NHL postpones Maple Leafs/Senators game after Parliament Hill shootings

Matt Larkin
Ottawa's home arena, the Canadian Tire Centre. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

It’s a horrific day for Canada, as a shooting tragedy has shaken the nation’s capital.

At least one gunman opened fire at Ottawa’s National War Memorial Wednesday morning, wounding a soldier, who was later pronounced dead. The assailant then moved to Parliament Hill, firing upon and wounding a security guard before the assailant was killed, reportedly by the Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms.

Police continued a hectic chase after the incident and more shots were fired, suggesting multiple attackers may still be on the loose. Parliament itself and an increasingly large portion of the downtown core is on lockdown as police continue their pursuit. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was safely moved away from Parliament Hill and out of harm’s way.

The Hockey News’ thoughts are with the citizens of Ottawa and anyone affected by these atrocities. It feels trivial to bring hockey into the discussion, but it’s our job to tell you everything you need to know about the sport.

UPDATE: The NHL has officially postponed tonight’s game. It posted the following on its website:

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Slava Voynov’s lawyer says, ‘there was no crime here’

Ken Campbell
Slava Voynov (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The lawyer for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov said he interviewed the victim of Voynov’s alleged domestic abuse incident for more than an hour Tuesday and, “it’s clear to me there was no crime here,” and doubts his client will even be charged with an offense.

Craig Renetzky, a criminal lawyer who is representing Voynov in the matter, said the language barrier, both on the part of Voynov and the alleged victim, has created a misunderstanding and that the victim’s injuries that caused her to be hospitalized were the result of an accident. Voynov was arrested early Monday morning at a Los Angeles area hospital after staff at the hospital notified police of a possible domestic abuse case. Voynov was immediately suspended indefinitely by the NHL, but has yet to be charged with anything pending a police investigation. Read more

Should the Pens re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury before the playoffs? Of course not

Adam Proteau
Marc-Andre Fleury (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

In somewhat of a surprising move, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told ESPN.com Tuesday that Marc-Andre Fleury’s future as goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins is secure:

“As long as I’m GM here, he’s my goalie,” Rutherford said. “My plan is to re-sign him when the time is right. When that is, I don’t know, if it’s during the year or after the year, but I do want to re-sign him. I believe in him.”

It’s tempting to file this under the “What Do You Expect Him To Say?” category, but let’s assume Rutherford isn’t just making this bold statement as a confidence-booster for Fleury as he enters this especially pressure-packed year and may actually re-sign the 29-year-old before his contract expires. Then let’s ask the question that would be begged by such a move:

Why? Why would you recommit to a goaltender who, since he won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2009, had four straight seasons of sub-.900 save percentages in the playoffs? Last year, Fleury’s SP improved to .915, but even then, that number is deceiving: a pair of shutouts against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinal inflated his SP, but out of 13 games he played for the Pens in two rounds, Fleury posted a SP at or below the modest .900 level seven times.

And you’re telling me this is the kind of asset who deserves a vote of approval in the form of a contract extension before the playoffs even roll around? Sorry, but I don’t get it. Read more

The Philadelphia Flyers can’t be this bad, can they?

Ryan Kennedy
Steve Mason (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers are keeping Carolina company at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and though nothing is really surprising in that grouping, Philly clearly has the talent to be more than a basement dweller, no? Through six games, the Flyers have just one win. The underlying numbers say they’re due for a break. The eye test says they need to shape up.

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Alex Pietrangelo’s tender tribute to his brave niece will warm your heart

Adam Proteau
Alex Pietrangelo (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

For St. Louis Blues star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the decision to shave his head this week was easy: it was for his five-year-old niece, Ellie Kannel, who was battling a rare cancer.

In the off-season, Pietrangelo used his Twitter account to discuss Ellie’s diagnosis: she had a Wilms tumor, a kidney cancer that mainly affects children. And since she was undergoing chemotherapy, Pietrangelo cut his hair in a show of support:
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Nathan Horton’s potentially career-threatening injury a blow to Jackets’ playoff hopes

Adam Proteau
Nathan Horton (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

After he signed a seven-year, $37.1-million contract with the Blue Jackets in the summer of 2013, right winger Nathan Horton appeared in only 36 games thanks to injuries to his shoulder and abdomen last season. And Tuesday night, there was even worse news coming out of Columbus: the 29-year-old is dealing with a degenerative back injury that might be career ending.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Horton, who has experienced back issues for several years, felt the problem worsen this summer while training in Florida and has been diagnosed with a serious degeneration of the lower back area. He may be out of action for at least this season, if not for good. There is a surgery he can undergo to address it, but it’s viewed as a last resort and offers no guarantee of success.

“He’s in constant pain,” Horton’s agent Paul Krepelka told the Dispatch. “He’s in constant discomfort.”

The majority of Horton’s $5.3-million-per-season salary will be covered by insurance and he can be placed on long term injured reserve to free up cap space with which to replace him. But that’s easier said than done for Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Read more

Rockstar Rask: Bruins goalie lights up the stage

Jared Clinton
Tuukka Rask

There are a lot of things you may not know about Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. For instance, he’s got a habit of taking shootout losses poorly. He also served in the Finnish military. Also, did you know Rask has beaten every single team in the NHL at least once?

If you didn’t – and hey, even if you did – now you can watch him beat something that’s not your favorite NHL team: a drum set alongside Buffalo band the Mustn’ts. Read more

Calder-eligible Tanner Pearson doing more with less than anyone on the Kings

Ken Campbell
Tanner Pearson (left) and Tyler Toffoli (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It’s a very small sample size, but if Tanner Pearson continues the torrid pace he’s set through the first six games of the season, a replica of the Calder Trophy will be sitting on his mantle next summer.

And this begs two questions. The first is: Why on Earth doesn’t Darryl Sutter play him more? And the second is: Is it fair that Pearson is eligible for the Calder Trophy in the first place? Read more