Does NHL treat diving more seriously than concussion protocol?

Dan Hamhuis and Mikael Granlund. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced Thursday morning that Winnipeg Jets center Alexander Burmistrov has been fined $2,000 for violating Rule 64, which deals with diving and embellishment. Burmistrov is the seventh player to receive a fine for diving, joining teammate Nikolaj Ehlers, Jordin Tootoo and Bobby Farnham of the New Jersey Devils, Jannik Hansen of the Vancouver Canucks, Zack Smith of the Ottawa Senators, and Teemu Pulkkinen of the Detroit Red Wings.

The NHL, which fines players and coaches on a graduated scale for such infractions really seems to have a bee in its bonnet for players who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Talk to any of the “hockey people” in the league’s head office and they see diving as an enormous blight on the game.

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Wideman incident raises questions about NHL’s concussion protocol

Dennis Wideman (Photo by Getty Images)

There’s a good chance Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman will become the first player in NHL history to have his suspension appealed to an independent arbitrator, but that’s not what will make this process so interesting over the next little while.

As has been widely reported, Wideman was suspended 20 games for abuse of official after crosschecking linesman Don Henderson from behind in a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. The NHL Players’ Association has already filed an appeal on Wideman’s behalf, which is expected to be heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman early next week. If a further appeal is necessary, it will go to James Oldham, the league- and NHLPA-appointed independent arbitrator.

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Wideman deserved severe suspension regardless of ‘intent’

Ken Campbell
Dennis Wideman  (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

We’re likely going to hear a lot over the next little while about Dennis Wideman’s “intent” when he drilled linesman Don Henderson from behind, an action which earned him a 20-game suspension from the NHL for abuse of official.

There is the camp that believes there was no ill intent on Wideman’s part, that it was an unfortunate accident and that Wideman was perhaps a little dazed from the hit along the boards that he took from Nashville Predators winger Miikka Salomaki, a hit that occurred about 8.65 seconds before Wideman took Henderson out with a crosscheck from behind.

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Wideman hearing centers around issue of workplace safety for officials

Dennis Wideman Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the more interesting discipline hearings of this season will take place this afternoon when Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman defends himself at the NHL offices in Toronto. Suffice to say there are a number of moving parts at work here.

The NHL is faced with a vexing situation. On one hand, if it does not suspend Wideman at least 10 games for abuse of an official, there is little doubt the on-ice officials who work the 1,230 games each season will not be happy. Linesman Don Henderson reportedly spent a night in hospital after being crosschecked from behind by Wideman in the Flames 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators last Wednesday and the officials, quite understandably, are concerned about their workplace safety.

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Canadiens’ Subban and Sharks’ Burns display breakaway flair

Brent Burns (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The breakaway challenge at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition was designed to get players to show off some personality, have a little fun and display some niffy moves.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, San Jose Sharks blueliner Brent Burns, Nashville Predators left winger James Neal and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene got the memo.

Subban won the fan-driven Twitter vote after he put on a No. 68 Florida Panthers jersey, a long-flowing mullet-esque wig and an old-school Jofa helmet. He completed his homage to future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr by giving the Jagr salute after he tucked a chance by Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

His first attempt wasn’t too shabby either as he bounced the puck on his stick, kicked the disc behind his back and eventually batted it towards Rinne.

Burns’ most hilarious attempt came after he put on a mask of Star Wars character Chewbacca – a reference to his unruly facial hair. Burns skated in, ripped a slapshot past New Jersey Devils netminder Cory Schneider and raised his arms much like Chewie.

Neal got a little help from country music star Dierks Bentley, an appropriate linemate since the event was in the Music City. Neal set up Bentley on a 2-on-0 rush.

For his part, Duchene probably had the prettiest try. He cradled the puck back and forth with one hand on his stick. He also scored with one hand on his stick, using a between-the-legs move.

Ovechkin, Toews take one-game ban for skipping All-Star Game, Kuznetsov, Neal named replacements

Jonathan Toews (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin won’t be the only player skipping the All-Star Game, nor will he be the only one facing a one-game suspension for doing so. The Blackhawks announced Thursday that Jonathan Toews is out of the All-Star Game with an illness and will be forced to miss Chicago’s Feb. 2 game against the Colorado Avalanche.

It flew under the radar in Carolina’s 5-0 drubbing of Chicago Tuesday, but Toews, the Blackhawks’ captain, didn’t step foot on the ice after finishing the second period. In fact, he didn’t even return to the bench when the third period began. And now Toews won’t be heading to Nashville to take part in the all-star weekend.

Post-game Tuesday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville mentioned that Toews had been battling an illness heading into Tuesday’s game and said it was the reason he missed the third period of the contest against Carolina, and that was confirmed by Blackhawks team physician Michael Terry.

“Jonathan will not participate in the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend in Nashville,” Terry said in a statement. “He was pulled from Tuesday night’s third period because of an illness and remains symptomatic today. At this time, rest over the break is most important for him to properly recover and be fully healthy heading into the rest of the regular season.” Read more

Does Dennis Wideman deserve a 20-game suspension for crosschecking linesman?

Ken Campbell
Dennis Wideman (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

You have to wonder how the NHL Officials’ Association feels about the incident in Calgary Wednesday night involving Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman and linesman Don Henderson. It was a bizarre turn of events, to say the least.

In the second period of the Flames 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, Wideman took a pretty substantial hit in the defensive zone, then picked himself up and, as he made his way to the Flames bench, crosschecked Henderson from behind and sent the linesman tumbling to the ice.

Take a look at the incident here:

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