The Jonathan Cheechoo experiment in Dallas is over. The Stars announced their list of cuts today and Cheechoo’s name was on it. The former 50-goal scorer was getting a tryout with the Stars this year to see if he could recapture his scoring touch that once made him the big man in San Jose, but after failed seasons with San Jose and then Ottawa last year, it appears that Cheechoo’s days in the NHL are numbered.
Dallas head coach Marc Crawford was at least complimentary of Cheechoo’s game upon sending him packing as Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas tells us.
“He’s a good player, he’s played well but you’ve got to be better than the people that we’ve got in the top positions,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “No disrespect, but our guys in the top positions said to us that no one is taking our spot. You really have to outplay somebody. It’s unfortunate, but that’s where it is.
“Jonathan is a good pro and is a real honest person. He gave us great effort and we could have very easily kept him, but we felt it would be better to let him try to find something else.”
While Cheechoo could catch on elsewhere, the question becomes: Will he? Cheechoo finished last season playing in AHL Binghamton after not getting it done with Ottawa and after being moved there in the Dany Heatley trade, it makes it a hard sell for any team to take a chance on him.
Guys who see their production fall off a cliff like they have with Cheechoo don’t usually get more than a couple chances to find that touch once again. Perhaps Cheechoo can catch on with someone in the AHL once again or find a job in Europe to get his game going once again. If it can be recaptured in the first place, that is.
(Photo: Ronald Martinez – Getty Images)
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.