the Coyotes. Heading into Tuesday night’s action, the team held the last wild card spot in the Western Conference with 80 points, one ahead of the Dallas Stars and four ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.
JAGR 'HATES' PRO AUTOGRAPH SEEKERS
Professional autograph seekers beware: Jaromir Jagr does not like you.
At an autograph session Tuesday, the 42-year-old New Jersey Devils forward told the Star-Ledger he is sick of seeing the same faces at most signing events he attends.
“I don’t mind (signing) for the real fans, but I hate those people who are making money on it,” said Jagr, who is seventh on the NHL’s all-time points list. “They get autographs, then sell them for big money. They just make it bad for real fans.”
A bothersome tactic, Jagr said, is when grown men and women enlist children to do the dirty work in an attempt to get his signature.
“They’ll hire little kids,” he said. “It’s a cheap way to use players to make money.”
Jagr, as one of the greatest NHLers in history, has naturally fielded many more autograph requests than the average pro hockey player. Over time, he has caught on to a number of schemes.
“You tell them sometimes that you’re not signing for them, but they’re not embarrassed and they keep coming back,” Jagr added. “They’ve got the attitude. You throw them out the door, they come from the window.”
BACKSTROM WANTS MORE
The Washington Capitals are fighting for their playoff lives and one of the club’s stars is challenging his teammates to do better.
Nicklas Backstrom, the Caps’ first-line centre, put the focus on the top two scoring lines.
“I think something that the first two lines need to do is look at our third line,” he told the Washington Post.
“They’re cycling the puck, and off that they create chances. I think our first lines haven’t been doing that, not the whole year. That’s something we need to do. We’ve been talking about it but we need a better effort from the top guys for sure.”
Backstrom may very well have captain Alex Ovechkin on his mind. Washington’s premier goal-scorer has just three goals, all on the power play, in his last 11 games.
Heading into Tuesday night’s games, the Caps were one point out of a playoff spot with 79 behind the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, who both had 80.
Vancouver Canucks forwards Henrik Sedin (lower-body) and Alex Burrows (hand) are day-to-day with injuries, the team announced ... John Mitchell did not travel with the Colorado Avalanche and is doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, according to the Denver Post ... Nashville Predators rookie defenceman Seth Jones missed his first game of the season Tuesday with concussion-like symptoms ... New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider could miss more than a month due to what may be a broken hand, according to TSN.