Tag:Montreal Canadiens
Posted on: March 18, 2011 4:30 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Morning Skate: String of suspensions may continue

Apparently, the fact the NHL doled out suspensions on consecutive days didn't stop the questionable hits on Thursday.

Nashville Predators forward Patric Hornqvist delivered an elbow (or at least a shoulder) to Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin late in the first period, a collision that resulted in a gash near Seguin's ear that required stitches. North of the border, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier was tossed after a two-hand chop delivered to Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban

So much for deterrent value. 

San Jose Sharks forward Dany Heatley was suspended Wednesday and Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand received a ban on Thursday, each receiving two games for blindside hits to the head. 

And Hornqvist, who received an elbowing major and a game misconduct, appears to be the most likely between two players ejected Thursday to be on tap for another ban. (The collision takes palce about 45 seconds into this replay .)

"I came into the room, and (the trainer) said 'nice ear lobe, it looks its falling off' and I got stitches," Seguin told CSNNE's Joe Haggerty after the Bruinhs fell, 4-3, in overtime. 

Haggery reports that the Preds tried to explain away the hit.
Preds coach Barry Trotz attempted to claim that his player “pulled his elbow in” at the last minute on the hit, but that leaves no explanation for how the 19-year-old’s ear was gruesomely ripped open and sewn together after the game. Perhaps it was the leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day, eh Barry?

While it wasn’t a headshot, Lecavalier didn’t exactly deliver a love tap to Subban. Here's the video of the incident .  

Line Changes
Lecavalier received a slashing major and a game misconduct after two-hand hack to Subban. Subban, who received slashing minor on the play, went to the locker room before he returned to the game.

Damian Cristodero of The St. Petersburg Times reports on what Lecavalier said preceded the slash and his reaction to the ejection:

"He slew-footed me a couple of times in front of the net," Lecavalier said of Subban. "And when I went around the net, he slashed me twice on the wrist, and that's when I turned around and slashed him back."

Subban went down holding his left arm. But the Lightning said its replays showed Subban was slashed on the thigh.

"I don't know about getting kicked out of the game," Lecavalier said. "Obviously, he came back, and he was well on the next shift." Subban was unavailable to reporters after the game.


PACIORETTY PROGRESSING: Max Pacioretty, the Canadiens forward carted off after his head collided with a stanchion last week, could be back as soon as the playoffs, Habs coach Jacques Martin told reporters on Thursday. 

“Good news today regarding Max Pacioretty,” Martin told The Montreal Gazette . “He’ll be able to return to training with contact within four to six weeks of his injury.”

That would mean he’d be able return to full practices as quickly as April 5, five days before the end of the regular season. Martin added that Pacioretty, who suffered a broken bone in his neck and a severe concussion, would “be on complete rest” until Saturday and would follow the league’s new concussion protocol that dictates a player’s route back to game action after a concussion. 

That’s certainly not bad for those who watched as he lay on the ice and wondered if the 22-year-old would be able to walk -- let alone play hockey --  again.  

THURSDAY’s RESULTS

Atlanta 4, Philadelphia 3 (SO)  
Detroit 2, Columbus 0  
Florida 4, Toronto 0 
Ottawa 3, New Jersey 1 
Montreal 3, Tampa Bay 2 (SO) 
Nashville 4, Boston 3 (OT)  
Dallas 5, Chicago 0  
Phoenix 3, Edmonton 1 
Calgary 5, Colorado 2
San Jose 3, Minnesota 2  
St. Louis 4, Los Angeles 0  
Posted on: March 14, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 6:01 pm
 

Bettman introduces measures to curb concussions



NHL commissioner Gary Bettman introduced a five-step plan to reduce concussions on the first day of the league’s general managers meetings on Monday. 

"There's no one single thing that is causing concussions," Bettman said. "In fact, the trend as to why concussions happen is different than a lot of people are suggesting or speculating."

