NHL Buzz: Tkachuk could make season debut for Senators on Sunday

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Ottawa Senators

Brady Tkachuk will not play for the Senators against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SNO, SNW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) but could make his season debut against the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

The forward, who was a restricted free agent, signed a seven-year, $57.5 million contract on Thursday.

Tkachuk was not available for a season-opening 3-2 home win against the Maple Leafs on Thursday, but practiced on Friday and Saturday. Coach D.J. Smith had previously said it would take Tkachuk 7-10 days to be game-ready after missing all of training camp.

“He would like to play tonight,” Smith said Saturday. “If it was up to him, he would be out there tonight. … There is a chance (he plays Sunday) but again, we’ll see what he looks like today. … We’ll reassess tomorrow but the likelihood is he’ll go against San Jose (on Thursday).”

Tkahcuk led the Senators with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 games last season. He also led them in penalty minutes (69) and was second in the NHL in hits (248), two behind Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas.

 

Winnipeg Jets

Mark Scheifele will make his season debut for the Jets against the San Jose Sharks (10 p.m. ET; CITY, SNW, NBCSCA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The center did not play in the Jets’ season-opening 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday while serving the final game of a four-game suspension for charging Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on June 2.

“It’s been a long time,” Scheifele said Friday. “Had a good practice today, just got to, you know, try not to score 100 goals in the first shift and just kind of take it stride by stride and enjoy it. … Looking forward to being out with the boys tomorrow.”

Scheifele, who led the Jets with 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists) in 56 games last season, skated on a line with Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler Friday and practiced on the top power-play unit.

 

Colorado Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon remains in COVID-19 protocol and will not play for the Avalanche against the St. Louis Blues (9 p.m. ET; ALT, BSMW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The center did not play in a 4-2 season-opening win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

“He’s in a holding pattern,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “He’s asymptomatic, feels good, needs a couple of negative tests for him to come back, or else it’s 10 days. … Yesterday’s test was positive. … Best case scenario we get a couple of negatives and he could possibly be in (Saturday). If not, then he’s out again until he gets two negatives or 10 days.”

Defenseman Jack Johnson will not play because of a COVID-19 protocol-related absence. Johnson, who signed a one-year contract on Oct., scored against the Blackhawks.

Bednar, who was also in COVID-19 protocol, returned Friday and will coach on Saturday. He missed Colorado’s final two preseason games and their season opener.

Forward Valeri Nichushkin is week to week with an upper-body injury. He had an assist and three shots on goal in 15:03 of ice time in the win Wednesday.

 

New York Rangers

Ryan Strome (COVID-19 protocol-related absence) will not play for the Rangers at the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET; CITY, SNE, TVAS, MSG, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The center has one assist and six shots on goal in two games this season.

New York recalled forward Greg McKegg from Hartford of the American Hockey League.

 

Nashville Predators

David Rittich was placed in COVID-19 protocol and will not be available for the Predators against the Carolina Hurricanes (8 p.m. ET; BSSO, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The goalie backed up Juuse Saros in a 4-3 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.

Goalie Connor Ingram was recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.

 

Detroit Red Wings

Dylan Larkin did not practice with the Red Wings on Friday.

The forward was hit from behind into the boards by Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph in a 7-6 overtime loss on Thursday. Larkin received a match penalty for roughing after retaliating and was suspended one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday; he will not play against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SNP, BSDET, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Larkin scored a goal and had three shots on goal in 11:39 of ice time before receiving the match penalty.

“He could not practice today,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I don’t know what that means going forward, but he’ll see some people today.”

 

Montreal Canadiens

Mike Hoffman could make his debut for the Canadiens next week, coach Dominique Ducharme said.

The forward, who signed a three-year contract, was injured during the offseason prior to arriving in Montreal. He took part in his first practice with the team on Saturday.

Ducharme said Hoffman would not play against the New York Rangers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, SNE, TVAS, MSG, ESPN+, NHL LIVE), but could play Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks, or Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Hoffman scored 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 52 games with the St. Louis Blues last season.

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