Rangers upset about no-call on Dan Carcillo head-hunting Ruslan Fedotenko

10 Comments

The New York Rangers have a lot of reasons to be mad after losing tonight in Philadelphia 4-1 to the Flyers. The main reason they’re really upset, however, has more to do with a no-call against Flyers agitator Dan Carcillo. Early in the third period, Rangers forward RuslanFedotenko was cutting back through the zone and appeared to start falling to the ice when Carcillo came roaring through towards him and connected with Fedotenko’s head with an elbow. Fedotenko went down on the ice and play was stopped but he did not leave the game injured. No penalty was called on the play. You can see video of the hit here on YouTube.

After the game, both Fedotenko and Rangers head coach John Tortorella were angry at the lack of punishment on the hit. Andrew Gross of Rangers Rant has the quotes. First from Coach Tortorella:

Q: Do you have a problem with that [Daniel] Carcillo hit on [Ruslan] Fedotenko?

“Sure, why wouldn’t I. What do we talk about? We get these tapes sent to us during the summer and the beginning of the year. Why send them? It’s a waste.”

Fedotenko’s response to the hit is expected, but what the referee said to him about the hit is far more interesting.

Q: I know that you had a chance to talk to the referee in front of the net when the whistle was blown a little bit later.  I guess you didn’t get an explanation?

“No.  He said I shouldn’t try to avoid the hit.  I mean, I was looking for the puck and trying to shoot it so I didn’t even see him coming until the last second.  ‘Don’t duck’ was his explanation.”

Don’t duck, eh? Tough to do if you’re already falling to the ice. I’d imagine the NHL will also have a word with the referee in this case as well as Carcillo. With the new rule regarding blows to the head, it’s no longer completely up to the players to totally avoid these hits, especially if you don’t see the guy coming. Swallowing the whistle in these situations makes things about 1,000 times worse. It also means the referee saw the hit and didn’t call anything anyway. So much for knowing the rule book.

As for Carcillo, he told Flyers Files’ Chuck Gormley that he’s expecting to hear from the NHL about the hit.

“I saw him in the middle of the ice and the puck was there,” Carcillo said. “He kind of went down right when I got to him. My elbows were in. I know it looks bad, but I didn’t try to hit his head or anything.

“I don’t think anything (Tortorella) says is going to change anything. It is what it is. It’s not like I took strides toward him. I know they’re cracking down on that, so I imagine I’ll get a phone call.”

Obviously the Rangers have other problems with their own game and the Flyers are getting used to having extra-curricular distractions regarding actions on the ice, but there’s an interesting juxtaposition here tonight. Joe Thornton of the Sharks got booted from the game for a blindside hit to Blues forward David Perron, having a rather obvious dirty hit go unpunished in a game that was already amped up with fights and physical play makes for fascinating discussion on the new rule regarding head shots. If you were expecting consistency from the officials on these matters, perhaps your expectations were a bit too high.

Jaromir Jagr leaves game with lower body injury

Getty
Leave a comment

Calgary Flames forward Jaromir Jagr played just four shifts on Saturday night before exiting their game against the Minnesota Wild in the first period.

The Flames later announced that Jagr would not return with what the team is calling a lower body injury.

They had no other update.

After going through the entire summer unsigned as a free agent, Jagr finally landed a one-year deal with the Flames just before the start of the season. So far he has appeared in five games for the team recording a pair of assists.

He recorded 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) while playing in all 82 games for the Florida Panthers a year ago.

Even though he appeared in every game a year ago he still showed some signs of finally starting to slow down, and you have to assume that there is going to be some sort of an injury concern for a player that is turning 46 years old in February.

Senators top Maple Leafs but lose Bobby Ryan for a month

Getty
Leave a comment

The Ottawa Senators’ 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night came with a price.

After the game coach Guy Boucher confirmed that veteran forward Bobby Ryan broke his right index finger during the game and is expected to miss at least the next month.

Ryan has yet to score a goal for the Senators in eight games this season but has recorded five assists.

He fought through an injury plagued season in 2016-17 that ended with one of the worst individual stat lines of his career. He was able to salvage the season however with a tremendous postseason performance that saw him finish with 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 19 games as the Senators went all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals where they would lose in double overtime.

The Senators are off to a great start this season earning at least a point in seven of their first eight games (4-1-3).

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

The Penguins seem to have a backup goalie problem

AP
7 Comments

The Penguins worked to address one area of concern on Saturday when they acquired forward Riley Sheahan from the Detroit Red Wings.

Now they need to start working on another major area of concern — their backup goalie.

The Penguins had to know Antti Niemi was never going to step into Pittsburgh and replace what Marc-Andre Fleury gave them on the ice, but they had to be expecting a little more than what they have received thus far.

After giving up seven goals in the Penguins’ 7-1 loss in Tampa Bay on Saturday night, Niemi has now given up 16 goals in 128 minutes of hockey this season. His save percentage is a brutal .797.

In games Niemi starts the Penguins are 0-3 and have been outscored 22-6, losing games by margins of 10-1 and 7-1.

In the games he hasn’t started they are 5-0-1 and have outscored their opponents 24-17.

It would be unfair to put all of the blame on Niemi, because even with regular starter Matt Murray in net they have also had stretches where they have struggled defensively and not quite played at the level they showed the past two seasons.

Niemi has also made all of his starts in the second half of back-to-back situations against teams that were not only rested the night before, but also teams that should be among the best in the league this season (the Chicago Blackhawks, two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning).

But none of that can excuse the way Niemi himself has played thus far, either. At some point you  need your goalie to make a save no matter who your team is playing or what is happening around him. His rebound control has been shaky, he looks uncomfortable when he is making saves and it is not like he is coming off of a great performance a year ago. In 42 appearances with the Dallas Stars he finished with an .892 save percentage, one of the worst marks in the league, and was at .905 the year before. He is 34 years old and has not performed at a better than league average level (or even at a league average level) in several years.

It has to be an area of concern for the Penguins because if Murray has a flaw early in his young career it is that he has missed some time due to injury. In the past they have had Fleury there to step in. They do not have that luxury now.

Niemi is only signed for one year at $700,000 so it is not like they have a huge investment in him.

If they decide to go in another direction already (they will probably give Niemi a little bit of a longer leash, I am sure) they have Tristan Jarry in the American Hockey League, or perhaps explore a trade if they are uncomfortable with such a young duo and inexperienced backup behind Murray.

Either way, it is really difficult to see them sticking around with this sort of performance from their backup for much longer.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

WATCH LIVE: Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals

Getty
Leave a comment

The Washington Capitals, fresh off of a 4-3 overtime win on Friday night thanks to Alex Ovechkin‘s NHL record 20th overtime goal, return home on Saturday night to host the Florida Panthers.

After winning their first two games of the season the Capitals have stumbled a little bit over the past couple of weeks winning just two of their past six games. They are looking to win consecutive games for the first time since those back-to-back wins to open the season.

The Panthers, meanwhile, are coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night that cost them goaltender Roberto Luongo who was placed on injured reserve on Saturday afternoon.

You can catch all of the action on NBCSN. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET.

Click here to watch live.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.