Edmonton hasn’t had much luck developing depth draft picks lately, but 2012 third-rounder Jujhar Khaira is beginning to make an impact, as the San Jose Sharks found out last night.
Khaira, a physical, bruising left winger, got into his first NHL fight, taking on Brenden Dillon after the Sharks defenseman took exception to the Oilers rookie knocking around Justin Braun with a big hit. It was a pretty good tilt, too:
The irony was inescapable. The same day the richest and most powerful men in hockey gathered to discuss concussion protocol, the family of former NHLer Steve Montador filed a lawsuit against them alleging they had not done enough to protect him from the effects of multiple concussions that led to his retirement, significant memory loss, depression, anxiety, a substance abuse issue, and, ultimately his death at the age of 35.
Had Montador not died in February, his name and not his father’s would have been the one on the lawsuit that was filed Tuesday against the NHL and the league’s board of governors today in Chicago. Montador had every intention of suing the league when he was alive, but that task and crusade is now up to his family.
You have to give John Scott a lot of credit for doing the right thing here. He sees the fact that he leads all players in all-star voting as the joke that it is and even he wants to see it stop. “I think it’s more of a joke than anything,” Scott told Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. “I don’t want my name in the headlines for this reason. I definitely don’t want to be voted to the All-Star Game. It would be cool, but I definitely don’t deserve it to this point.”
Then, just to prove he has a sense of humor, he added: “You never know. There’s still time left. I could turn it on.”
The Montreal Canadiens’ tilt with the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night was a chippy affair to say the least. Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin levelled Jackets left winger Matt Calvert with a hit away from the play in the first period and earned a five-minute major and game misconduct for interference.
Then, in the second period, Montreal blueliner Nathan Beaulieu threw down in a fight with Columbus captain Nick Foligno. Foligno caught Beaulieu’s teammate, Tomas Fleischmann, with a knee-on-knee hit and Beaulieu took exception.
Before we watch the fight, let’s pause to ponder the NHL’s concussion protocol. Players showing visible symptoms of concussion are to be examined by team trainers and sent to a quiet room free of distraction for further evaluation by a physician. The league also solidified its concussion spotter program to make league-trained, league-employed spotters available for all games. Teams could use their own spotters or the league-designated ones. The spotters’ job is to notify team trainers of any visible concussion symptoms in players following blows to the head.
Now, let’s look at the fight between Beaulieu and Foligno:
Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has dropped the gloves with some regularity in his career, but his fight with Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher might be one he remembers for a long time.
In Tuesday’s game, Bieksa and Fisher were tangled up after a whistle in the Predators’ zone and came to blows. According to HockeyFights.com, Bieksa has had more than 50 fights in the NHL, while Fisher’s battle with Bieksa was the 31st time he had dropped the gloves in his NHL career. The tilt itself was quite substantial, lasting more than 30 seconds with both players exchanging pucnhes. The moment Bieksa will remember, though, came early in the scrap when Fisher connected with a short right jab: Read more
The National Hockey League is lucky, in a way.
What was once a major issue – fighting – has all but taken care of itself.
Fighting is down significantly, to the point where the only time people really talk about it these days is to mention that fighting is, well, down.
In 2012-13 there were an average of 0.96 fighting majors called per game. It slipped to 0.76 in 2013-14 and 0.63 in ’14-15. This season through games played Nov. 12, 0.46 fighting majors have been called per game.
It is not the result of a league mandate. And commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t have to threaten to send serial fighters to Winnipeg for the remainder of their careers if they didn’t cease their antisocial behavior.
One of the most ironic things about the fact that Tie Domi authored an autobiography is that he’d have a very difficult time reading it. As a former beat writer for The Toronto Star, I covered Domi’s career for eight years and I never knew he was dyslexic. I also didn’t know that he was also a celiac with a gluten allergy. Of course, at the time, neither did he.
There are some fairly startling revelations in Shift Work, which was co-written by Jim Lang and is available now. If you liked Domi before this book, you’ll probably like him more now. Written from a personal perspective, of course some of the history is revisionist, but all in all, the book is an entertaining, fast-paced read that has some nuggets of information that pull back the curtain on his career. Domi goes to great lengths to point out how he might not have had book smarts, but he worked harder and had more mental toughness than almost anyone ever in the history of the world. He makes the point early and often, but if Manny can be Manny, then we’ll give some latitude for Tie being Tie.
What was most amazing watching Max Domi buzz around the ice at Air Canada Centre with the Arizona Coyotes on Monday wasn’t the fact he was able to score his fourth NHL goal in his former home away from home. It was remarkable the ease and comfort he displayed showing off his considerable skills.
If you didn’t know he was a 20-year-old rookie, you’d think he had been in the NHL for years. Domi, who used to hang out at ACC when his dad, Tie, kept opponents honest as an enforcer with the Maple Leafs, went about his business in his ninth NHL game as one of the go-to players for a team that is a longshot to make the playoffs.
Same goes for Domi’s 20-year-old teammate Anthony Duclair. While Domi was tied with Connor McDavid for the rookie scoring lead with four goals and 10 points in 10 games, Duclair, who played 18 games with the New York Rangers last season, had five goals and seven points in 10 games.