Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2021-22 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.
St. Louis Blues
Brayden Schenn returned to play for the Blues at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (TNT, NHL LIVE).
Schenn had not played since Dec. 12 and missed five games with an upper-body injury, including a 6-4 win against the Minnesota Wild in the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic on Saturday.
“It’s good to see Brayden Schenn back out there ready to go,” Blues coach Craig Berube said Tuesday. “… It was a tough decision [to keep him out of the Winter Classic]. I think I probably pushed him out of playing more than he did. I didn’t want to take a chance. In the elements, with the cold and everything, I thought it was taking a chance.”
Schenn scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 19 games this season. He previously missed nine games with an unrelated upper-body injury.
“We all know how is he on the ice,” forward Robert Thomas. “He’s highly skilled, he plays with an edge, he’s a team-first guy. He brings a lot of leadership in the room, on the ice, he leads by example, he sticks up for his teammates. He does all those kinds of things that as a player you want out of a teammate. It’s awesome to have him back.”
The Blues scratched defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who had been in NHL COVID-19 protocol since Dec. 26. — Lou Korac
Kasperi Kapanen and Teddy Blueger played against the Blues after being removed from NHL COVID-19 protocol.
The forwards, goalie Tristan Jarry and forward Jeff Carter took part in practice Wednesday. Jarry backed up Casey DeSmith and Carter did not play.
Jarry and Kapanen returned to practice Tuesday after missing an 8-5 win against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
Forward Drew O’Connor is the only Penguins player in COVID-19 protocol. — Wes Crosby
New Jersey Devils
Nico Hischier could return against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
The center, who did not play in a 5-3 loss at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday because of a lower-body injury, skated on his own prior to an optional practice Wednesday.
“He’s going to participate in tomorrow’s morning skate,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “And likelihood is if things go well, he should play for us.”
Hischier has scored 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 28 games this season. He was injured in a 4-3 overtime win at the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Ruff will return to coach Thursday after missing three games in COVID-19 protocol.
“It was frustrating to watch but I stayed in pretty close contact with the games, stayed on Zoom, and thought the team did a great job,” Ruff said.
New Jersey won two of three games under assistant Alain Nasreddine.
Forward Jimmy Vesey was removed from COVID-19 protocol Wednesday after missing four games and is expected to play. — Mike G. Morreale
Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and Anders Bjork were placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Tuesday.
Tuch has a goal and an assist, and Krebs has an assist, each in three games with the Sabres. Bjork has scored five points (four goals, one assist) in 29 games.
“We’re all going through it for the first time to this level,” Sabres coach Don Granato said Tuesday. “This is a new level. It wasn’t like this last year. We didn’t have this many days where you’re waiting and trying to practice plan and losing guys an hour before, 45 minutes before, a half hour before, and you have to readjust immediately what you’re doing.”
The forwards joined forward Kyle Okposo and defensemen Casey Fitzgerald and Jacob Bryson in protocol.
“You [handle it] day by day,” Granato said. “And I have full confidence that whatever’s dealt with us, we’re going to make the best circumstance out of it. I feel that our staff and our players and the attitude and the outlook is in a good place.”
Defenseman Henri Jokiharju was held out of practice as a precaution “for further [COVID-19] testing to make certain,” Granato said.
Defenseman Colin Miller, who has missed three games with an undisclosed injury, practiced for the first time since Dec. 28.
The Sabres are scheduled to host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. — Heather Engel