Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:56 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 9:59 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Not even a day dominated by the Winter Classic can stop NHL discipline from sneaking into the news.
The NHL announced on Monday evening that Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has been suspended two games for a charging incident that took place during their 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, not long after he was fined for a hit in his previous game. There was no penalty called on the play, but Brendan Shanahan determined that it was worth him missing the next two games against St. Louis and Los Angeles.
He'll be eligible to return to the lineup on January 7 when the Coyotes host the New York Islanders.
The hit took place midway through the first period when he hit Minnesota's Nate Prosser.
"As the video shows, Torres approaches Prosser just inside the Minnesota blue line as Prosser is making a pass up the ice," said Shanahan. 'Torres is in position to make a clean, full body check. However, rather than drive through his opponents chest or shoulder, Torres rises up and leaves his feet prior to contact, launching himself into Prosser and making significant contact with Prosser's head. While players skates often come off the ice after impact on clean body checks, that is not the case here."
Along with that description, Shanahan also made it known that this was the third game in a row that a hit from Torres has drawn the attention of NHL player safety. Earlier in the week he was fined $2,500 (the maximum fine allowed) for elbowing Colorado's Jan Hejda, a hit that many felt should have resulted in a suspension of its own.
"It is important to note that this is the third game in a row that Torres has gotten the attention of the department of player safety for contact to the head," said Shanahan. "In fact, only hours before the Minnesota game Torres was fined and warned against such actions. In addition, Torres has been fined twice before and was suspended nine months ago for a similar play."
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Posted on: December 31, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 2:03 pm
By: Adam Gretz
One of the most common complaints about NHL discipline, whether it was under Colin Campbell in previous years or the current leadership of Brendan Shanahan, is the sometimes overwhelming lack of consistency from one incident to another. If you're going to call it one way for one play, make it the same way across the board.
It rarely, if ever, seems to work out that way.
The NHL's disciplinary committee was busy on Saturday announcing a couple of fines, and along with the surprising non-suspensions of Tomas Kopecky and Mike Rupp following Friday's Rangers-Panthers game, the NHL also announced that Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has also avoided the Shanaban for his blindside elbow to the head of Colorado's Jan Hejda earlier in the week (Here's the play, in case you missed it the first time around).
Instead of missing any games, Torres was simply given the maximum fine of $2,500.
Message: not sent.
Hejda is expected to be in the lineup for the Avalanche on Saturday when they visit the Anaheim Ducks.
There was also no penalty called on the play, and it recieved little attention in the aftermath. It almost seems that unless a player is seriously injured (or injured at all) and it's a play that's shown on highlight reels across the league the NHL has no interest in handing out a stiff punishment.
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Posted on: December 30, 2011 9:54 am
On Wednesday night, Torres was caught laying a hit high on Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins (watch it here). It drew the ire of Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid who then laid a pretty good beating on Torres. But Shanahan didn't.
Then came Thursday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche and another questionable hit from Torres. That's when he skates by the crease and chicken-winged the Avs' Jan Hejda with an elbow to the head after Hejda passed the puck up ice. There was no penalty on the play for Torres.
At least from the angle we are given, it seems as clear as crystal that the principle point of contact on this hit was the head of Hejda. Moreover, it was very unnecessary and behind the play. It would have been a very avoidable hit if Torres had decided as much.
I'll be very surprised and honestly a little disappointed if Torres goes unpunished for this hit. It might not have been bad, but it could have been. You should punish the intent not the result. The illustrative point of suspending Torres for this is almost necessary because to me it sure looks like a textbook example of the play they want gone. You just can't throw an elbow to a guy's head any more.
Posted on: November 16, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 3:56 pm
By: Adam Gretz
PITTSBURGH -- Milan Hejduk has spent his entire career with the Colorado Avalanche organization, playing over 920 games (and still counting). He's scored over 360 goals and been a member of a Stanley Cup winning team, and on Tuesday night he played his first game as the team's captain, just the third different one the franchise has had since 1992-93, when it was still based in Quebec.
After a strong first period that included Hejduk registering an assist on Matt Duchene's highlight reel goal, everything unraveled over the final 30 minutes of regulation as the Avs dropped a 6-3 decision to the Penguins, spoiling what should have been an exciting night for the 13-year veteran.
"It's a great honor," said Hejduk after the game. "I'm very proud to have the 'C' on my jersey, but I wish tonight could have been a different result."
The result, unfortunately, has been a common one for the Avs over the past month, as the loss is their ninth in their past 12 games, and follows what had been a promising start that saw the team win six of its first eight games, with all of the wins coming on the road. Whether it's been at home or on the road, finding the win column has been an issue lately for a team that has won just three games in regulation all season, and only one since Oct. 13.
