Tag:Colorado Avalanche
Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Kevin Porter suspended four games for kneeing

By Brian Stubits

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kevin Porter was suspended four games for his knee-to-knee hit on Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth from Tuesday night.

It was ugly, nasty and was a hit that has no place in hockey. Even worse, it resulted in Booth spraining his MCL and he'll miss the next 4-6 weeks as a result.

Here is the recap of the decision from discipline chief Brendan Shanahan.

This is the first time Shanahan has issued a suspension for kneeing, but if any was worth it, this was. As Shanahan points out, there were a couple of clear factors for the large suspension. First of all, Porter comes from a good ways with his leg fanned out. Secondly, Booth makes no alterations to his path that would lead to accidental contact or anything.

Booth's injury also played a role.

I'm pleasantly surprised. I was a bit skeptical that Shanahan would issue a suspension for this hit, but obviously he did. It was cheap and a message needed to be sent.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Oilers D Andy Sutton suspended indefinitely

By: Adam Gretz

Andy Sutton was suspended for the second time already this season for a dangerous hit, this time being suspended indefinitely until Brendan Shanahan can decide how long it will last.

During his brief time in charge of NHL discipline, Shanahan has put a rather large emphasis on whether or not a player is a repeat offender, or has a history of illegal hits. That's probably not good news for the Edmonton Oilers defenseman after his elbow to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday night. When his punishment is officially announced, it won't be kind.

The play occurred midway through the third period of Carolina's 5-3 win, which was also the first victory for Kirk Muller as an NHL head coach.

Here's a look at the play:



Sutton received a two-minute minor for boarding. He was all over the ice on Wednesday making his presence felt physically, and tallied nine penalty minutes over the course of the game, including another boarding penalty in the second period, as well as a five-minute major for fighthing after he delivered a huge (and what appeared to legal) open ice hit on Carolina's Jeff Skinner.

Earlier this season Sutton was suspended five games for an illegal hit to the head of Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, and during that suspension video Shanahan cited Sutton's past history of fines and suspensions for various illegal plays. And now he has another one just a little over a month later.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 8:57 pm
 

David Booth out 4-6 weeks with MCL Sprain

By: Adam Gretz

During their 6-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night, Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth was injured when he was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee hit from Kevin Porter. Porter was issued a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct, and the discussion as to whether or not he'll face any discipline from the NHL has already started.

Booth, meanwhile, is going to miss an extended period of time as it was announced on Wednesday night by head coach Alain Vigneault that the forward has a sprained MCL and is expected to be out of the lineup for at least four-to-six weeks.

The Canucks acquired Booth earlier this season in a multi-player trade with the Florida Panthers, picking him up when his value was at its lowest point and taking the chance that he would regain his top-line form in Vancouver. After a slow start he had started to pick up his production in recent weeks with five points over his past six games, including a three-point effort during a 5-1 against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

In 19 games since the trade he's scored five goals to go with 12 assists after recording just one assist in six games with the Panthers to open the season. He's scored at least 20 goals three times including a career-high 31 during the 2008-09 season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 7, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Reviewing Kevin Porter's kneeing on David Booth

By Brian Stubits

On Sunday, Vancouver Canucks winger David Booth had one of his hits scrutinized, his collision with Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in Vancouver's win. He was eventually cleared despite a lot of similarities to the hit that got the Predators forward Jordin Tootoo a two-game ban.

A game later and now a hit against Booth is going to get the ol' Shanahan review.

In the first period of Vancouver's 6-0 win over the Avalanche on Tuesday night, Booth was knocked out of the game after a knee-to-knee hit from the Avs' Kevin Porter. Here's a look at the play.

Porter was given a five-minute major and game misconduct. Worse, though, is the fact that Booth appeared to have sustained a bad injury on the play. He limped his way off the ice with help, unable to put much pressure down on his injured leg. MRIs are scheduled for Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury. Hopefully for Booth, it's just a situation of a bruised knee cap.

The question now turns to how many games will he be given in the form of a suspension, if any?

Keep in mind that so far, Shanahan has issued suspensions or fines for a lot of different dangerous plays, but none of them have been kneeing. So there isn't a precedent to speak of for Shanny on this one. Actually, there is a precedent, it's that he hasn't done anything with it in the past. There was a previous kneeing incident this season featuring Ryan Whitney of the Oilers taking out Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck. Nothing came of it.

