Ducks’ Stewart has ‘suspected broken jaw’ after fight with Blue Jackets’ Prout

Jared Clinton
Chris Stewart fights Dalton Prout (via HockeyFights/YouTube)

Anaheim Ducks winger Chris Stewart is a tough customer. No one would question that. The only problem for Stewart is Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout is just as tough, and he can pack one solid punch. Stewart may have found that out the hard way.

During Thursday night’s tilt between the Ducks and Blue Jackets, Prout and Stewart got into a tussle as the second period came to a close. The fight, which lasted about 30 seconds, saw both combatants land a number of good shots, but you can see Stewart start saying something to Prout after he lands a solid shot around the 36-second mark. The fight broke up shortly thereafter and both men headed off the ice: Read more

Blue Jackets ink Ryan Murray to two-year, $5.65-million extension

Jared Clinton
Ryan Murray (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets went out and bolstered their defense earlier this season with the acquisition of Seth Jones, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen made another move Thursday to ensure his young, up-and-coming defense corps stays in tact.

The Blue Jackets announced Thursday they have signed 22-year-old blueliner Ryan Murray to a two-year contract extension worth $5.65-million. The extension will keep Murray, who was set to become a restricted free agent this off-season, under wraps until the 2018-19 season.

“Ryan Murray is a talented, smart player who has been a very steady performer on our blue line and we are extremely happy to have this deal completed,” said Kekalainen in a release.  “Ryan has earned more ice time, showed steady improvement and contributed in all situations for us throughout the season.  We look forward to his continued growth and development with our club.” Read more

NHL goes 0-for-2 (0-for-3 actually) in McDonagh-Simmonds incident

Wayne Simmonds (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

What happens to an attempt to injure match penalty when the attempt to injure is actually successful? Well, not much if you’re talking about the NHL, which ignores and justifies suspendable acts with mind-boggling regularity.

Take the Wayne Simmonds sucker punch on Ryan McDonagh Saturday afternoon, for example. In another decision that makes the Department of Player Safety the most spectacular oxymoron since jumbo shrimp, Simmonds skated away with nothing more than a game misconduct for sucker punching McDonagh of the New York Rangers in the head. And McDonagh got away with a double minor for a stick offense that was gratuitous and unnecessary. Give the NHL credit, at least it manages to baffle, confuse and infuriate everyone with its decisions.

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Rumor Roundup: Lightning begin negotiating with Stamkos as Drouin sits and awaits trade

Steven Stamkos (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

For most of January, the trade request by Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin and his recent holdout overshadowed the contract negotiations between the club and captain Steven Stamkos However, recent talk of a rumored offer by the Lightning pushed those negotiations to the forefront.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed the Lightning pitched a deal to the Stamkos camp worth $8.5 million annually. Stamkos subsequently told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times he had no comment about the report, adding his contract discussions will remain strictly between himself and management.

Assuming that offer was the Lightning’s opening bid, the club’s fans probably shouldn’t worry that GM Steve Yzerman is playing hardball. As with most negotiations, the Bolts make a low opening offer. The Stamkos camp likely counters with something much higher, perhaps comparable to the $10.5-million annual cap hits of Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. After that, the two sides negotiate toward a more mutually beneficial number.

Drouin, meanwhile, remains the subject of ongoing trade speculation. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch lists  the Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens among the potential suitors. Garrioch also claims Yzerman’s asking price for the 20-year-old left winger has changed from a roster player to a couple of top prospects.

Friedman’s colleague Damien Cox claims the Senators and Lightning had discussions about Drouin. The Sens, however, aren’t parting with defenseman Cody Ceci.

One blueliner the Senators could move is the disappointing Jared Cowen, but don’t expect Yzerman to give up a prized asset like Drouin for an expensive under-achieving blueliner. Garrioch believes the 25-year-old’s actual salary ($4.5 million next season) makes him difficult to move.

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin last week publicly stood by embattled coach Michel Therrien and his staff, shouldering the blame for the club’s free-fall in the standings. Bergevin also noted the difficulty in trying to acquire some scoring punch for his anemic offense.

That doesn’t mean Bergevin stopped trying. Garrioch believes the Habs GM wants to add some size to his forward lines. So far, however, the asking price is young assets.

Center Alex Galchenyuk is attracting interest. Friedman reports a couple of teams made inquiries about the 21-year-old, but were told he’s not on the trade block.

Given the Canadiens’ plight, Bergevin isn’t dealing from a position of strength. His rivals hope he’ll succumb to pressure and try to make a big season-saving deal. While Bergevin has a reputation for pulling off surprising moves, he’s unwilling to sacrifice his youngsters for a quick fix.

BLUE JACKETS NOT DONE DEALING

The Columbus Blue Jackets surprised the hockey world earlier this month by shipping center Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Seth Jones. Ongoing media chatter suggests Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could make other moves before the trade deadline.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculates the Jackets’ roster restructuring will continue through the trade deadline and into the off-season. Garrioch claims Kekalainen is working the phones seeking a center to replace the departed Johansen.

Recent Jackets’ speculation suggests they could move out a couple of veterans with term remaining on their contracts. Left winger Scott Hartnell ($4.75-million annually through 2018-19) and defenseman Fedor Tyutin ($4.5 million through 2017-18) recently surfaced as possible trade candidates.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.)

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

Blue Jackets coach Tortorella taken to hospital after collision in practice

Jared Clinton
John Tortorella (via Lori Schmidt/Twitter)

If you didn’t know better, you’d think the Columbus Blue Jackets were cursed. The morning after potentially losing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to yet another groin injury, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella was knocked down following hard collision with winger Rene Bourque and went to hospital for precautionary reasons.

The collision occurred during practice at the Blue Jackets’ Winter Park, an outdoor rink across from Columbus’ Nationwide Arena. According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline and Shawn Mitchell, Tortorella suffered an apparent back injury after Bourque, who was skating up ice, got a piece of Tortorella and sent him falling to the ice. Bourque said the collision happened in large part because he “hit a rut” in the ice.

Tortorella, 57, was able to leave the ice under his own power and headed back into the arena with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who later said that Tortorella had been transported to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons. Read more

Update: Blue Jackets’ Bobrovsky placed on IR with groin strain, out indefinitely

Jared Clinton
Sergei Bobrovsky (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

This is not a recording. Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has suffered a lower-body injury. Less than two games after getting back into Columbus’ lineup, the 27-year-old netminder could be heading right back to the injured list.

There was no obvious moment when the injury occurred, but Bobrovsky skated to the Columbus bench during a TV timeout midway through the second period. According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell, Bobrovsky had a short conversation with the Blue Jackets’ training staff, left the ice and didn’t return to the game. Before the game was through, Columbus announced that Bobrovsky would not return with a lower-body injury.

The immediate concern is that Bobrovsky, who has already missed 16 games this season with a groin injury, will be back on the shelf with another groin strain. Coach John Tortorella didn’t have an update on Bobrovsky post-game, nor did GM Jarmo Kekalainen. In what might be a bad sign, though, the Blue Jackets have brought up goaltender Anton Forsberg on emergency recall from the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. Read more