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.
Pavel Datsyuk‘s future with the Detroit Red Wings and in the National Hockey League has been up in the air for a while now, as he’s linked to rumors of a return to Russia and the KHL.
His agent, Dan Milstein, recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that Datsyuk’s future should become clear in mid-June after meeting with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.
As per General Fanager, Datsyuk has one more year left on his current deal, which comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million.
From the Detroit Free Press:
“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein said. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”
Wings general manager Ken Holland has said there are no loopholes. Because Datsyuk signed his last contract after he turned 35, his $7.5 million salary cap hit remains in tact even if Datsyuk departs. The Wings’ only option is to trade his contract to a team such as Arizona or Carolina that could use the hefty cap hit in order to be above the salary cap minimum.
At the age of 37, his career in the league started in 2001-02, and has spanned 953 regular season games in which he’s accrued 918 points.
He’s had a highly decorated career, with two Stanley Cup championships with the Red Wings, three Selke and four Lady Byng trophies.
The St. Louis Blues need to win Game 6 on Wednesday, or their season is over. Who they decide to turn to in net is likely to be a talking point — heated debate, maybe? — leading up to that contest.
Do they go back to Jake Allen for a third consecutive start, despite the fact he allowed four goals on 25 shots in Monday’s Game 5 loss to the San Jose Sharks? Or, will head coach Ken Hitchcock turn once again to Brian Elliott, who started every single game from the series opener of the first round versus Chicago to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
Hitchcock at least felt that going with Allen over Elliott in Game 4 provided the necessary spark for his team, as the Blues evened the series.
But on Monday, the Sharks, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski goals, eventually overpowered the Blues for the win, moving San Jose one victory away from the Stanley Cup Final.
“I thought he was fine. I don’t know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early,” Hitchcock told reporters.
“I don’t know. That’s stuff we’ll talk about tomorrow.”
The San Jose Sharks won a back-and-forth Game 5 to take back the lead in a back-and-forth Western Conference Final, moving one victory away from appearing in the Stanley Cup Final.
After scoring the tying goal late in the second period, Joe Pavelski notched his 12th of the playoffs to give San Jose the lead for good just 16 seconds into the third period.
The Sharks earned a 6-3 victory on the road, in a bounce-back effort from Saturday.
Twice, the Blues grabbed the lead. Troy Brouwer gave them the advantage in the first period, showing off his baseball skills by batting the puck into the net on a rebound. Robby Fabbri gave them another lead in the second period, making Roman Polak pay for snapping on Dmitrij Jaskin along the boards.
But the Blues couldn’t hold on. The Sharks scored twice on three power play opportunities and can now clinch the Western Conference on home ice in Wednesday’s Game 6.
As for the Blues, will Ken Hitchcock change up his starting goaltender again? It’s certainly an aspect of this series that will once again be up for debate leading up to Wednesday’s game.
After Brian Elliott had backstopped the Blues through the first two rounds and started the first three games of this series, Hitchcock decided to start Jake Allen in Game 4.
Allen recorded the win Saturday, and was called upon again in Game 5 as expected, but gave up four goals on 25 shots Monday.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Roman Polak took serious issue with St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin during the second period, as the two eventually threw off the gloves off in a fight in the corner.
In the process, Polak let his emotions get the better of him — he snapped — by also taking a roughing minor to give the Blues a power play.
The Blues made him — and the Sharks — pay on a blast from Robby Fabbri, who was a game-time decision for Monday’s contest.
The Sharks tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the second period on Joe Pavelski‘s 11th of the playoffs. Pavelski struck again in the third period, giving San Jose the 4-3 lead.