Archive for the ‘Injury’ Category

Last night in a fight, the Penguins’ Arron Asham KO’d the Capitals’ Jay Beagle.  The fight started when Beagle was mixing it up with Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang, and Asham came to his teammates’ aid.  Asham caught Beagle on the jaw with two straight rights, and Beagle went down.  As he was lead to the penalty box, Asham signaled “he’s out” and a “go to sleep” motion, in which many fans considered taunting.

Video can be seen here.

After he realized Beagle was hurt, Asham gave him a stick tap from the penalty box.  Asham said that he was pumped up and tried to get the crowd as well as his team going.  He also added that he thought the “stuff afterward was uncalled for” and he takes full responsibility for it.

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Here are some tidbits from around the NHL

Kris Draper (PHOTO: Getty Images)

– Kris Draper announced his retirement from the NHL. He is a 4 time Stanley Cup winner (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008. All with Detroit), as well as a 2004 Frank J. Selke Trophy winner. He totaled 364 points in his 19 year NHL career that spanned 1157 games. Also has 2 world junior gold, 1 world cup gold, 1 world championship gold and silver to his name with Team Canada. Congrats to him on a great career, and all the best to him in retirement!

– Nikolai Khabibulin is heading to the slammer after deciding to not appeal his 2010 DUI conviction. The lesson, being on injured reserve for a sore back, not the time to get wasted. On the bright side, 15 days is plenty of time  for him to start a prison yoga gang.

– Penguins signed Right Winger Jason Williams. A very good, underrated signing. He seems to always pop up when you need a goal, just don’t count on him all the time. He’s like Alex Kovalev…. without the huge price tag, stickhandling ability, and attitude.   (more…)

Looking at some of the still available unrestricted free agents that could help a team this year.

Alex Kovalev (PHOTO: Getty Images)

FORWARD:

Brendan Morrison, Center (UPDATE:  Re-Signed with Calgary 7/15/11)

Cory Stillman, Left Wing: 39 points split between Florida and Carolina last year, would be a good addition to anyone looking for powerplay help (12 of 39 points came on the man advantage).

Sergei Samsonov, Left Wing: 40 points last year, still capable of producing offensively. But he’s only for a team that could put him on a line with a decent centerman.  If the team can provide that, he could be a nice addition.

John Madden, Center: If you need a depth center who’s willing to grind it out, he’s your man.  25 points with Minnesota last year despite a -9 +/- rating.

Vinny Prospal, Center: Despite a knee injury last year, still managed 29 points with The Rangers. Another option for those seeking powerplay help (10/29 pts came on the man advantage) and/or a veteran presence in the locker room who can contribute on and off the ice.

Alex Kovalev, Right Wing: Not quite what he used to be, but still worth a sign if  and only if the price is right. Managed 34 points between Ottawa and Pittsburgh last year.

Brent Sopel (PHOTO: Getty Images)

DEFENSE:

Steve Staios: A veteran who can still block a shot and contribute offensively every once in a while (10 pts in 39 games w/ Calgary last year), far from a top pairing guy, but could prove valuable depth wise.

Craig Rivet: Despite a knee injury and sitting out most of last year, well worth a pickup for the right price as a depth defenseman and nothing more.  A decent shot blocker.

Ruslan Salei: Very limited offensive abilities, but another good depth move for a final pairing.  3rd on the team in shot blocks last year with Detroit.

Brent Sopel: This defensive defenseman would be a good addition to any team.

Bryan Mccabe: He’s still got some gas left in the tank, 28 points split between Florida and New York last year. Would be a decent addition to a good powerplay, but he isn’t too shabby at even strength either.

Ray Emery (PHOTO: CBC)

GOALTENDER:

Ray Emery: Coming back from a potentially career ending medical condition, Emery shined in Anaheim going 7-2-0 with a .926 save percentage and a 2.28 goals against average. Could be a valuable backup or 1B goalie.

Marty Turco: While last season didn’t go as well as he would have liked, he would still be a decent backup on any team, he’s  past being a #1 goalie.

Pascal Leclaire: A risky sign ( as he’s been known to injure himself picking up a pen to sign a contract) but Pascal still has the ability to be a goaltender in the NHL, just not sure if it is as a #1.