Still, for all of their struggles lately you have to say this for the Avalanche: their games are definitely not boring.
Their forwards are young, fast and exciting, especially Duchene, who was one of the best players on the ice for either team on Tuesday night. When that all meets at the confluence of poor defense and goaltending, well, you're going to see a lot of goals. Last season Avalanche games were the highest scoring games in the league, and they're not far off that pace this season averaging over six goals per game. The NHL average is just 5.56.
Though, a lot of that has been -- and still is being -- driven by the aforementioned issues on the blue line and in the crease. That has to be a concern given the emphasis that was placed on both areas over the summer to improve a team that allowed the ninth most shots in the NHL and owned, by a pretty large margin, the worst save percentage.
In an effort to fix those weaknesses the Avalanche assembled one of the biggest defenses in the NHL (seriously, these guys are huge ... four of their regulars are each listed over 6-feet-3, 230-pounds) by signing Jan Hejda and Shane O'Brien to go with Erik Johnson and Ryan O'Byrne, two players that were acquired in mid-season trades during the 2010-11 season. Those additions on the blue line were accompanied by what was perhaps the most controversial move of the summer, by any team, when the club sent its 2012 first-round pick to the Washington Capitals in exchange for goaltender Semyon Varlamov. At the time of the trade it was thought that pick could turn out to be a lottery pick, and it still very well could be.
Varlamov did his part to silence the critics of the move early in the season, basically standing on his head during his first three starts. But to say he's struggled since would be an understatement. While the Avs have managed to cut down the number of shots they allow, the goaltending has still been an issue with Varlamov posting a save percentage below .900 in eight of his past 11 apperances, including Tuesday, while their team mark is still in the bottom-three of the NHL.
"When you're going through a stretch like this, you rely on your goaltender," said coach Joe Sacco following Tuesday's game, which saw Varlamov allow six goals on 33 shots. "He (Varlamov) made some big saves, but I'm sure there's a few he'd like to have back. Everybody has to be better including him."
Of course, there are still plenty of question marks as to whether or not they will -- or can -- be much better.
Their defense is massive, but how well does that size translate to success in the current NHL? And outside of Johnson, a former No. 1 overall pick by the St. Louis Blues, how much long-term upside is there with the current group? In the crease, Varlamov is still a major Wild card. He's definitely a gifted athlete with impressive quickness, but his career has been plagued by injuries and bouts of inconsistent play.
If their play on the back side doesn't improve it could be another long season in Denver, and this time there will not even be the prospect of a top draft pick there to help salvage it.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: September 28, 2011 10:27 am
STANDING STRONG: There's a lot more going on these days, but don't forget that Drew Doughty is still not in camp with the Kings, stuck in a contract stalemate. President of the Kings' parent company Tim Leiweke is on GM Dean Lombardi's side in an informative conversatoin with Helene St. James. (L.A. Times)
KANSAS CITY AUDITIONS: Once again Kansas City played host to an NHL exhbition game and once again the city showed well for the game between the Penguins and Kings with 17,779 packing the Sprint Center. But the latest audition still doesn't do much to boost the city's chase for a new team. (Kansas City Star)
DON'T I KNOW YOU? Not everybody hates Sean Avery, the New York Rangers' world-reknowned pest. Check out this look-alike fan in Prague, where the Rangers are getting ready for their season opener. What's one thing Petr Rada likes about Avery? "He's a very funny guy." I'm curious how many agree to that. (NHL.com)
THRILL FROM KIRIL: Looking to get a roller-hockey game going on Long Island, one of the players realized they were short a man. Being friends on Facebook with Kirill Kabanov of the Islanders, one player decided to take a shot in the dark and ask Kabonov to join them. Next thing you know, the Isles prospect was there, creating one Wild roller game. (New York Times)
SPEECH THERAPY: There has been a ton of discourse regarding Wayne Simmonds (apparent but not proven) use of a gay slur on the ice. Here's an excellent one from Bruce Arthur asking why, if the NHL can get rid of the dangerous hits in its league it can't get rid of other hurtful actions. (National Post)
MOVING ON UP: That didn't take long. The No. 2 overall pick in this summer's draft, Gabriel Landeskog to the Avalanche, was declared the most NHL-ready prospect there was. Now he's showing it. The Swede has already worked his way on to the top line in Colorado with Paul Stastny and David Jones. (Denver Post)
