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

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.

Forwards Gabriel Landeskog (suspension) and Valeri Nichushkin (upper-body injury), and defenseman Jack Johnson (COVID-19 protocol-related absence) also will not play Saturday.

“It’s not ideal, but it is what it is,” coach Jared Bednar said. “We’re without a lot of top six forwards, we’re without some ‘D’ (Devon Toews), a goalie (Pavel Francouz). The list is long, but it’s easier to go through the guys we have playing than the guys that we don’t. … We’re going to have to defend real hard because a lot of goals are out of our lineup.”

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


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.