We all know who the best players have been the best in the NHL in the 2010-11 season, but who have been some of the worst?  Years ago, I created some “awards” in my old sim league (DCHL), as a semi roast to certain players, GMs and teams.  I took some of these awards,  and created some brand new ones.

First, we start with the Trigger Happy Award, which goes to the GM who has pulled off the most trades in the last year (for the purpose of a starting point, I used 2010’s regular season end to this regular season’s end).  With 18 counted trades, including acquiring (and trading) Dennis Wideman, Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers is our 2011 winner.  The other GM award, the aptly named You Suck Award goes to Ottawa’s Bryan Murray.  Last summer, Murray signed Sergei Gonchar for 3 years and $16 million, and the 37 year old played like he was 57.  The team plummeted to last place and Murray started the firesale, trying to get what he could for many players.  Some of his deals were to rectify mistakes he had made in the summer, and in previous seasons.  All this, while Daniel Alfredsson remained on the team and his value continued to drop.

Moving on to some statistical awards, the winner of the Broad Street Bully Award goes to Islander Zenon Kenopka, who blew away the field in the penalty minute department, finishing with 307.  Kenopka is the first player to break the 300 PIM barrier since Dan Carcillo in 2007-08.   The Greg Millen Trophy for allowing the most goals in the regular season goes to the Colorado Avalanche.  The team allowed a whopping 287 goals, the most since the 06-07 Flyers.  On the topic of goalies, our Red Light Award for worst goalie of the year (minimum of 20 games) is Rick DiPietro.  DiPietro “lead” the league with a 3.44 GAA, had the second worst save percentage at 88.6% and finished with a record of 8-14-4.

The Bettman Trophy for Villain of the Year was no surprise.  Suspended for 21 games this season within two separate incidents, including missing the entire first round of the playoffs, Matt Cooke easily wins the award.

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After last night’s game four, I’m convinced that anyone outside of Boston and Vancouver can’t stand both teams.

In game three, Aaron Rome knocked out Nathan Horton. Rome was ejected and suspended and you thought it would just end there. That was far from the truth. With the Bruins leading, the game degenerated into scrumfest. Daniel Sedin, Andrew Ference (twice), Shawn Thornton, Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Milan Lucic, Kevin Bieska and Dennis Seidenberg were all given ten minute major misconducts in the third period. Kesler and Seidenberg even dropped the gloves.

Throughout the series the two teams have traded alleged bites, taunts, slashes, elbows, sucker punches, anything you can think of. Point is both teams have made this a dirty, dirty series. Some have defended it, calling it “Old Time Hockey.” No, no, incorrect. Old timers would be embarrassed that this is the Stanley Cup Final.  Think Bobby Orr would approve of finger taunting? No way.

Last night the bad blood kept going late in the third period.

It all started (restarted?) when Brad Marchand and Christian Ehrhoff were racing for a puck in the Canucks’ zone. Marchand tried to go around Ehrhoff and with his free hand, semi-clotheslined the defenseman.  Daniel Sedin skated in and Marchand ducked under him and dumped him.  The only positive thing Keith Ballard did all night was grab Marchand.  (Sidenote: Wow, was Ballard brutal last night.)  That put the Nucks on the powerplay.  Of course, it didn’t last long, as Alex Burrows slashed Tim Thomas’ stick out of his hands, resulting in a Thomas chop across Burrows’ calves.  Burrows had enough and round two began.  Kesler and Zdeno Chara picked up misconducts, and their nights were done.

Rooting for a team in this series is almost like picking the lesser of two evils.  One can root for a team because they hate one team more, but feel dirty for doing so.

Last year’s Cup Finalists, the Blackhawks and Flyers, are pretty well unliked throughout the league, and they didn’t even garner this much negative attention.

My plea for both teams for the remaining games is play for the Stanley Cup.  The trophy that’s awarded to the best team in hockey.  Not the team who can dive or scrum best.  Play hockey, guys.

