Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky missed Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues because he was serving a one-game suspension for a cross check he delivered to Sidney Crosby’s neck. That doesn’t mean Dubinsky is going to change the way he plays, though.
Dubinsky told The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline Sunday that when he returns to the lineup, he’s “not going to change” anything about his game. And when lining up across from Crosby, Dubinsky said he’s going to continue to play the Penguins’ superstar hard.
“Like I said before, I’m not trying to crosscheck a guy in the neck, regardless of what anybody else thinks,” Dubinsky told Portzline. “I’m going to play him hard, I’m going to play him as physical as I can, and I’m going to play as clean as I can. But I’ll make it a tough night on him.” Read more
Didn’t last season give Olli Maatta a career’s worth of bad luck already? The talented young Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman, 21, dealt with cancer, a case of the mumps and a shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery.
The Pens eased Maatta back into this season, playing him only 16:46 a night in his first 17 games, but at least he was healthy. He chipped in a pair of goals and four points, too.
Then came this unfortunate accident Tuesday night, in which, after a shove from Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter, Maatta fell into the Consol Energy Center boards just as Wild backup goalie Darcy Kuemper opened the bench door.
In 13 years as Editor-in-Chief of The Hockey News, I’ve made a ton of suggestions on how to improve the game. You’d almost think I didn’t like it.
The truth is, I feel it’s part of my job to help stimulate conversation and debate. While hockey is still pretty darned fantastic, nothing is perfect.
What follows is a list of various things I’ve suggested, conceived, advocated or supported during my baker’s dozen years in my ivory tower.
At Tuesday’s GM meetings in Toronto, it was reported that Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive vice president and director of hockey operations, had said the first fine for diving in 2015-16 was imminent and should be announced within a few days. Friday, the NHL dropped the hammer on Detroit Red Wings right winger Teemu Pulkkinen.
Pulkkinen has been hit with a $2,000 fine by the league as supplementary discipline for a dive that occurred in Sunday’s game against the Dallas Stars. The dive, which can be seen below, came in the first period of the contest when Pulkinnen fell to the ice after Colton Sceviour delivered a stick check from behind: Read more
During what is now a Hall of Fame career, Nicklas Lidstrom garnered so much respect that he earned the nickname, The Perfect Human. Not The Perfect Hockey Player. Not The Perfect Defenseman. The Perfect Human. People called Chris Pronger lots of things during what is now a Hall of Fame career, too. None of them is suitable for publication on a website that might be viewed by young people. Many of those words begin with the letter ‘F’.
It was not easy to play the game the way Lidstrom did, but he made it look that way. Playing the game and preparing for it the way Lidstrom meticulously did and maintaining a ridiculously high standard on and off the ice presented its fair share of challenges. But it’s also not easy going to the opposing rink from the time you’re a kid and knowing that you’re going to be the most hated guy there. But like Lidstrom, Pronger embraced his role and status. Lidstrom wore the white hat and Pronger donned the black, and both of them managed to do it while becoming two of the most dominant defensemen of their generation.
This is one of those times when working for the Department of Player Safety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In the Anaheim-Florida game Wednesday night, Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic possibly knocked Ducks forward Rickard Rakell out of the game with this hit in the first period.
It seemed no player in any arena in any game Tuesday night was safe from a questionable hit. Alex Ovechkin, Zac Rinaldo and Anze Kopitar all found themselves on the receiving ends.
First, the Washington Capitals’ Ovie took a spear to the groin from New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal:
The Dustin Byfuglien hit on Brendan Gallagher creates a nice opportunity for some education on player safety and how suspensions happen.
The social media assumption after Winnipeg’s Byfuglien appeared to club Montreal’s Gallagher with a high hit Sunday night was that Byfuglien had a lengthy ban from the NHL headed his way. After all, he’d been suspended four games late last season for a crosscheck to the head of New York Rangers center J.T. Miller. Another illegal check to the head would easily place Byfuglien under the repeat offender category according to the collective bargaining agreement and the Department of Player Safety.
The catch here, though, is that none of that history was relevant if Byfuglien’s hit on Gallagher was deemed unworthy of supplemental discipline. And that’s exactly what happened Tuesday after the league’s hearing with Byfuglien. No one can explain the rationale better than the DOPS itself, so here’s the video with player safety director Patrick Burke narrating: