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NHL Buzz: Hoffman debuts with Canadiens against Sharks – NHL.com

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Montreal Canadiens

Mike Hoffman made his Canadiens debut against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN2, NBCSCA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The forward, who agreed to a three-year contract July 28, was injured during the offseason prior to arriving in Montreal and did not participate in training camp.

Hoffman skated on the third line with Adam Brooks and Brendan Gallagher.

“He’s a team guy and I think he proved it too,” coach Dominique Ducharme said Monday. “Like if you go back in Ottawa, they went to the conference final (2017) and he was playing with [Jean-Gabriel] Pageau and quite often against the best line on the other side. So he’s able to play. He’s a hockey player, he can play 5-on-5, and for sure he’s going to help us on the power play.”

Vancouver Canucks

Brock Boeser made his season debut against the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET; SN360, MSG-B, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The forward was activated off injured reserve. He has not played this season because of an undisclosed injury after leading Vancouver in goals (23) and points (49) in 56 games last season.

Boeser, who said the injury was lingering during training camp, practiced on a line with Elias Pettersson and Alex Chiasson.

“Just taking everything a day at a time,” Boeser said Monday. “First step today was to get through practice and I felt like I had a pretty good practice today so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Defenseman Travis Hamonic was placed on a temporary leave of absence Monday because of a personal matter.

“We have to worry about the guys that are here and coach the guys that are here,” Green said. “But also there’s the human side of it, and we miss ‘Hammer.’ We want him to be back playing, but we also want to make sure he’s OK.” — Kevin Woodley

Seattle Kraken

Yanni Gourde made his Kraken debut against the New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, ROOT-NW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The forward, who was selected from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, was expected to be out for the first two months of the season after having offseason shoulder surgery but missed the first week. He scored 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 games last season and helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup for the second straight season.

“Yanni has worked extremely hard to get in this position,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. “He’s ready to go. There’s no question he will help our lineup.”

As for why it’s time to join the lineup, Gourde said, “Just how I feel, the timing of the game, not playing a back-to-back and a few days in between this game and the next game (at home against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday). All of that was in consideration and how I felt and how the team felt about putting me out there. That’s really how it went.”

Gourde credited his ability to return earlier than expected to “great treatments. I don’t know. I put in the work and I feel good.”

Coach Dave Hakstol said Gourde has full availability.

“Now, it’s Game 1 so we will be cognizant of that in terms of the situations and the minutes,” Hakstol said. “With how hard he has worked and knowing the energy he has, we’ll pay attention to that, but I’m confident he’ll be ready to go.”

Goalie Chris Driedger was placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury sustained during his Kraken debut Monday, when he made six saves on seven shots in 31:11 in relief of Philipp Grubauer in a 6-1 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers.

Goalie Joey Daccord will start Tuesday after being recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League. Forward Kole Lind was assigned to Charlotte.

Winnipeg Jets

Blake Wheeler is not playing for the Jets at the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET; BSN, BSWI, TSN3, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) because of NHL COVID-19 protocol.

“Obviously, he’s a big loss, the captain of our team, the guy we all look to, the guy,” forward Mark Scheifele said. “He’s always tough, but guys got to step up in that situation. We’ve got the guys to do it. We’ll all rally together and step up tonight, even though it’s going to be a tough test here against Minnesota, you just got to be ready to put our best foot forward tonight.”

Wheeler, who was placed in protocol Monday, has one assist in two games this season. The forward tied for third on the team in scoring last season with 46 points (15 goals, 31 assists) in 50 games. — Jessi Pierce

Pittsburgh Penguins

Evgeni Malkin skated for the first time this season Monday.

The center wore a tracksuit and was on the ice about an hour before the Penguins practiced. He is expected to be out at least the first two months of the season after having knee surgery June 4. 

“Anytime a player goes back on the ice, I think it’s significant,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “Obviously he was in a tracksuit earlier today. It was his first step. He’s been working extremely hard off the ice, going through the rehab process. But certainly that’s a significant step for him.”

Pittsburgh was without first-line center Sidney Crosby and right wing Bryan Rust against the Dallas Stars at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, BSSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Crosby missed his fourth straight game after having wrist surgery Sept. 8. He did not practice Monday. 

Rust is week to week with a lower-body injury sustained in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. He did not play in a 5-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. 

Jeff Carter is currently in Crosby’s spot on the first line, with Danton Heinen replacing Rust at right wing. Jake Guentzel remains first-line left wing. 

Defenseman Mike Matheson returned to practice Monday and played Tuesday after missing the first three games with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Mark Friedman sustained a lower-body injury in practice that Sullivan said is not expected to be significant but he will not play Tuesday. — Wes Crosby

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