As I am sure you have already seen and heard ad nauseum by now, five minutes into last night’s Game 3 Vancouver’s Aaron Rome laid a thunderous hit on Boston’s Nathan Horton at the Canuck blueline that required the use of a stretcher. As expected, social networking sites blew up with a litany of comments ranging from concern for Horton’s well-being to how long Rome should be suspended for.

Of all the opinions that I seen and heard last night, the one that bothered me the most was Pierre McGuire (surprise, surprise) going off the deep end about how ‘this is textbook Rule 48’ and ‘this is exactly the kind of hit the league wants to get rid of’. It honestly amazes me, no matter who it is, at the differing understanding of the words ‘lateral’ and ‘blindside’. Although Rule 48 states “Illegal Check to the Head”, remember 48.1 details the lateral and blindside nature where the head is the principle target.

Was the head hit with Rome’s shoulder? Absolutely. Was the head targeted? Highly arguable that it was the case. Lateral or blindside? Absolutely not. It is a little bit challenging to hit someone lateral or blindside when your in front of him. Every bad hit isn’t Rule 48, not every head hit is Rule 48.

However this isn’t the real reason for this entry. It’s about how many people get up in arms when there is a hit that involves an injury to a player of any varying degree, the response always turns to needing to get ‘these hits’ out of the game.  But, just exactly how do you get some of these hits out of the game? This wasn’t a careless hit from behind where a hit would obviously be in the numbers or the detailed crackdown of the lateral/blindside variety.

This hit was simply a player stepping up on another after a pass and that player was unsuspecting. Which was no fault of his own, I dont feel that he admired his pass at all. It was a head hit that was late and unnecessarily and was punished appropriately on the ice as well as in its supplemental discipline.

Injuries that occur from open ice hits and even some of those along the boards are going to happen from time to time. And usually, it occurs from a play you see go as planned 95% of the time. In last night’s instance, Rome can step up and make that hit and not be late and everything is fine. And i am sure 9 times out of 10 that play goes without what we seen last night. Last night as Rome said during his hearing this morning ‘was a hockey hit…gone bad’.

Now the supplemental discipline aspect is taken care of. Now we can focus on the important things, the remainder of the Finals and Horton’s well being.

Alex Burrows might have been the star of game 2, with his two goals and an assist, including the overtime winner, but for Canucks center Manny Malhotra just playing in the game is a victory.

Malhotra was enjoying a fine 2010-11 season; playing for the league’s best team, scored his 100th career goal, and posted his third straight 30-point season.  But on March 16, his world was flipped upside down.  In a game against the Colorado Avalanche, Malhotra took a puck to the eye.  He underwent surgery the next day, and was ruled out of the rest of the regular season and playoffs.  A second surgery, a week later, was performed to save his eye and vision, according to his brother-in-law, NBA star Steve Nash.  At the time, it was speculated that he might have to retire because of the injury.  It looked like a giant blow to the Canucks’ penalty kill, which was ranked first in the league after being 18th the year before signing Malhotra.

However, as the Canucks kept advancing in the playoffs, the chances Malhotra would rejoin the team increased.  In May, he started practicing, and by the end of the month, he was cleared to play in the Stanley Cup Final.  He sat out game one, but Alain Vigneault inserted him into the lineup for tonight’s game two.

The crowd chanted “Manny, Manny” pregame and gave him a standing ovation when he stepped onto the ice for his first shift, about two minutes into the game.  After the game, he admitted the ovation made him the most nervous he has ever been in his career. He played with a full face shield, despite not using one in the regular season prior to the injury.

In the regular season, Malhotra was second in the league, winning 61.7% of his faceoffs.  The team missed him in game one, where they only won 44% of draws.  Tonight, Malhotra went 6-for-7, and the Canucks as a team improved to 47 %.  He only played 7:26, mainly on the fourth line with Victor Oreskovich and Jeff Tambellini, but contributed on the penalty kill as the Canucks held the Bruins to 1 for 7 on the man advantage.

Malhotra has drawn comparisons to Ian Laperriere, who last year returned for the Stanley Cup Final after taking a puck to the face in the first round, resulting in a concussion.   Fortunately for Malhotra, he isn’t suffering from a brain injury.

With two more Canucks wins, Malhotra will get his name etched on the Stanley Cup, something well worth everything he’s been through this year.