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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    Therrien refutes report that Price is likely done for the season

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    Contrary to a report by La Presse newspaper, Montreal head coach Michel Therrien says that Canadiens goalie Carey Price could still play again this season.

    “We know what’s going on with Carey,” Therrien told reporters today. “It takes more time, obviously, than we were expecting. Like I said, he’s working extremely hard and he’s put in a lot of hours to make sure that he’s going to make that comeback. The fact that he’s working extremely hard is not to make sure that he’s going to look good this summer on the beach; he wants to come back and play for the Montreal Canadiens.”

    That being said, Price does not appear close to a return. He’s yet to practice with teammates. He’s yet to even skate in goalie gear.

    The Habs have 27 games left to get back into a playoff spot. They close out the regular season on April 9, less than two months from today.

    Related: With Price possibly done for the season, Scrivens has Dubnyk-like opportunity

    With trade deadline approaching, Canucks announce Edler out 6 weeks, Sutter 6-8 weeks

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    The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they’ll be without defenseman Alex Edler (fractured fibula) for six weeks and center Brandon Sutter (broken jaw that required surgery) for six to eight weeks.

    So basically those two are gone for the remainder of regular season, save for possibly a few games at the tail end of the schedule.

    For a bubble team that doesn’t boast a ton of depth, the injuries are significant. Edler leads the Canucks in ice time, averaging almost 25 minutes per game. Sutter, arguably their best defensive center, already missed a big chunk of games earlier in the season following sports-hernia surgery.

    But GM Jim Benning still isn’t giving up on the playoffs. Yesterday, he went on Vancouver radio and suggested the Canucks could actually be buyers at the trade deadline.

    Benning only has a couple of weeks to decide what to do with pending unrestricted free agents defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata. The trade deadline is Feb. 29.

    The Canucks, currently just two points back of Nashville for the final wild-card spot, have a pair of winnable games coming up. They host Toronto Saturday and Minnesota Monday.

    Related: Preds entering key (and tough) stretch before trade deadline

    Jets activate Pavelec from IR, send Hellebuyck back to minors

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    Winnipeg’s goalie of the future is off to continue his development in the AHL.

    On Friday, the Jets activated veteran netminder Ondrej Pavelec from injured reserve and, in a subsequent move, sent rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck back to their affiliate in Manitoba.

    Hellebuyck, 22, arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare, having starred for Team USA at the 2015 Worlds while being named an AHL All-Star as well.

    This was his first-ever stint with the Jets, and it went OK — Hellebuyck posted an 13-11-1 record, .918 save percentage and 2.34 GAA — but he did struggle of late, getting hooked in two of his last three outings.

    Now, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Pavelec.

    His numbers prior to getting hurt weren’t any better than Hellebuyck’s — .906 save percentage, 2.82 GAA — and there will be considerable rust to knock off, given he’s been out since late November with a knee issue.

    There’s also the long-term implication.

    Pavelec, a lightning rod for criticism over the last few seasons, has one year left on his five-year, $19.5 million extension, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in July of ’17.

    It could be his last season in Winnipeg (assuming he’s not bought out of the final year of his deal), which makes one wonder what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has in store.

    It’s also worth noting there’s a third goalie in this equation: Michael Hutchinson, who’s a pending RFA.

    Kuznetsov passed concussion test, expected to play Saturday

    Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, from Russia, celebrates his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Washington. The Capitals won 5-3. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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    Feel free to breath a sigh of relief, Capitals fans — Evgeny Kuznetsov is okay.

    “During the end of the third period, Evgeny underwent and passed all tests pertaining to the league’s concussion protocol evaluation,” the Caps said today in a statement. “We expect him to take the morning skate tomorrow and play against the Stars later that night.”

    Kuznetsov left last night’s game versus the Wild in the third period after appearing to take the butt-end of Mikael Granlund’s stick to the face.

    Kuznetsov leads the Caps with 54 points.