NHL Notes: Icing crash leaves Canes' Pitkanen sidelined

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NHL Notes: Icing crash leaves Canes' Pitkanen sidelined

As the trade deadline approaches, expect the Flyers to look to build beyond just the remainder or this season (see story).

Here's a look at headlines from around the league:

Nasty crash sidelines Pitkanen
Former Flyer and current Carolina Hurricane Joni Pitkanen crashed violently into the boards on an icing play and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher in a 5-3 loss to the Capitals on Tuesday night.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, per ProHockeyTalk, Pitkanen is expected to be sidelined for at least three months. It will effectively end his season.

The incident will likely stir the debate on hybrid icing, or no-touch icing, which is currently going on around the league.

Flyers defenseman Kurtis Foster, who was injured on an icing play as a member of the Wild in 2008, texted this to Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune after the crash: "Now that a star like Pitkanen hurt on icing, when is it enough?? No need for it anymore!!!!!!!!"

Pitkanen, 29, has one goal and eight assists for Carolina in 22 games.

Iginla trade 'shady'?
Jarome Iginla's move to the Penguins instead of the Bruins caused a stir last week, as it was expected the long-time Calgary Flame would be headed to Boston after multiple reports confirming the move.

NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury thinks there's something we don't know about the deal, per ProHockeyTalk.

“It was shady,” Milbury said prior to Tuesday’s Penguins-Sabres game on NBC Sports Network. “There were some things I didn’t like at all about that.

“I think it’s too bad we didn’t find out a lot more about it. [Bruins GM] Peter Chiarelli handled it, I thought, pretty well.”

Iginla netted his first goal as a member of the club on Tuesday in a 4-1 Penguins loss to the Sabres.

Crosby out of hospital
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is out of the hospital after breaking his jaw Saturday.

The Penguins confirmed on their Twitter account Tuesday that Crosby had been released a day earlier. He will be out of the lineup indefinitely after undergoing surgery.

Crosby was hurt in the first period of the Penguins' 2-0 win over the New York Islanders when he was struck in the mouth by a puck from a deflected shot.

The Eastern Conference-leading Penguins, with 15 straight wins, play their first game without Crosby on Tuesday night at home against Buffalo.

--The Associated Press

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier know Flyers by now, ready for anything at NHL draft

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier know Flyers by now, ready for anything at NHL draft

CHICAGO — Nico Hischier was nervous, swaying a bit as he spoke to the media, admitting he had some jitters as this NHL draft approaches on Friday.

About 60 feet away, Nolan Patrick leaned on a stick and said not only was he not nervous, he also really couldn't care less whether he's picked first overall Friday by New Jersey or second by the Flyers because his goal is just to get into the NHL.

"Doesn't matter to me," Patrick said Thursday. "A lot of guys will tell you what you want to hear. That they don't care, but deep down, they do.

"I don't care. It's not going to change my chances in the NHL if I go No. 1 or 4. I'm gonna take it. Where I go is not gonna help me any more. At the end of the day, I've got to work hard."

That said, Hischier is poised to become the highest-drafted Swiss player ever and if he went first overall …

"I would make history and that would make me proud," Hischier beamed. "Really happy, for sure."

Both players participated in Thursday's ball-hockey clinic in a parking lot just across the street from United Center where one of them will go to the Devils and one to the Flyers on Friday night.

"Yeah, I little bit nervous," Hischier admitted. "It's not up to me. I just have to enjoy it."

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall took both players out to dinner separately in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month at the NHL Scouting Combine to try and get a peek behind their personalities (see story).

"We talked about Philadelphia, talked about the club, the goals, what's important for them," Hischier said. "It was good dinner and went well."

Patrick, who is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, said he was impressed with the steakhouse and said what he liked best about the meal was getting into arguments with fellow Manitoban, Hextall, who is from Brandon.

"He's a really nice guy," Patrick said. "It was a fancy steakhouse. I'll take those dinners any day. He knows what he is doing in Philly. If I were lucky enough to go there, I'd be happy.

"I know all about him. He's a Brandon Wheat King. Us Manitobans always going at each other. We got into a few arguments about some of his guys. Manitoba is the best place in the world."

Right now, for a couple hundred hockey players, Chicago is the best place in the world because this is the NHL draft and what happens Friday and Saturday will impact their lives forever.

Which is why Hischier brought his older brother, Luca, here. He plays for Bern in Switzerland where Hischier also was before transferring to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to play for Halifax this past season.

"My idol is my brother," Nico said. "He is playing pro in Bern. We have a good relationship. I'm happy he is here because I can ask him everything, on and off the ice."

Both players have some Flyers familiarity.

Hischier skated with Mark Streit last summer but hasn't talked to him since.

"Last summer, I skated with Streit, [Roman] Josi, [Shea] Weber and those guys," Hischier said. "It was fun."

Patrick played with Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov two years ago in Brandon.

"Talked to Provy two weeks ago," Patrick said. "I was talking to Brayden Schenn the last couple days. Provy works out 10 hours a day."

A few weeks from now, one of these guys will be at the Flyers' developmental camp working out in Skate Zone.

"It's not up to me," Hischier said. "I don't focus on expectations, I don't focus on teams. Everything can happen.

"I'm going to be open for everything and happy, for sure. If it's No. 2 or 3, I'm gonna be happy anyway."

Flyers begin 2017-18 season out West, face Vegas for 1st time in February

Flyers begin 2017-18 season out West, face Vegas for 1st time in February

For the second straight year, the Flyers are beginning the season out West.

The NHL on Thursday released its 2017-18 schedule and as reported Wednesday, the Flyers open the season in San Jose on Oct. 4 as part of a four-game road trip that includes games in Los Angeles, Anaheim and concludes in Nashville on Oct. 10.

They'll return home on Oct. 14 for their home opener against the Washington Capitals that kickstarts a five-game homestand (see story). The Flyers will host the Islanders on Black Friday.

Flyers fans will have to wait a while for their first taste of the Vegas Golden Knights. The Flyers will face the Golden Knights for the first time on Feb. 11 in Vegas.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and the Golden Knights come to Philadelphia on March 12.

The Flyers will end the season at home against the New York Rangers.

You can see the Flyers' full schedule here (and buy tickets here).