• Suspend him or suspend him: Vancouver’s Alex Burrows ejected after head shot on Preds’ Paul Gaustad

    Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa stands near Preds center Paul Gaustad, who had just been hit by Vancouver's Alex Burrows. (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Just about every NHL media person working today will tell you it’s easy and often unfair to judge players’ actions from the comforts of the press box or our living rooms. We always have to bear that in mind when we’re talking about supplemental discipline. The game moves faster than any sport not contested on wheels, and there are times when players will seriously injure an opponent with no malice intended.

    Then there are NHLers who “just happen” to be involved with an annually-increasing number of borderline dirty incidents in the same way Jason Statham just happens to make essentially the same action movie time and again. Which brings me to Alex Burrows.

    The Canucks’ agitator was back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons Tuesday after this blindside hit to the head of Predators center Paul Gaustad got him a five-minute major and an ejection from Vancouver’s game against Nashville: Read more

  • Suspend him or not: Jets star Dustin Byfuglien cross-checks Rangers’ J.T. Miller in back of the head

    Adam Proteau
    Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec (Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Winnipeg Jets are in the midst of a brutally tough playoff race and need all hands on deck the rest of the way if they’re going to continue playing after mid-April. That’s why the decision of star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to cross-check Rangers center J.T. Miller in the head Tuesday – while Miller was sitting on the ice with his back to him – is so dubious: in essence, Byfuglien is risking suspension on a nothing play, and considering how everyone knows the NHL is more sensitive about headshots, there’s no justification for it.

    The play took place in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, and it materialized after Miller was looking to jar the puck loose from Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec and took a couple whacks with his stick at him. He’s unsuccessful in his scoring attempt and Miller falls over into a seated position by himself, but at that point Byfuglien, who hadn’t been anywhere near him, keeps both hands on his stick and drills it into Miller’s head and the back of his neck, pushing his head toward the ice: Read more

  • Capitals star Alex Ovechkin hits 50-goal plateau for sixth time in ten NHL seasons

    Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

    In his previous nine NHL seasons, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin reached or surpassed the 50-goal plateau five times. And the 29-year-old winger made it six times in 10 years with his 50th goal of the 2014-15 campaign.

    The Capitals were home in Washington hosting the Carolina Hurricanes when their captain went to work 11 minutes into the first period, wiring a wrist shot past goalie Cam Ward: Read more

  • Red Wings’ Petr Mrazek robs Senators’ Mark Stone with astonishing pad save

    Adam Proteau
    Petr Mrazek (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Red Wings have been dealing with some goaltending issues of late, with neither starter Jimmy Howard nor No. 2 Petr Mrazek showing consistency between the pipes. But in a crucial Tuesday game against Ottawa, Mrazek came up with a gigantic save – in this particular instance, on Sens winger Mark Stone – Detroit is hoping to see more of as the playoffs loom.

    The visiting Sens are six points behind the Wings for third in the Atlantic Division, and Detroit has to worry about the Boston Bruins (only three points behind them) as well, so they needed Mrazek to give them a chance to win. And that’s what he did with his lunging right pad stop on Stone early in the first period at Joe Louis Arena: Read more

  • Ex-NHLer Andre Deveaux faces criminal charges in Sweden, proving hockey can’t always protect its “protectors”

    Adam Proteau
    Andre Deveaux as a member of the New York Rangers in November of 2011. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

    The news former NHLer Andre Deveaux would face criminal charges in Sweden for a blind-side, stick-swinging attack on an opponent prior to a playoff game last week isn’t entirely unexpected. Once video of the incident surfaced, there were bound to be severe repercussions for the 31-year-old, and it’s looking like being released from his contract (as he was Monday) will be the least of Deveaux’s concerns.

    The day after his release from Swedish League team Rogle BK, Deveaux had a warrant issued for his arrest, the TT news agency reported. Swedish prosecutors saw what we all saw – Deveaux inexplicably charging VIK Vasteras HK player Per Helmersson as his back was turned in warmups, winding up with his stick, swinging it baseball-style at Helmersson’s ankles, then clubbing him in the head – and decided a hockey punishment wasn’t nearly enough. And they were right. There was no major injury on the play, but what if that massive slash had shattered Helmersson’s ankle and decimated his ability to play at peak form for the rest of his career? In effect, Deveaux was gambling with an opponent’s career – and as it turns out, his own career.

    You can argue whatever you like about whether or not Deveaux had been provoked in an earlier playoff game between his team and Helmersson’s, but that is missing the point. This is another cautionary tale, and it’s the one hockey’s fundamentalist old-schoolers don’t like to talk much about: the culture of the game can push you to levels of hyper-aggression you never thought possible, but there’s a Rubicon you can cross – and once you do cross it, the game’s gatekeepers won’t always be there to protect you. Read more

  • Three Stanley Cup contenders who could choke early in the playoffs

    Max Pacioretty. (Getty images)

    We’re close enough to the end of the season that trends matter. Hot upstarts may stay hot through the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Teams showing sneaky flaws may not have time to rectify them.

    Speaking of those flaws – which supposed elite teams have scary habits or weaknesses that will lead to rude spring awakenings? Here are three teams to consider.

    Read more

  • After vicious attack and amid potential criminal charges, former NHLer Andre Deveaux nowhere to be found

    Ken Campbell
    Andre Deveaux in his brief stint as a New York Ranger in the 2011-12 season. (Mike Stobe/NHL via Getty Images)

    That former NHLer Andre Deveaux will receive a very long suspension – possibly for life – from Swedish hockey seems to be a fait accompli. But Deveaux may have a lot more to be worried about than not being able to play hockey.

    The former NHL enforcer, who viciously attacked Per Helmersson in a Swedish Allsvensken game last week, could face criminal charges. That is, if anyone can find him. Deveaux seems to have either gone into hiding or disappeared since the incident last week, which caused his Rogle team to terminate his contract yesterday. Read more

  • Why the Florida Panthers are headed in the right direction, playoffs or not

    Jared Clinton
    Florida Panthers (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

    When the Florida Panthers take the ice tonight to face off against the Boston Bruins, they have the chance to control their fate. A victory coupled with a win in the second matchup between the two teams on April 9 and the Panthers could be post-season bound. Two losses, however, and it could be another hockeyless summer for Florida.

    Surely, the Panthers will need help outside of their two games against the Bruins. It will likely take Florida getting points in each of their six remaining games and both Boston and Ottawa sliding to end the season. Unlike seasons prior, though, win or lose, playoffs or not, the Panthers can hold their heads high and know that 2014-15 was a sign of things to come from the current roster. Read more