Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 6:22 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Tom Kuhnhackl is a prospect in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and currently plays for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League. During a game over the weekend against the Kitchener Rangers, he leveled Carolina Hurricanes prospect Ryan Murphy behind the net with a hit that gained quite a bit of attention for its violence.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Kuhnhackl has been suspended for 20 games by the league.
This is the play that earned him the banishment:
Just about everything Kuhnhackl could have done wrong here, he did. He appeared to leave his feet prior to the hit and delievered an elbow to the head. It's not all that different from a hit delivered by Steve Downie on Dean McAmmond during a preseason game a few years ago that also resulted in a 20-game banishment.
Kuhnhackl was the Penguins' fourth-round draft pick last season and recorded 68 points in 63 games with the Windsor Spitfires during the 2010-11 season. After opening this season with Windsor, he was traded to Niagara. Hockey's Future currently has him listed as the No. 4 prospect in the Penguins farm system.
Murphy was selected by the Hurricanes in the first round of the 2011 draft, 12th overall, following a season that saw him score 26 goals and record 53 assists.
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 2:12 pm
A little later in the game, Kunitz threw a clear and undeniable elbow at the head of Tampa Bay's Simon Gagne. He was penalized on the play two minutes for elbowing. While the damage potential wasn't incredibly high, the intent is what matters here, and there's little way to say there was no intent to throw an elbow to the head.
The hits are exactly what the league has been trying to eradicate in recent years. It's been a touchy subject with a lot of gray area, but anytime it seems clear there was an intentional shot to the head, the suspension is likely to follow.
In the playoffs there seems to be an uptick in the amount of the big, dangerous hits, something you can likely attribute to the playoff brand of hockey, a more physical and intense brand.
-- Brian Stubits
Posted on: April 11, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 3:46 pm
Ready to show their new defensive-minded approach in the playoffs, the Capitals are closer to being full strength on the back line.
Coach Bruce Boudreau addressed injured defenseman Mike Green's status for Game 1 on Wednesday. The All-Star has been out of the lineup for Washington since suffering a concussion on Feb. 25 against the same Rangers that are up next.
"He's ready for game one."
Clearly good news. Green's numbers offensively were down this season -- as were pretty much all of the Capitals' -- but he's a key cog on the power play and has shown better play in the back.
Philadelphia is in wait-and-see mode on the status of Chris Pronger.
Despite reports of him taking part in the team's activities, coach Peter Laviolette said Pronger did not practice.
"It's hard to say that we're preparing as if Pronger were in there for Game 1, because he wasn't out there today," Laviolette said.
The word from general manager Paul Holmgren is that Pronger right now is day to day.
His return would be more than welcome. Since being sidelined with a broken hand, the Flyers have won just six of the 16 games they played.
In other playoff injury news:
• It's worth keeping an eye on Francois Beauchemin for the Ducks, who sat out Monday's workout according to Eric Stephens of the OC Register . It seems to be just precautionary and he is expected to be back on Tuesday.