NHL Round Up: Busy time in the Big Show

Mason McTavish has picked up an injury (PHOTO: NHL)

By Georgia McCann

After a crazy opening week to the season which has included even a Marcus Foligno Superman punch, week two was no less wild. Let’s have a look at the top headlines.

INJURIES

  • After becoming the California club’s youngest ever goal scorer, Anaheim Ducks fans will be gutted to see Mason McTavish ruled out. The exciting prospect, picked third overall in last year’s draft, left Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames with a lower body injury. There is no timetable for his return just yet.
  • The Ducks forward corps have also been hit with an injury to Max Jones. The American has suffered a torn pectoral muscle and will miss 4-6 weeks.
  • The San Jose Sharks have also been handed a lengthy absence with their defenceman Nikolai Knyzhov confirmed  to miss between 8 and 10 weeks.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning’s firepower has taken a severe dent, with elite winger Nikita Kucherov placed on injured reserve with a groin injury. Coach Jon Cooper has referred to it as ‘definitely not a day-to-day thing’ and that the Russian will ‘be out for a while’.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust remains out with his lower-body injury. He is week-to-week.
  • Former Penguin shot stopper Matt Murray is week-to-week with a neck injury. His Ottawa Senators teammate Shane Pinto will miss around one to two weeks with an upper body injury.
Drew Doughty could be out for a while for LA (PHOTO: NHL)
  • Following a knee on knee collision, LA Kings star Drew Doughty will be out for a while. Initially the injury looked serious but tests confirm the defenceman has likely suffered a knee sprain, with no ligament damage detected. The Dallas Stars’ Jani Hakanpaa received a game misconduct for his role in the collision, but no supplementary punishment was awarded
  • Vegas Golden Knights’ Zach Whitecloud has suffered a lower body injury and will be week-to-week
  • After hitting the ice hard on his shoulder, New Jersey Devils’ centre Jack Hughes will be out indefinitely with a dislocated shoulder. A real shame for the third year pro, who was beginning to show some of the star quality many had expected in previous seasons
  • Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi has been ruled out for two to four weeks with a broken rib. Another blow, as like Hughes, Domi was hitting his stride
  • Edmonton Oilers’ goaltender Mike Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury leaving the Oilers having to call up Edmonton native Stuart Skinner.
  • Fellow goalie Chris Driedger has joined Smith on injured reserve. The Seattle Kraken shot stopper’s injury is undisclosed.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Nick Robertson is out around 10 weeks with a broken leg. Currently in the AHL, Robertson was expected to see game time for the big club this season, so it must be a devastating knock to the youngster’s progress this season.
Radek Faksa’s bank account is $5,000 lighter (PHOTO: NHL)

SUSPENSIONS & FINES

  • The Vancouver Canucks have suspended Travis Hamonic without pay indefinitely after the defenceman failed to report to the AHL. It is believed Hamonic has personal matters to attend to but as he chose to pass on opting out of the season before the deadline, the Canucks are able to take action and remove his $3m cap hit from the books
  • Following a slash on the Senators’ German youngster Tim Stützle, the Dallas’ Radek Faksa was fined $5k
  • Flames defenceman Rasmus Anderson also was hit with a $5k fine, his for roughing
  • Flyers forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel was fined $2,687.50 for kneeing Florida Panther Mason Marchment
  • Fellow Panther Joe Thornton has however been fined. His punishment of $1,875 was due to slashing Tampa’s Boris Katchouk
  • Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was fined $1k for tripping the Minnesota Wild’s Joel Eriksen Ek
  • St Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich was suspended for two games for headbutting Arizona Coyotes’ Lawson Crouse. At the time of the offence he also received a game misconduct.

WAIVERS, REASSIGNMENTS & CONTRACT TERMINATIONS

  • The New York Islanders and the Oilers have respectively placed Dmytro Timashov and Kirill Maksimov on waivers for the purpose of contract termination. The Russians are both now free agents
  • After failing to report to his ECHL assignment, Ivan Lodnia has been suspended by the Wild without pay
  • Leo Komarov (Islanders), Cole Perfetti (Winnipeg Jets), Glen Gawdin (Calgary), Nic Petan (Vancouver), Cody Glass (Nashville Predators), Alex Belzile (Montreal Canadiens) and Colton White (Devils) have all been been sent down to the AHL
  • Alex Barre-Boulet, who featured last week as a waiver pick up for Seattle, was again sent down. However Tampa reclaimed him and he has returned to Florida.
Mikko Lehtonen has left for the KHL (PHOTO: NHL)

LEHTONEN & ANISIMOV LEAVE FOR THE KHL

As reported last week, Mikko Lehtonen had his contract terminated by the Blue Jackets for failing to report to the AHL. He has since signed a four year deal with SKA St Petersburg of the KHL.

Artem Anisimov, who was a free agent after been released by the Senators, has returned  home. He has signed a one year deal to join Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which is the team he played his junior hockey for and joined in the 2012 lockout.

JIMMY HAYES CAUSE OF DEATH CONFIRMED BY THE FAMILY

Following the tragic death of former Boston Bruin and New Jersey Devil, Jimmy Hayes, his family have confirmed the cause of death. Hayes, the older brother of Flyers star Kevin Hayes, was confirmed to have had cocaine and fentanyl in his blood, which contributed to the 31 year old’s death. Hopefully this serves a wake up call for the NHL, who has seen many players suffer from the same pain killer struggles as Hayes did.

EVANDER KANE OUTCOME REVEALED

The NHL has confirmed that San Jose Sharks winger, Evander Kane, has been suspended without pay for 21 games. He will next be available for the game against New Jersey on 30th November.