They are both (referring to Porter's and Whitney's hits) dirty and, to me at least, are just about as bad as hits to the head. There is no place for this kind of play. I suppose you can argue that the kneeing is unintentional, but that's going to happen when you try and slide into the skater's path with bowed out legs.

If I were to venture a guess, I would say this like does not get Porter any additional punishment. Until I see an instance of kneeing being penalized by Shanahan, then I'll sing a different tune.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: December 3, 2011 11:45 am
 

Halak's overtime save fooled everybody

By: Adam Gretz

Fun times in Colorado on Friday night, as the Avalanche picked up a 3-2 win in a shootout over Ken Hitchcock's St. Louis Blues.

Before it could get to that point, however, the Avs thought they had a win in overtime when a bouncing puck off the stick of Ryan O'Byrne made its way behind Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak, which was then called a goal by the on-ice official, sparking an Avalanche victory celebration, complete with the goal horn going off and all of the Avalanche players rushing off the bench to greet their teammates to celebrate what appeared to be a game-winning goal.

The only problem is the puck never crossed the goal line, and the only person in the building that didn't believe it was a goal appeared to be Halak, and after review, it was correctly ruled no-goal.



Fortunately for the Avalanche they were able to get the win in the shootout, because it would have been extremely frustrating to lose a game just minutes after celebrating what you thought was a win.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 3, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: December 3, 2011 11:01 am
 

Is it time for more Johan Hedberg in New Jersey?

hedberg1By: Adam Gretz

The New Jersey Devils have a goaltending problem.

Martin Brodeur had one of the shortest outings of his career on Friday night, receiving the hook just eight minutes into the first period of the Devils 4-2 loss in Minnesota, after allowing three goals on just four shots. Devils coach Pete DeBoer defended his future Hall of Fame goalie after the game, saying that he re-watched each of the goals and concluded that he didn't think Brodeur "could have done much on them," pointing out that at least one of them went in due to a deflection off of a skate.

Even if that is true, Friday's game was hardly the first time this season Brodeur has struggled. Over his past three starts he's stopped just 43 of the 55 shots he's faced for a terrible .781 save percentage. In his previous start, a 6-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, Brodeur allowed six goals on just 25 shots, including three on the first eight shots he faced in the opening period.

Said Brodeur after the game, via Rich Cere of the Star-Ledger, “You can’t say you played well when you allow three goals in eight minutes or so. But when you look at the quality of the goals scored, it’s not like I was weak or anything. The puck doesn’t hit me. That’s a couple of games. I’ll try to work harder, I guess, and figure it out. You have to go back and work harder and hopefully the pucks will hit me.”

Unfortunately, the puck hasn't been hitting him all that often going back to the start of last season, and it's getting to the point where you have to ask, once again, when backup Johan Hedberg begins to get the majority of the starts. The two veterans have already split the starts this season, due in large part to Brodeur's injury earlier in the year, with Brodeur getting the call in 13 games while Hedberg has started 11. But since Brodeur returned from his injury in early November, he's received bulk of the playing time and it's hard to ignore the results.

Of the 39 goaltenders that qualify for the NHL's save percentage lead, Brodeur is currently 38th with a .879 mark. The only goalie that's been worse is Columbus' Steve Mason at .875, and he's recently lost playing time to his backup, Curtis Sanford. Brodeur finished last season 35th out of 47 goalies. His .872 save percentage during even-strength situations this season is currently the worst in the NHL.

He is one of the all-time greats, but right now he's not even the best goalie on his own team, as Hedberg has outplayed him going back to the start of last season (Hedberg's save percentage over that stretch is .914 compared to an even .900 for Brodeur).

The bigger problem for the Devils, from a long-term outlook, is that neither one is going to be much of an option in future seasons as Hedberg, set to turn 39 in May, is the youngest of the two, while both are set to become unrestricted free agents after this season. And this summer's group of potential free agent netminders leaves plenty to be desired once you get past Minnesota's Josh Harding.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 20, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Wild move to top of the NHL

By Brian Stubits

When I was trying to wrap my head around the aftermath of the weekend in hockey, you must pardon me if I'm a bit staggered. It's not exactly the college football landscape after Saturday, but it's equally as jolting.

It's still only late November, but a tour of the standings is surprisingly fun. And confusing.

Who'd a thunk the NHL's top team at this (or any) point in the season would be the Minnesota Wild? Was there anybody not busy laughing at Dale Tallon that they could have seen the Florida Panthers ahead of the Southeast Division? Did anybody believe Dave Tippett could work his magic again and have the Coyotes in first place of the Pacific? Lastly, who saw the Maple Leafs atop the Northeast Division?

This is the bizarro NHL. Or maybe it's just that this is the NHL with the 2-1-0 point system.

The difference between the best in the NHL (Wild and Chicago Blackhawks) to 25th place (Winnipeg Jets) is only eight points. Four of the six divisions have the fourth place team within four points of the division lead.

One of the divisions that doesn't fit that bill is the Northwest, and that's not because the Vancouver Canucks are running away with it again. Instead, the Wild are, building the biggest division lead in the NHL, holding a five-point lead on the Edmonton Oilers (we told you this was bizarro world).

If we want to take the last 10 games (which we do, it makes this look better) the Wild are the hottest team in hockey alongside the Boston Bruins. Each of them are 8-2-0 in that span after the Wild took the two points from the St. Louis Blues on Saturday with a shootout victory.

It must be the offseason additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, right?

They haven't hurt matters, to be clear. But I wouldn't go as far as to call them the reason the Wild have the most points in the league. Offensively speaking, the Wild have been well below average. Their 2.20 goals per game ranks 28th out of 30 teams.

Obviously that means it's the defense that's led them to a league-high 12 wins. The Wild are surrendering a very impressive 1.95 goals against average. It's funny how starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom is the "worst" goalie of the tandem of he and Josh Harding as he sports a 1.97 GAA and.935 save percentage.

The most amazing part about this is the Wild are doing it with what most would agree is a no-name group of defensemen. Brent Burns is gone to San Jose. Greg Zanon has been sidelined as have Marek Zidlicky and Marco Scandella. That leaves a cast of characters that I doubt anybody outside of Minnesota or Houston (the Wild's AHL affiliate) had heard of; guys like Justin Falk and Kris Fredheim.

This is all under first-year NHL coach Mike Yeo, by the way. He has come in from Houston and has this team as one of the biggest turnaround stories of the season. I defy anybody, including those fans in Minnesota, to say they saw the Wild starting this well.

Speaking of surprising turnarounds ...

There's another team shocking the NHL under a first-year coach after an awful season a year ago. That would be the Florida Panthers.

Kevin Dineen, certainly with a great pedigree as a player in the NHL, has put his name in the early running for the Jack Adams (next to Yeo) with what he has done in Florida. Or perhaps we should say with what Dale Tallon has done.

The top line for the Panthers is making all the difference right now. For years, the Panthers didn't have much production from the top line. If you had to rank where they stood, it was always in the bottom five of top lines in the NHL, that includes when it featured Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Nathan Horton.

The new top line of Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg showed its prowess on Saturday night against the Penguins in South Florida. They were in on all three Florida goals, including Weiss' power play tally in the final minutes. Each member of that line is on pace for about 80 points or more. None of the three has ever had more than 61 points in a season (Weiss in 2008-09).

The team has some serious gumption. After taking the late lead on the Pens, they withstood a massive barrage, particularly the final 65 seconds when the Penguins pulled goalie Dan Johnson. That's when Jose Theodore -- another surprise -- stood tallest and denied Pittsburgh's numerous scoring chances. Theodore, by the way, has a very respectable 2.46 GAA and .923 save percentage.

We are close to a quarter of the way through the season and it's just so weird to call them the first-place Panthers. But that's exactly what they are.

Getting Bizzy

Another one of the surprising teams (boy, there are a lot of those) is the Phoenix Coyotes -- we'll have more on them this week. They have been winning in seasons past, but I think many believed that Ilya Bryzgalov was a big reason for that and when he left for Philadelphia, most predicted they would falter.

Surprise is a word that would aptly describe Paul Bissonnette's night on Saturday, too. Maybe even surprise doesn't cut it, shocking would fit better.

The Coyotes tough guy who hardly plays but is one of the most popular players in the NHL due to his Twitter fame, had the rare shot to play in Buffalo, near his hometown of Welland, Ontario. It also happened to be the first time his mother had the chance to see him play live in the NHL. And so wouldn't you know it, this happened:

As I said, shocking. That goal brings his total to five goals in the past three seasons with the Coyotes. Maybe equally shocking was Tyler Myers' play to give Bissonnette the shot on the doorstep.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes' 4-2 win moved them into a tie with the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.

We want 10!

How crazy are things right now? The Oilers scoring nine goals on the Blackhawks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recording five assists goes here. Oh, and Taylor Hall had a hat trick.

