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).

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.