Kane has been found to have breached COVID-19 protocol, after using a fake vaccination card. The NHL also conducted investigations into allegations of domestic abuse, but could not substantiate the claims.

The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz has suggested that Kane is not welcome anymore in the Sharks locker room and quotes from various teammates seem to confirm this. However, San Jose cannot simply terminate his contract, so a trade or potentially a demotion may have to be required. Alternatively, the California side could wait until the end of the season and buy out his contract.

KRAVSTOV SPARKING LEAGUE-WIDE INTEREST

As reported last week, New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravstov has asked for a trade and it seems almost the entire league would be willing to acquire him. Nick Kypreos has revealed around 15 teams have at least expressed an interest, but at a minimum it is thought the Rangers want a top prospect and will not budge on their valuation of the young Russian.

DYLAN STROME POSSIBLY AVAILABLE?

The rumour mill has been fired up over Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome, after the Canadian was spotted practicing with a healthy scratch jersey at the beginning of the week. The Rangers are reportedly interested, which could see Strome reuniting with his brother Ryan and the Ducks, who are on the lookout for centre depth, are also keen. However the Senators, who have been hoping to acquire a top six centre, have cooled their interest.

32 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER

In the first home game in Seattle Kraken history, the number 32 rose to prominence again. Not only is the Kraken the 32nd NHL franchise, the Washington state side saw 32,000 season tickets ordered for their inaugural season. Those lucky fans who were able to secure seats saw the number 32 retired to acknowledge the club’s supporters and were treated to the first ever Kraken home goal, with Vince Dunn scoring with 3.2 seconds left in the period.

Could Katie Guay be NHL bound? (PHOTO: AP Photo/Winslow Townson, FIle)

FIRST FEMALE REFEREE IN THE AHL

It is always great to see the glass ceiling being shattered and this week we saw just that. Katie Guay became the first woman to officiate an AHL game, when she donned the zebra stripes for the clash between Leigh Valley Phantoms and Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins. Hopefully, the first of many female referees, not just in the AHL but the NHL also!

PENGUINS AND BLACKHAWKS ATTENDANCE STREAKS SNAPPED

The attendance streaks of two major contenders of recent years ended within days of each other this week. October 16th saw the Penguins full house attendance end, which lasted 610 games and 14 years.  The team that streak started against, the Blackhawks, then saw their own end shortly after, at 535 games.

The Penguins are in good form and Pittsburgh could easily blame the financial impact of COVID-19 on fans’ wallets, plus the lack of stars in the current line-up. However, the excuses aren’t as easy to find for the winless Blackhawks who are enduring a terrible skid and were booed off the ice against the Detroit Red Wings.

MAPLE LEAFS LEARN TO RELAX

After Arizona native Auston Matthews voiced his support for the Coyotes decision to switch their game day dress code from formal to smart casual, his side, the Maple Leafs, have followed suit. It’s unlikely you’ll see players turning up to the Scotiabank Arena in as relaxed outfits as the playoff bubble in 2020. However the Leafs have some sharp and interesting dressers, so keep an eye out for some great outfits.

TAMPA GET THEIR RINGS

Tampa Bay revealed their Stanley Cup champs were given their rings on Thursday. The large rings, crafted by Jostens out of 14-carat white gold and a total of 214 individual diamonds, contains the following details:

  • The front of the ring has 11 baguette sapphires underneath STANLEY CUP and CHAMPIONS, written above and below the logo respectively. A further 30 custom cut sapphires make up the Lightning’s famous bolt logo in the centre, with 45 baguette diamonds surrounding the club crest. 56 diamonds make up the rest of the ring’s  top
  • The top opens up to reveal some personal additions. One half states ‘Last Day of School’ surrounded by the squad numbers of the team, reflecting how the players felt it would be their swan song as a group. The other side includes coach Jon Cooper’s inspiring locker room words and Nikita Kucherov’s infamous post-Cup win press conference #1BS. This is completed with the players mantra of CUP, PARADE, REPEAT.
  • One side of the ring includes the word LIGHTNING and the back to back cups the team has won, with a dedication to the fans at the bottom. The other has the player’s jersey number in a circle of skate marks, with TAMPA BAY and the players name. The outer connecting side has BACK-TO-BACK. In total there are 214 diamonds on the side of the ring
  • Finally the inside, which is where the jeweller has included the important stats. The team’s playoff record, Andrew Vasilevskiy’s 5 shutouts and each playoff round result is detailed. Here, the ring also includes the player’s signature

KOVALCHUK RETURNS TO THE RED MACHINE

Russian legend, Ilya Kovalchuk, has been named as the general manager of the country’s Olympic team. The former Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils star was a surprise announcement, as he is yet to formally retire from playing and has never held a front office or coaching role. However, it is believed that the Russian camp consider Kovalchuk’s unique in-depth knowledge of both the NHL and KHL to be too good to pass up on. Should Kovalchuk manage to make a name for himself with a team vying for gold, he could put himself in pole position ob for a top management role, in Russia at least.

Kotkaniemi was in a trolling mood (PHOTO: NHL)

AND FINALLY…

After successfully offer sheeting Jesperi Kotkaniemi, it seems the Carolina Hurricanes can’t stop winding up the Canadiens. After Carolina inflicted a home loss on the Habs, in which Kotkaniemi scored his first Hurricanes goal, a ‘Did The Habs Lose?’ website was set up by the club. Fans could get a shirt with Sebastian Aho or Kotkaniemi’s name and number for $20.00, using the code ‘Oui’. The website was only up for 24 hours but not bad for a Hurricanes fan if you were able to snag a shirt!

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