Here’s the proposal Bettman laid out in Boca Raton, Fla., to stem the league's vexing concussion problem: 
  • Brendan Shanahan, the former NHL player who now serves as NHL vice-president of hockey and business development, will work with manufacturers to improve equipment. One thought, Bettman said, is to make player equipment smaller.
  • The NHL, the first major North American sports with a concussion protocol, will revise its guidelines. If a player is thought to have a concussion, he must be removed from the bench and put in a quiet area where he’ll be assessed by a doctor, not just an athletic trainer. He will then be required to undergo the most recent Sport Concussion Assessment Tool. Here's a look at the SCAT2 protocol.
  • Coaches and the team will be penalized for players deemed to repeat offenders to rules that prohibit hits to the head. Call it the Trevor Gillies Rule. This will have to be approved by the Board of Governors, so it won't be in place until next season.
  • Safety engineers will conduct an inspection of each of the league’s 30 rinks to make sure they conform to new safety standards. This comes days after some experts pointed to the lack of sufficient padding on the divider Montreal’s Max Pacioretty collided with after a check form Boston’s Zdeno Chara.  The league will look at banning seamless glass currently in use at six rinks. 
  • The league will assemble a “blue ribbon panel” to continue studying concussions. The panel will include former NHL defenseman Rob Blake, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman and Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk and will work with the competition committee to suggest new rules to protect players.


"We welcome these steps and look forward to discussing these and other issues with the NHL to provide a safer working environment for the players," National Hockey League Players’ AssociationExecutive Director Don Fehr said in a statement.

The general managers were shown a video breakdown of almost every concussion over the last two seasons along with statistical data, which revealed accidental concussions have nearly doubled from a season ago.

Bettman said 70 percent of concussions this season had accidental causes, like legal hits, teammates running into one another or players taking a puck off the head. Illegal hits accounted for 17 percent -- down nine percent from 2009-10 -- and fighting resulted in eight percent of concussions. The cause of the reaming concussions could not be determined. 

"This notion that the players have no respect for each other and they're going around hitting each other on the head on a regular basis and that's what's causing all the concussions just isn't accurate," Bettman said.

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images

Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:25 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 8:50 am
 

Morning Skate: Canucks, Sharks don't disappoint




An overtime with only four skaters per side, the shootout and the date were the only elements that ruined the illusion Thursday's Vancouver Canucks-San Jose Sharks tilt wasn't a playoff game. 

The Sharks, who trailed by two goals early, tied the game on three occasions -- the last with 20.3 seconds left as Ryane Clowe's one-timer beat Cory Schneider as his counterpart, Antti Niemi, sat in favor of the extra attacker. (It was actually 6-on-4 since the Sharks were on the power play.) The Canucks won the game, 5-4, as Schneider was perfect in the shootout and Vancouver's Alex Burrows scored the only goal. 

For two teams who could meet in the postseason for the first time, it didn't get much better for the second week of March. 

“It really was (a playoff vibe),” Sharks captain Joe Thornton told reporters after the game. “These are two really good teams. We're on our end still fighting for our playoff lives, so we need to get as many points as we can. The atmosphere was great and it was an exciting game to be a part of.”

The Pacific Division-leading Sharks pulled within a point of Detroit Red Wings, who sit second in the Western Conference. Still, the Sharks are also seven points away from falling to ninth place and out of playoff picture. 

Vancouver, meanwhile, has won four in a row and remains seven points ahead of Philadelphia in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. 

Schneider again showed he's not a bad second option as starter Robert Luongo rested. He made 44 saves, probably none better than when Clowe directed a crossing pass that Schneider somehow got his right pad on early in OT. It was one of his nine saves in the extra frame as the Canucks, who have the second-best best penalty kill in the NHL, snuffed out a Ryan Kesler high-sticking penalty. 

"Tonight you could say they were the better team on the ice," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told The Associated Press. "But at the end of the night, our goaltender kept us in the game and we found a way to win."

