Vote for Bertuzzday III: Shame with a Vengeance

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For the first time since I started handing out the Bertuzzday award, there isn’t really a “hot button” issue at hand. Sure, there have been some questionable (at best) hits, but not on the atom bomb scale of Matt Cooke or Alex Ovechkin’s transgressions.

That doesn’t mean that I’m just going to roll over and die on this one, gumshoes. As a matter of fact, there is still a treasure trove of boneheaded blunders this week, so check out our nominees and then cast your vote for Bertuzzday III: shame with a vengeance!

Devan Dubnyk’s intestines: This might be as close as I’ll ever get to my dream of reading an injury report that says that someone is “day-to-day with mud butt.” In case you haven’t read it already, Dubnyk is going to need to miss the Oilers’ next game with a gastrointestinal problem. I can relate to Dubes, as Taco Bell’s fresco tacos are making me feel pretty “hour-to-hour” right now.

Rocky Wirtz: Rocky seems like Einstein compared to his father “Dollar” Bill nine times out of ten, but apparently he’s not completely immune to some brain farts. As Brandon reported earlier, the Blackhawks’ owner said that Alex Ovechkin should have been given the Hammurabi Code treatment for his hit on Brian Campbell (in other words, that Ovechkin should have been suspended for the rest of the season). Easy there, Rock.

San Jose Sharks: Most weeks I’ll try to pick on one team that is particularly lost/clueless/rudderless and this week’s nomination is the Sharks. The Coyotes are a fantastic story, but San Jose’s six game free fall is still something that deserves a bit of mockery.

Vinny Prospal: The complaints that the league only looks at dirty hits if a player sustains an injury are quite justified as little was made of Prospal’s hit from behind last Sunday. Still, take a look for yourself: it’s another example of the league’s problems with reckless and unnecessarily dangerous checks.

Other: As always, there’s a chance that I missed a significant blunder. That’s why there’s always a slot to enter your own choice (just try to remember that this is a weekly award, not a lifetime achievement kind of thing).

Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

Here’s the Jurco goal:

Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.

Coach Q thinks Anisimov will be back by playoffs for Blackhawks

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The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.

The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:

The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.

Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.

Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return

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The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.

(Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)

While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.

Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?

Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.

He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.

(Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

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The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.

While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.

With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.