NHL Buzz: Koivu to make Blue Jackets debut against Panthers


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


Columbus Blue Jackets

Mikko Koivu will make his Blue Jackets debut against the Florida Panthers at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-F, NHL.TV).

The forward had been on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list since the season started but was removed Saturday.

“It’s been about a week now for myself that I’ve been able to skate and get kind of in the pace a little bit more,” Koivu said. “First on my own, then with the coaching staff a little bit, and then the optional skate (Friday) and obviously today with the team skate.

“So kind of a step-by-step process the last week or so. I guess the next step now is just to get into the game and get a good feeling about the pacing and trying to get through this.”

Koivu, who signed a one-year contract with Columbus on Oct. 10 after 15 seasons with the Minnesota Wild, practiced Monday at center on a line with left wing Mikhail Grigorenko and right wing Kevin Stenlund.

Jack Roslovic, who was acquired in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets along with forward Patrik Laine for center Pierre-Luc Dubois on Saturday, practiced Monday, but coach John Tortorella said the forward will not play Tuesday.


Washington Capitals

Tom Wilson could play for the Capitals against the New York Islanders at Capital One Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBSCN, NBSSWA).

Wilson, who missed Washington’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday with a lower-body injury, said he likely will participate in the morning skate Tuesday after skating in an optional practice Monday.

“Probably the day-to-day label is still pretty accurate,” Wilson said. “I don’t know anything right now. I’m going to see how I feel tonight and tomorrow morning during skate. A lot of time before puck drop and we’ll see how the body responds.”

Wilson, who has scored six points (three goals, three assists) in five games this season, left in the third period of Washington’s 4-3 shootout win against Buffalo on Friday and did not practice Saturday. Making it through the full optional practice Monday was a sign of progress.

“I think it’s always positive when a player’s out there,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “In the same sense, it’s early in the season. We want to make sure that he is ready to go and doesn’t take step backwards. “[The morning skate] for me will determine a lot.” —Tom Gulitti


Pittsburgh Penguins

Evan Rodrigues will be out longer term for the Penguins because of a lower-body injury. 

The forward sustained the injury when he collided with New York Rangers center Filip Chytil at 9:11 of the second period in a 3-2 win Sunday. Rodrigues had been playing on the top line with center Sidney Crosby and left wing Jake Guentzel in Pittsburgh’s first six games this season. 

Bryan Rust was in Rodrigues’ spot during practice Monday and will likely play there against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN360, TVAS, NESN, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV). 

Rodrigues’ injury adds to a list that includes defensemen Marcus Pettersson, Mike Matheson and Juuso Riikola. Pettersson is week to week, and Matheson and Riikola are each longer term because of an upper-body injury. — Wes Crosby


Tampa Bay Lightning

Mitchell Stephens is out indefinitely for the Lightning because of a lower-body injury.

The forward was injured at 3:48 of the third period during a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets on Saturday after getting tangled with Columbus defenseman David Savard.

Defenseman Erik Cernak also sustained an upper-body injury at 14:52 of the first period on Saturday and is considered day to day. 

The Lightning next play the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Thursday.


Philadelphia Flyers

Shayne Gostisbehere will be a game-time decision for the Flyers against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSP, NHL.TV).

The defenseman practiced Monday for the first time since Jan. 8. Gostisbehere began the season on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list and was removed Friday. He had been skating on his own since Wednesday.

“He skated three times last week, last two times hard,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s got no remaining effects from COVID as far as his health, so it’s just a matter of him feeling his conditioning and his timing will permit him to play.”

Gostisbehere practiced on a defense pair with Ivan Provorov on Monday; they had been together for most of training camp before Gostisbehere got sick.

“I had a really good camp, and I was going to get a great opportunity,” Gostisbehere said. “Hopefully I could just leave off where I was and get back into the swing of things.”

Forward Nolan Patrick did not practice Monday because of a maintenance day but is expected to play Tuesday. Patrick and injured teammates, forward Sean Couturier (rib) and defenseman Philippe Myers (rib), skated with skills coach Angelo Ricci. — Adam Kimelman

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