The Oilers had eight goals at the mid-way mark of the game, prompting the chants of "We want 10!" from the Edmonton faithful. They came close, real close, in the final minutes, but didn't get it. Instead they had to settle for a 9-2 rout. For shame.

For the Oilers, it's what you would call a rebound win. They entered the game on a four-game skid. The quick start to the season seemed long ago in the rearview mirror. But then in 60 minutes they scored more goals (nine) then they had in the entire span of that losing streak (eight).

What's more, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to live up to the billing. Labeled as a play-making center, the Nuge's five-assist night was the a record-setter. No 18-year-old had ever done that before in NHL history. His 19-year-old linemate Hall had his second career hat trick. Whatever they wanted to do, they did.

As for the Blackhawks, their four-game win streak ran into the Alberta armor and went kaput in back-to-back nights to the Flames on Friday and then the Oilers.

"Right now, it seems like every little mistake we make it's in the back of our net and we're making a lot of mistakes," defenseman Duncan Keith said on Saturday. "We all as a team need to focus on committing to playing the right way and the way we know how to play. We have to. The last two games have been embarrassing. The only thing we can do is try and learn from it and move on."

Make it eight

The Boston Bruins can't be touched right now.

With their 6-0 trouncing of the Islanders on Saturday, they have won eight games in a row. With that run, they have finally climbed back into the top eight of the Eastern Conference standings.

The most amazing part of the eight-game run? The Bruins have outscored their opponents 42-14 in that time. That's an average margin of victory of 3.5 goals per game. As I said, they can't be touched right now.

Caps popped

The Capitals are in a tailspin, leading to the annual chatter of Bruce Boudreau's job safety starting up again. That can happen after taking a 7-1 pounding by the similarly struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

When asked after the game about a vote of confidence for Boudreau, GM George McPhee game a "no comment."

But it's still hard to put this on Boudreau in my mind. He's trying everything he can to right the ship. The problem is partly on the shoulders of Alex Ovechkin, who has failed to score a point in any of the past four games. The last time that happened? Go back to February of 2007.

So what's the next step after a team meeting and a practice on a typical off day? It could be the benching of Alexander Semin. The other talented Russian forward on the Caps, Semin has already seen demotions this season. In Sunday's practice, he was dropped all the way to the third line and when Boudreau was asked if Semin might be a healthy scratch on Monday against the Coyotes, Boudreau didn't say one way or the other.

Matters could be coming to a head very soon in D.C. one way or another.

Coming back to Earth

Once sitting atop the NHL in points, the Dallas Stars have gone into a funk, losing five in a row, topped off by a 3-0 loss at Colorado on Friday and a 4-1 defeat in San Jose on Saturday.

That prompted first-year coach Glen Gulutzan to go off about this team, leading to ...

Quote of the weekend

From CSN Bay Area:

“We whine like little babies throughout the game,” Gulutzan said. “I don’t know if there’s been a history of that here or not, but every team that I’ve coached, we’ve always been at the other end of the scale. I think we’re the worst penalty differential in the league, and every team I’ve coached we’ve always been the opposite.

“That’s going to change. We’re going to change that culture here. We’ve got to do it by zipping our mouths one step at a time. The refs are human, and if you whine that much, they’re not going to give you calls. That’s just the bottom line. We’re not getting some calls, and it’s our fault.

“I’ll be glad to go back to Saskatchewan if we don’t get out of this, but at the end of the day we’re going to do it the way we’re going to do it,” he said. “We’re going to be men, we’re going to have character, we’re going to shut our mouths and we’re going to play. If that’s not good enough, then so be it.”

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 11:30 am
 

Watch: Fistric get sent through Penalty box door

By: Adam Gretz

The Colorado Avalanche played what was perhaps their best and most complete home game of the season Friday night, knocking off the suddenly struggling Dallas Stars by a 3-0 margin.

Early in the second period, Avalanche forward T.J. Galiardi delivered what had to be the hit of the night along the boards to Stars defenseman Mark Fistric, sending him flying through the penalty box door on a play that could have ended up a lot worse than it was given the way Fistric fell into the opening.



It was a rough week for Fistric, as he was not only on the receiving end of this booming hit, but he was also struck in the throat by a puck during a game in Pittsburgh last Friday. Depending on your outlook that's either a run of bad luck, or a run of good luck that neither situation was as bad as it could have been.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com