By Brian Rauf, Chat Sports
We’re almost at the mid-point of the NHL season as we approach the All-Star break, and the Stanley Cup contenders have started to separate themselves from the pack. The Washington Capitals are atop the Eastern Conference, while the Chicago Blackhawks lead the West.
Check out the latest NHL news and rumors below.
• Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid has been cleared for contact and will return after the All-Star break, reports NHL.com. McDavid has been out since fracturing his clavicle on Nov. 3.
• The Tampa Bay Lightning have offered Steven Stamkos an eight-year, $68 million extension, reports the Tampa Bay Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson.
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• Los Angeles Kings forward Milan Lucic has been suspended one game by the NHL for his “sucker punch” on Kevin Connuaton of the Arizona Coyotes, reports Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien.
• Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella broke two ribs after falling during practice on Friday, reports the Associated Press.
• Several Madison Square Garden employees were fired for allegedly scalping New York Knicks and New York Rangers tickets, reports ESPN's Ian Begley.
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• Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw revealed that he swallowed several teeth that were knocked out against the Florida Panthers on Friday, reports NHL.com’s Brian Hedger. Shaw returned to the game shortly thereafter and hasn’t missed any time since.
• Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan’s goal against the Rangers on Sunday earned a family a new puppy, reports Pat Leonard of the Daily News.