Last week we saw Minnesota forward Antti Miettinen take a wicked hit from Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown while Miettinen was in a vulnerable position shooting the puck. Brown was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit for being an illegal blow to the head but was not suspended by the NHL for it. The league felt that his in-game punishment was enough and that no supplementary punishment was needed since replays showed that Brown didn’t end up hitting Miettinen directly in the head.
A funny thing happened since then as Miettinen has been out of the lineup with what was believed to be the flu but now may turn out to be a concussion. Michael Russo of the Star Tribune has the details.
Coach Todd Richards said this morning that it appears Antti Miettinen has a concussion stemming from Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown’s hit to Miettinen’s head Monday.
The Wild first thought he had an inner-ear infection. He had been complaining of a headache, but yesterday he showed up to the rink with vision problems. Now after being examined by the doctor, it’s believed he’s got symptoms of a concussion.
Now the question becomes: Was the league right in not suspending Brown from the hit? The NHL will now take heat from this because Brown was penalized in the game for the hit and the league had the opportunity to continue sending the message that these hits won’t be tolerated and begged off in this case because Brown was sat down mid-game for the hit.
Of course, by adding the head shot rule to the book and adding the ability to punish hits of this kind even if they aren’t handled during the game, the league brought about a lot of this attention on themselves. It’s all part of being in charge we suppose, but Wild coach Todd Richards isn’t amused by the situation at all and continued to call Brown’s hit a “dirty” one and that the league has to protect its players. As long as the league continues to pick and choose its moments as to which hits they want to punish, expect these kinds of things to continue to pop up as the season goes along. Of course, players could do their part and not hit each other in the head too, but that’s asking a lot of them for the time being.
The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.
Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.
While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics.
Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.
Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.
Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.
He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.
Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.
He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.
“You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”
There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.
Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev
Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.
A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.
That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:
Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.
“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”
Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.
Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.
“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.
“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.
Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.
USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.
Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.