Preds’ James Neal first player to be named & shamed under NHL’s anti-diving push

Adam Proteau
James Neal (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

It is something of an understatement to say Predators winger James Neal has a reputation among NHL players and officials, and it isn’t a good one. Even before he was dealt to Nashville this summer, he became infamous for embellishing and vicious episodes.

So it wasn’t in the least bit eyebrow-raising to hear Neal was the first NHLer publicly named and fined under the NHL’s new anti-diving legislation. He had already received a warning after a Nov. 13 game against St. Louis, but apparently the message didn’t sink in. Because even the most ardent Preds fan who’s being honest with themselves would have to admit the play for which Neal is being fined (which took place Dec. 13 against the Sharks) is laughably blatant diving: Read more

Police say Voynov punched, kicked, choked wife; case will go to trial

Jared Clinton
Slava Voynov's salary will no longer count as part of L.A.'s cap hit while he is suspended. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

During a preliminary hearing, a Rendondo Beach, Calif. police officer has testified that Slava Voynov’s wife told police the suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman punched, kicked, and choked her.

The testimony stated that Voynov’s wife was left with a cut over her eye, red marks and scratches on her neck, and was also pushed to the ground repeatedly. Voynov has been charged with a felony count of corporal injury to spouse with great bodily injury.

Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times was in court, reporting the testimony as it happened.

(Warning: The reported information is graphic.) Read more

Dennis Seidenberg on Jonathan Toews: NHL can’t win on this one

Ken Campbell
Dennis Seidenberg and Jonathan Toews (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

You’d have to think Stephane Quintal knew there would be days like these when he agreed to replace Brendan Shanahan in the top job in the NHL’s department of player safety. Quintal is truly between a Hawk and a hard place today. Whether he and his department decide to further discipline Dennis Seidenberg for his hit on Jonathan Toews Thursday night, he’ll be criticized.

If he allows Seidenberg off the hook, which looks like it will be the case, he’ll be accused of allowing stars to risk injury by not penalizing dangerous hits on vulnerable players. If he applies further sanctions to Seidenberg, he’ll be accused of trying to remove hitting from the game and turning it into the No Hitting League. Read more

Jonathan Toews suffers apparent head injury on brutal hit – so why was he playing immediately after?

Adam Proteau
Jonathan Toews (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

You want to believe the medical officials entrusted with NHL players’ health are always erring on the side of caution. Then you see Jonathan Toews returning to play immediately after taking an absolutely brutal hit from Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg Thursday, and the doubts don’t creep in – they stampede over you.

The Blackhawks captain and NHL star was driven headfirst into the boards at an awkward angle by Seidenberg midway through the second period of Chicago’s game against the host Bruins, and the result was enough to turn your stomach regardless of whether you’re a Hawks fan:

We can sit here and argue about the cleanliness of the hit itself – and the play will be reviewed by the league – but the fact Chicago’s medical staff and coaches allowed Toews to play his next shift is even more troubling. If this wasn’t the time to have Toews – a superstar who has a history of concussions – sent to the quiet room to be evaluated, then there isn’t ever a good time to do so. But what likely happened was the Hawks trainer asked Toews if he was good enough to continue with his next shift – and, just as every NHLer has been conditioned over the course of his life to answer, Toews said yes. He eventually left the game, but the sight of a star player being left open to additional injury (and perhaps an early end to his career) because nobody had the stones to tell him to get off the ice for his own good was and is deeply disturbing.

Even if you presume Toews wasn’t in a haze and knew full well what he was saying, his word alone isn’t good enough for him to continue playing after a hit like that. Read more

Stars’ Ryan Garbutt suspended three games for slew foot on Jets’ Byfuglien

Jared Clinton
garbutt-183654888

The NHL announced on Thursday that they have suspended Dallas Stars’ winger Ryan Garbutt for three games after a slew-footing incident on Tuesday night.

On the play he was suspended for, Garbutt, who has been under some scrutiny from coach Lindy Ruff for his lack of discipline, took down Winnipeg Jets winger Dustin Byfuglien, using both his legs and upper body to throw the bulky forward to the ice. In the suspension video from the Department of Player Safety, Director of Player Safety Patrick Burke outlines the reasons for the suspension: Read more

Suspend him or not: Matt Martin’s elbow on Wild defenseman Keith Ballard

Adam Proteau
Matt Martin (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Islanders left winger Matt Martin has made a name for himself as the NHL’s annual hits leader for the past few seasons. However, Martin’s hit on Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard Tuesday resulted in a horrendous on-ice scene and could result in disciplinary action being taken against him.

Ballard had just made a pass midway through the game when Martin attempted to finish a check on him. Ballard turns away in an attempt to avoid it, but Martin’s left elbow follows through and makes contact with Ballard’s head, knocking his head directly into the boards and rendering him unconscious. Read more

Suspend him or not: Evander Kane’s hit from behind on Clayton Stoner

Jared Clinton
EKane

Evander Kane would probably be the first to tell you 2014-15 hasn’t gone quite to plan.

After an injury took him out of the season opener, the Winnipeg Jets winger was sidelined for several games. When he returned from injury, the Kane struggled to score. Now, 20 games into his campaign, he may be looking at a few games on the sideline thanks to a hit from behind on Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner on Sunday: Read more

Junior goalie Storm Phaneuf suspended nine games for kicking player with skate

Jared Clinton
Storm Phaneuf featured

The Quebec League announced yesterday that Chicoutimi Sagueneens goaltender Storm Phaneuf has been suspended for a total of nine games after kicking an opponent in the chest.

Phaneuf – no relation to Dion, if you were wondering – kicked an opponent during a Nov. 30 contest against the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The kick struck the felled Voltigeur in the chest: Read more