SHARK CENSORSHIP: For many years you have been able to see shirts near the penalty box and benches in San Jose for Bad Boys Bail Bonds. The owner, a long-time season ticket holder, advertised with the team last year but didn't renew, saying the exposure wasn't worth it. Now the Sharks are banning patrons from promoting or marketing their businesses. There are some unhappy people. (Puck Daddy)
NOTHING BUT NET: In an attempt to help fans see the action on the ice through the mesh netting, the Capitals tried something new on Monday at the Verizon Center, debuting a new white net, hoping it would blend in better and be less obtrusive. Early returns from the fans say not so much. It could be back to normal sooner than you'd think. (Capitals Insider)
JUST SHOOT ME: If the Predators are looking to increase their scoring on the power play, there's a pretty simple suggestion: shoot more! Here's a breakdown of how often (or little) Nashville is shooting with the man advanatage among other Western Conference teams. (Pred Gold)
BACK ALREADY: It was just on Monday when it was said that Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda was expected to miss a couple of weeks with a knee injury. Yet on Tuesday Hejda was right back on the ice, joining the Avs in practice without skipping a beat. Just in case you didn't believe it, Adrian Dater included some video. (Denver Post)
Photo: Dan Rosen
Tags: Brian Stubits, Colorado Avalance, Daily Skate, Dean Lombardi, Drew Doughty, Gabriel Landeskog, Jan Hejda, Kansas City, Kirill Kabanov, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Relocation, San Jose Sharks, Sean Avery, Tim Leiweke, Washington Capitals, Wayne Simmonds
Posted on: September 26, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: September 26, 2011 3:37 pm
LOSING THE YIPS: The Colorado Avalanche will be opening up the regular season with Brandon Yip on the sidelines after breaking a forearm this weekend against the Blues. He will miss 4-6 weeks. Avs defenseman Jan Hejda is also dealing with a setback, 2-4 works after suffering a knee injury in the same game. (Denver Post)
WHAT'S HIS NAME: Tomas Fleischmann is new to the Florida Panthers, and it showed over the weekend. Check out the jersey that he was sporting in the team's home game against the Lightning. (For those who can't see, it spells F-L-E-S-I-C-H-M-A-N-N) I guess the people in charge of putting names on jerseys didn't brush up on their offseason acquisition list. (Getty Images via Litter Box Cats)
SCOTT'S SCARE: Scott Hartnell played only nine minutes of the Flyers' game against the Red Wings over the weekend because of a heart scare. During the intermission it was discovered he had an elevated heart rate that didn't slow down during the break. A checkup on Saturday showed things were normal, but he will still be evaluated by a cardiologist. (flyers.nhl.com)
SUTERWATCH STARTS: It's almost another full year before free agency begins again, but fans in Nashville are already holding their collective breath. In addition to Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber, Ryan Suter doesn't have a deal for 2012-13 and LeBron James-like quotes aren't helping soothe the anxious Predators fans. (Pred Gold)
HEIDI STRIKES AGAIN: While it wasn't exactly the movie interrupting a regular-season NHL game, but it's close enough. In Montreal the television feed pulled away from the game just moments before Scott Gomez scored the winning goal. It is the latest positive step in a good preseason for the much-maligned Gomez. (Montreal Gazette)
MORE, PLEASE: The biggest concern for this season in Columbus has to be the situation in net for the Blue Jackets. Chris Mason hasn't exactly kept up his rookie form that saw him win the Calder Trophy in 2008-09. But optimism is rising in camp that a return to form might be coming for Mason. (Columbus Dispatch)
MEET MIKA: Branding is the big thing for athletes these days, you have to find a way to sell your "brand." Well Senators rookie Mika Zibanejad is already getting started. Take a look at his personal web site. Not too bad for a guy who hasn't played a game in the NHL yet. (Senators Extra)
OH BOY O'BERTO: Red Wings veteran Todd Bertuzzi is becoming a shootout star. Just check out his latest move on a hapless goaltender, going between his legs to pass it back up to himself and back-handing the puck into the net.
Tags: Brandon Yip, Brian Stubits, Chris Mason, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Daily Skate, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Jan Hejda, Mika Zibanejad, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, Pekka Rinne, Philadelphia Flyers, Ryan Suter, Scott Gomez, Scott Hartlnell, Shea Weber, Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Fleischmann
Posted on: April 2, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2011 4:29 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda received a two-game ban for an elbow he delivered to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger, the NHL announced on Saturday.
The collision occurred early in the second period of Friday's game. Hejda received a minor penalty for elbowing.
Hejda forfeits $21,505 in salary. He's eligible to return for a game against the Nashville Predators on Friday, the Blue Jackets' second-to-last game of the season.
-- A.J. Perez