Dion Phaneuf leaves tonight’s game with deep cut on his leg

As if losing to the rival Ottawa Senators 3-0 after two periods wasn’t bad enough, embattled Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is now out of the game after suffering a lower body injury. Phaneuf was tangled up in the corner with Sens forward Peter Regin when he fell awkwardly to the ice with his legs twisted up beneath him. Phaneuf was helped off the ice to the locker room and now according to John Shannon of Sportsnet, he’s off to the hospital to get checked out.

From boos to worse…Phaneuf leaves ACC on stretcher…left knee iced and heavily bandaged.

The boos that Shannon refers to are the ones coming from Leafs faithful in Toronto as the newly minted captain of the team was hearing their distaste for his play and the current state of the team. After a 4-0-0 start to the season, luck and goal scoring has run dry for the Leafs and they’ve lost five of their last six games and they’re 27th in the NHL in scoring. Phaneuf, meanwhile, has four assists this season and a team low plus/minus rating of -6 and Brian Burke is sick of hearing the fans riding Phaneuf for his play.

The natives in Toronto are restless and the 4-0-0 start may have proven to be almost an unfair tease given that the Leafs weren’t exactly projected to be all that successful. Getting the team’s offense jump started somehow would go a long way towards helping them out, but if Phaneuf is out for an extended amount of time, their defense might become more of a question mark.

Update: Jonas Siegel of AM 640 in Toronto tweets that Phaneuf left the game with a deep cut on his leg and was taken to the hospital for stitches.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


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