NHL Buzz: Merzlikins day to day for Blue Jackets

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 
Columbus Blue Jackets

Elvis Merzlikins is day to day with an upper-body injury.

The goalie, who was placed on injured reserve, was injured at practice Wednesday. He will miss at least the next three games, beginning against the Dallas Stars at Nationwide Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, FS-O, FS-SW, ESPN+, NHL.TV).

Joonas Korpisalo is expected to start against the Stars with Matiss Kivlenieks, who was recalled from the taxi squad, backing up.

Merzlikins is 2-2-1 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in six games (five starts) this season.

 

Calgary Flames

Sam Bennett will be a healthy scratch against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, SNW, NHL.TV).

Flames coach Geoff Ward on Thursday said it was because of the forward’s play and not because of rumors that he asked to be traded.

“Not a strange situation, so you can speculate as much as you want about it being that way,” Ward said. “It’s not. The relationship Sam has in our locker room with his teammates and coaching staff is fine. Everything that’s going to happen in terms of where the speculation is going has to do with [general manager Brad Treliving] and (Bennett’s agent) Darrin Ferris. Really, anything you’re looking for that way is there, but as far as the relationship between the player and his teammates and the player and the coaching staff, there’s no strain whatsoever. We’re all good with each other.”

Bennett has one assist and a minus-5 rating in nine games this season. He scored 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 52 games last season.

 
Buffalo Sabres

Coach Ralph Krueger tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Thursday. 

The 61-year-old is in his second season as Sabres coach.

The NHL announced Tuesday that the Sabres would have their games postponed through at least Monday, and that their training facilities would remain closed.

Games against the New York Islanders on Tuesday and Thursday and against the Boston Bruins on Saturday and Monday have been postponed. Rescheduled dates will be announced.

Sabres forward Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list Tuesday, and forward Tobias Rieder and defenseman Brandon Montour were placed in protocol Wednesday.

The Sabres are next scheduled to play the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center on Feb. 11.

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