Line Changes
  • Injured Max Pacioretty joins Twitter
  • Eye on Hockey: Habs owner critical on NHL
  • Eye on Hockey: Bettman defends Chara decision
  • Eye on Hockey:Kubina suspended 3 games
  • Blues' Halak beats former club


  • THORNTON, SEDIN WEIGH IN: Thornton may have a little ax to grind when it comes to the team he traded him. Henrik Sedin, the usually soft-spoken Vancouver Canucks captain, doesn't wade into controversies often. 

    But before Thursday game, each came to the same conclusion: The NHL got it wrong by not suspending Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara for his check that led to the scary injuries to Montreal's Max Pacioretty. Here are Thornton's comments via The Vancouver Sun.

    “It's just something with Boston; it seems like they have a horse shoe,” Thornton said. “There's just something about Boston and the disciplinary (decisions) are on their side. I'm not sure why that is or anything. I'm not assuming that Colin's kid being on the team, that's why.”



    That was Thornton's not-so-subtle jab at league disciplinarian Colin Campbell, whose son, Gregory, plays for the Bruins. It was his second in command, Mike Murphy, who made the call not to fine or suspend Chara as Campbell recused himself. 

    Thornton's comments weren't exactly a hit in Boston. 

    “Win a big game when it counts,” Boston TV analyst Mike Milbury retorted. 

    Sedin, however, backed up Thornton’s sentiments and said the fact that Chara isn't considered a dirty play should not have entered into Murphy's decision like it did. 

    “Exactly,” Sedin said. “What are you doing to do the next time Trevor Gillies comes down and runs a guy into the thing? You can't give him anything. And you tell the guys (Chara) has no history, so the next time he does it he still has no history because he didn't get suspended. I don't see the reasoning behind it. Give him at least something to show that's not acceptable.”


    THURSDAY'S RESULTS
    Buffalo 4, Boston 3 (OT)
    Philadelphia 3, Toronto 2 
    Ottawa  2, Florida 1 
    Nashville 4, Minnesota 0 
    St. Louis 4, Montreal 1
    Phoenix 3, Calgary 0 
    Vancouver 5, San Jose 4 (SO)
    CBSSports.com playoff tracker

    Photo: Getty Images

    Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:24 am
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    Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:32 am
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    Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:33 pm
    Edited on: March 10, 2011 4:38 pm
     

    Habs owner: 'Faith' in NHL shaken over Chara flap



    Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson wrote in an open letter released Thursday that he shared fans' “frustration, disappointment and shock” with the NHL’s decision not to suspend Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara for a hit that led to serious injuries to Habs forward Max Pacioretty.

    “The news of the NHL decision yesterday was a hard blow for both the players and fans of the Montreal Canadiens,” Molson wrote. “It was one which shook the faith that we, as a community, have in this sport that we hold in such high regard.

    “The Montreal Canadiens organization does not agree with the decision taken yesterday by the National Hockey League. We can assure you that we have made our position clear to Commissioner Gary Bettman, and that he has agreed to make this issue a priority at the next General Manager’s meeting, which will be held in Florida on March 14-16.  Pierre Gauthier, our General Manager, will be present at this meeting and has already expressed his wish to carry out, clearly, our message to his 29 counterparts and to the League.”

    Molson (above with former Habs player Alexei Kovalev) did not say whether the organization was in favor of a police investigation launched into the incident. 

    The full letter can be found here
    Posted on: March 10, 2011 2:32 pm
    Edited on: March 10, 2011 4:08 pm
     

    Bettman: NHL 'comfortable' with Chara decision



    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday he backs the league's decision not to suspend Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara, even as many fans and sponsors were angered no punishment was meted out for the check that left Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty injured. 

    “Our hockey operations people are extraordinarily comfortable with the decision that has been made,” Bettman said in a briefing designed to promote the game of hockey on Capitol Hill. “I think it was a horrific injury. We are sorry it happened in our fast-paced, physical game. But I don't think whether or not supplemental discipline is imposed would change what happened. In fact, people in the game I've heard from almost to a person . . . believe it was handled appropriately by hockey operations.”

