Finally, the league has given out a suspension with some teeth: James Wisniewski reportedly received an eight game suspension for his indefensible hit on Brent Seabrook today. (According to ChiBlackhawks) Really, in my opinion, the league could have given him 20 games and I would feel fine about it.
We’ve discussed this hit extensively already today, as you may know. Brandon refuted the Anaheim Ducks’ asinine comments here. I discussed the hit being part of a brutal week for Chicago here.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie also had a great take on the dirty check, calling it a “grand slam” of illegal hits.
Charging? Check. Interference? Check. Boarding? Check. Throw in the predatory aspect of the hit, the seeming malice and forethought to avenge an earlier play and I would say Wisniewski hit this one out of the park.
It had a vaguely Downie-esque feel to it (see Steve Downie’s charging and high hit on Dean McAmmond).
My first thought was that with so many illegal elements to it, it would make sense for the NHL have to an in-person disciplinary hearing and a suspension of five or more games. A day after the fact, I don’t feel any differently.
Whether you say Wisniewski was standing up for his teammate or not, he took plenty of strides and hit Seabrook when the defenseman didn’t even have the puck. It was one of the worst hits I’ve seen lately in what has been a parade of dirty plays and is particularly dim-witted considering the fact that the league is on red alert for this sort of thing.
Besides, say what you will about Corey Perry, he could have stood up for himself if he had a problem with Seabrook’s initial (legal) hit.
Honestly, I cannot help but wonder if even eight games is a little light. Sooner or later, the league needs to stand its ground and make an example out of someone. Maybe it can be like one of those “fifth caller wins $1,000” deals: the next player who puts another player’s career at risk with an illegal hit gets an early vacation.
What else is going to stop this perpetual loop of dirty hits?
All signs pointed to it happening earlier in the day, but it is now official: Sidney Crosby is making his 2016-17 debut on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Florida Panthers.
Crosby, the captain of the Penguins and the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, missed the first six games of the season due to a concussion. He was injured during practice following the World Cup of Hockey where he led Canada to a championship. Given how much time he missed a few years ago with a concussion only missing six games a positive development for both him and the Penguins.
Crosby will open the game skating on the Penguins’ top line alongside wingers Patric Hornqvist and Scott Wilson.
Along with Crosby return to the lineup, goaltender Matt Murray is also in uniform for the Penguins for the first time this season and will serve as Marc-Andre Fleury‘s backup.
Murray, who took over the starting job in the playoffs last year when Fleury was sidelined at the start of the first round, was injured at the World Cup while playing for Team North America and has been sidelined since.
Even with the return of Crosby and Murray on Tuesday the Penguins are still missing a pretty significant player as defenseman Kris Letang remains sidelined with an upper body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. This match-up features two teams off to slow starts and looking to work their way up the standings in their respective divisions.
You can check out the action on NBCSN or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (7:30 pm ET).
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Flyers put Raffl (upper body) on IR
NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks
Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart
After missing the last week with an upper-body ailment, Flyers forward Michael Raffl has been placed on injured reserve.
To fill his spot, the Flyers recalled Taylor Leier from AHL Lehigh Valley.
Raffl, 27, has appeared in three games this season, scoring once while averaging 12:21 TOI per night. He hasn’t suited up since a 7-4 loss to Chicago on Oct. 18, failing to suit up for Thursday’s loss to Anaheim, Saturday’s win over Carolina and yesterday’s 3-1 defeat in Montreal.
The Flyers are taking on Buffalo tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Philly could make this IR designation retroactive to last Tuesday, which is when Raffl last played. It’s unclear how GM Ron Hextall will handle Raffl’s $2.35 million cap hit with regards to IR, but he’ll need to do some adjusting soon once injured defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forward Scott Laughton get back in the mix.
14 — The number of shorthanded goals surrendered by the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, this topic has been beaten to death already, but for good reason. The next highest number in the NHL is eight, courtesy the Calgary Flames. It’s just very unlike the ‘Hawks. Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson, two of the best defenders in the game, have been on the ice for nine PP goals against! Jonathan Toews, one of the best defensive forwards ever, hasn’t fared much better; he’s been on for seven.
9 — The number of power-play goals scored by the Nashville Predators. A pretty remarkable stat, especially considering the Preds have just two wins in their first five games. That kind of PP production can’t be counted on to continue, so they’d better improve at five-on-five. Also, avoid the soup in Detroit. It’ll getcha every time.
17 — The total number of goals scored in all five New Jersey Devils games. And in case you thought that was low, two of those goals came in overtime. So far, the highest-scoring game the Devils have experienced was a 3-2 loss in Tampa Bay, with each of the other four finishing with a score of 2-1. Average number of goals per game this season? Just 3.4.
7.4 — The average number of goals scored in an Ottawa Senators game. In other words, the Sens have a new coach, but not much has changed. Ottawa has played five games and has yet to give up fewer than three goals. Fun to watch, though.
-7.6 — The average shot differential for the Colorado Avalanche, who’ve still managed to win three of their first five. The Avs have only outshot one opponent so far, by just two shots in their season-opener against Dallas. In their last three games, they’ve been outshot by a combined margin of 105-62. To be fair, all three of those were on the road against tough teams, but lots of work left for Jared Bednar, too.