By Brian Rauf, Chat Sports
The Stanley Cup playoffs are fast approaching with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, and the postseason field is starting to take shape. The Nashville Predators can clinch the first Western Conference wild-card spot if the Colorado Avalanche lose to the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Check out the latest NHL news and rumors below.
• Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is “making good progress” and is expected to return to the ice this weekend, reports CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers. The team is “hopeful” he will be back in time for the playoffs, reports the Chicago Sun-Times’s Mark Lazerus.
• Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos ripped his team following its 3–0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, saying it had “too many passengers” and its effort was “unacceptable,” reports The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson.
• Canadiens goalie Carey Price returned to practice on Thursday and the team hopes he’ll return before the end of the season, reports Sportsnet. He hasn’t played since Nov. 25 due to a knee injury.
• New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury sustained in Thursday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team announced.
• Avalanche forward Matt Duchene expects to play Friday against the Capitals after missing the last six games with a knee injury, reports The Denver Post’s Terry Frei.
• Capitals forward Jason Chimera was fined $5,000 for jabbing the butt end of his stick into Philadelphia Flyers rookie Shayne Gostisbehere’s midsection, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced.
• Mexico City is trying to bring NHL exhibition games to the city, reports Mexican news agency Notimex.