College player Matt Frattin suspended one game

As much as I’d prefer to stop talking about dirty hits/blindside hits/questionable hits altogether, I’m sure many of you want to stay informed about them. College hockey apparently has its fair share of problems too, judging by the one game suspension North Dakota Sioux (and Maple Leafs prospect) Matt Fratin received for his hit on Minnesota’s Kevin Wehrs.

We actually touched on the Fratin hit briefly yesterday but didn’t devote an entire post to it. Now seems like a good time to bring it to light. Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy posted video of the hit, along with a little background on Frattin and the decision to suspend him.

Frattin, you may recall, has had a checkered past year at North Dakota. In July, he was arrested, along with Washington Capitals prospect Joe Finley(notes) for “throwing cups, plates, a kitchen table and a lawnmower onto a Grand Forks street” in the middle of the night. He was given a 10-day suspended sentence and put on probation for the incident. Weeks later, Frattin was dismissed from the hockey team after being arrested and charged with a DUI. On December 30th, he was reinstated to the team by North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol and acquitted of the DUI charge in early February.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod told North Dakota that the league felt the hit warranted supplemental punishment aside from the five-minute major, but declined to specify any exact reasoning for the one-game suspension, saying: “I don’t want to get into specific things. There were a number of factors that went into it, though. It wasn’t one single thing.” Herald reporter Brad Elliott Schlossman posted three screen caps of the hit on his blog showing Frattin’s skate remaining on the ice as the hit was being delivered, but the amount of distance he traveled skating towards Wehrs is what drew the “charging” call.

It’s hits like these that occasionally make it difficult to accept the moral conundrum of being a hockey fan. The speed and inherent violence of the game can no doubt be exciting, but reconciling the fact that these are human beings putting their health on the line is difficult. Especially when the players involved aren’t even paid to do so professionally.

From what I’ve read, Wehrs didn’t play the rest of the game so hopefully he didn’t suffer any major injuries.

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    Canucks name new head coach of AHL affiliate

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    The Vancouver Canucks have finally settled on a head coach for their AHL affiliate.

    Today, Trent Cull was named new bench boss of the Utica Comets.

    Cull replaces Travis Green, the new head coach of the Canucks.

    “Trent is a passionate head coach with significant AHL experience,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a release. “He understands the development path of a young player, including the challenges they face, and has been a part of many successful organizations. Trent is a teacher with a positive, energetic work ethic. We’re excited to welcome him and his family to our organization.”

    The past four seasons, Cull has been an assistant coach for AHL Syracuse. The Crunch made it all the way to the 2017 Calder Cup Final, where they lost to Grand Rapids.

    Cull, 43, has never been a head coach in the AHL, though he did hold that role for three years with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves from 2010-13.

    It’s believed the Canucks’ first choice for the Utica job was Rocky Thompson. However, Thompson chose instead to become head coach of Vegas’ AHL affiliate in Chicago.

    Construction worker dies after fall at Detroit arena

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    DETROIT (AP) A worker has died after falling 75 feet at the Little Caesars Arena worksite north of downtown Detroit.

    Deputy Detroit Fire Commissioner David Fornell says the 46-year-old man was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

    Other workers had started cardiopulmonary resuscitation which first responders continued. The man was taken to a Detroit hospital where he was pronounced dead.

    Fornell says officials were told the man was an electrical worker and may have fallen from a catwalk. He says the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration likely will investigate.

    The arena will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the NBA’s Pistons. It is scheduled to open this fall.

    More on the story from the Detroit Free Press

    Habs extend De La Rose — one year, $725,000

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    Montreal secured some forward depth on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Jacob De La Rose.

    De La Rose, 22, was taken 34th overall at the 2013 draft and has appeared in 64 games for Montreal over the last three seasons. He had a nice debut for the club in ’14-15 — appearing in 33 regular-season contests, and 12 playoff games — but has since spent the majority of his time in AHL St. John’s.

    That might not be the case moving forward, however.

    De La Rose’s deal is worth $725,000 (per TSN) and, importantly, is of the one-way variety. There could be more opportunities at forward next season. Montreal has already said it’ll pass on bringing back UFAs Brian Flynn and Dwight King, and it’s unclear if the club will get a deal done with Alexander Radulov.

    It’s also unclear what GM Marc Bergevin plans to do with Alex Galchenyuk, who’s been the subject of numerous trade rumors.

    Even after bad season in Buffalo, Kulikov generating strong interest as UFA

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    Dmitry Kulikov had a bad season in Buffalo. There’s no debating that.

    Not only did the defenseman struggle statistically, finishing minus-26 with just two goals and three assists, he also had trouble staying healthy, appearing in just 47 games for the Sabres.

    But despite all that, Kulikov seems to be generating plenty of interest as an unrestricted free agent. Presumably, the hope among his many suitors is that he can bounce back, so long as he’s put in a better situation.

    Kulikov is still just 26. And before he was traded to Buffalo a year ago, he’d had a number of respectable seasons with the Florida Panthers.

    It’s why the Sabres were so happy to get him.

    “He’s a good player,” then-GM Tim Murray said last June, per NHL.com. “I like guys that are honest, I like guys that are hard to play against, I certainly like guys that can make a tape-to-tape pass, and with our forwards, I think if he can make a tape-to-tape pass, good things are going to happen in transition with the skill and speed we already have here, so he’s just a great fit.”

    Of course, it wasn’t a great fit, and Murray is no longer the GM.

    As for Kulikov, there’s “about a dozen” interested teams, according to his agent. Ottawa and Winnipeg are believed to be among them.