    Obviously, Bettman hasn't spoken to  Pacioretty, who suffered a fractured vertraba in his neck and a severe concussion after a check from Chrara Tuesday night sent him headfirst into a divider between the benches. (Here's a link to the video.)  He told TSN's Bob McKenzie that he thought Chara deserved at least a couple games for the check. 

    Just because the league failed to act, Chara may not be totally off the hook. 

    Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions said was recommending an investigation of the incident, according to French-language news outlet  Rue Frontenac. The investigation will begin immediately, Montreal police Constable Olivier Lapointe, told  The Montreal Gazette.

    The Canadian Press reports Quebec has pursued three criminal cases in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players since 2008, most notably Atlanta Thrashers prospect Patrice Cormier. The province has instituted strict laws in recent years in an attempt to curb hocky violence, which could come into play in Tuesday's incident.

    Here's a link to video Bettman at the panel discussion in Washington on Thursday via TSN.

    Photo: Getty Images

    Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:45 pm
    Edited on: March 9, 2011 5:59 pm
     

    Zdeno Chara escapes suspension for hit



    Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara escaped suspension for the check that left Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty with a severe concussion and a fractured neck vertebra, the NHL announced Wednesday afternoon. 

    “After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline,” said Mike Murphy, the NHL’s Senior V.P of hockey operations, in a statement. “This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly -- with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards.”

    Instead of the boards, Pacioretty found the divider between the benches late in the second period of Tuesday’s game at Bell Center. Pacioretty’s head hit the turnbuckle and he crumpled to the ice, where he lay several minutes as medical personnel attended to him. (Here’s a link to the video.) Canadiens coach Jacques Martin described Pacioretty’s neck injury Wednesday as a non-displaced fracture of the fourth cervical vertebra.

    “I’m not a medical doctor,” Martin told The Montreal Gazette and other outlets after practice on Wednesday.  “What’s important is that there’s no displacement.

    “Our first concern (as an organization) is that he gets his health back as a human being. You hope he’ll recover and continue his career, but it’s too soon to know his (potential) limitations. He’s still under observation.”

    Martin added Pacioretty would be out of action indefinitely.  
    Chara, who also got into a scuffle with Pacioretty the pervious time these two teams met, was assessed a major boarding penalty and a game misconduct for the collision. 

    "The one thing that everybody here hopes, is that the human side of us wishes for (Pacioretty) to recover quickly and well," Bruins coach Claude Julien told Comcast SportsNet New England. "That would something that everybody hopes, here. I know that (Chara) is going through a lot of stuff right now, and is being perceived as a dirty player, which anybody who knows Z, knows that's not the case."

    Murphy said he not only took into account the video evidence, but the entirety of Chara’s 13-year NHL career. Chara drew an automatic one-game suspension under the NHL’s instigator rule as a member of the Ottawa Senators in December 2005, his only career suspension. 

    “I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous,” said Murphy, who handled the decision because Colin Campbell, the league’s normal disciplinarian, has a son, Gregory,  on the Bruins.  

    Before news Chara avoided a suspension broke, some of Pacioretty’s teammates openly wondered how such a veteran player like Chara could have been caught in that position.

    “I don’t know what Chara was thinking, what he felt or what his awareness was on the ice,” Habs forward Michael Cammalleri said on the team’s official website. “I can’t comment on his intent. There are two types of hits in hockey -- the kind that are strategic and tactical, designed to get the guy off the puck and make a play, and then there’s the kind when you catch another guy in a vulnerable position and try to inflict some damage. It’s how a lot of people are taught to play when they’re young, and it makes it a tough mandate to change that attitude.”

    For Pacioretty's linemate Scott Gomez, said something he heard was just as jarring as watching the collision. . 

    "What I remember about it was the sound -- it sounded like a gun: bang!" Gomez told The Associated Press. "Stuff like that is tough to look at."

    Photo: Getty Images
     
     
     
     
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