Trevor Gillies suspended 10 games for targeting the head of Cal Clutterbuck

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NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell weighed in today with his punishment for Islanders forward Trevor Gillies after his head-hunting hit on Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck. The NHL suspended Gillies for ten games for his hit on Clutterbuck. This comes on the heels of Gillies serving a nine game suspension for his role in the Penguins-Islanders melee.

If you don’t recall, Gillies was playing in his first game back after serving a nine game ban for his part in the Islanders-Penguins fiasco that saw 346 penalty minutes handed out and saw Gillies target the head of Pens forward Eric Tangradi.

Campbell’s reasoning behind the supremely harsh punishment makes a world of sense.

“By targeting his opponent’s head, three shifts into his first game back from a suspension for a very similar action, Mr. Gillies has forfeited his privilege of playing in the League for 10 games,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “While it is fortunate there was no injury on the play, there can be no justification for a player delivering a dangerous check to an opponent in this manner”.

It shouldn’t matter whether or not Clutterbuck was injured on the play and thankfully the NHL punished Gillies based on his actions. His seeming lack of awareness that he was playing in his first game since delivering a similarly terrible hit against Pittsburgh also played into this heavily. Gillies was, of course, treated as a repeat offender which helps make the punishment as tough as it is.

Gillies will lose $60,975.60 while he’s out and for a guy that makes the NHL minimum losing that much money for this hit to go along with the over $24,000 he lost for his nine-game ban that’s quite the pain in the wallet. Gillies is a marginal player in the NHL and he’s certainly not sticking around in the NHL for his goal scoring abilities or his role as a defensive forward. He’s a fighter and a crap-stirrer extraordinaire.

Gillies will be eligible to make his return to the ice on March 26 against Philadelphia. The question now for the Islanders and their management is whether or not they’ll actually put him on the ice to play. Any game with Philadelphia is an overly physical one and we’re sure the Isles would like to have his presence on the ice for that game. Of course, there are many that feel that Gillies’ role in the league is pointless and that he’s not a hockey player.

How the Islanders handle his eventual return to action will be worth noting, especially by the league’s front office. Gillies’ reputation is well known throughout the league, especially in the wake of these latest incidences. If the Islanders continue to let him play for them at the NHL level and he goes out tries to injure another player, the league almost has to step in and punish the team for it.

The Isles and GM Garth Snow have three weeks to think about that and with one more date with the Penguins still left on the schedule (April 8 in Long Island) they’d better think long and hard about what their next move will be regarding Gillies and his future in an Islanders uniform.

WATCH LIVE: Game 2 for Rangers-Senators, Penguins-Capitals

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The New York Rangers will need to find a way to slow down Erik Karlsson on Saturday afternoon if they are going to avoid falling into a 2-0 series hole against the Ottawa Senators, while the Washington Capitals will have to do the same against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both games on Saturday will be broadcast on NBC and be streamed online.

Here is all of the information you need for today’s games.

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Announcers: John Forslund, Brian Boucher

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Announcers: Mike Emrick, Ed Olczyk, Pierre McGuire

The NHL Draft Lottery is tonight, here are the odds for every team and TV information

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Saturday night is going to be a big night for the 14 NHL teams that did not qualify for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs because one of them will be the lucky winner of the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, giving them the No. 1 pick in the draft.

While there probably isn’t going to be a Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews at the top of this year’s class, the top-two prospects (Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier) both have huge potential.

The Colorado Avalanche, owners of the NHL’s worst record in 2016-17, have the best odds at winning the lottery. The Avalanche last selected first overall in 2013 when they picked Nathan MacKinnon. New York Islanders have a less than one percent chance of winning.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights have a 10.3 percent chance of winning the top pick.

Here is everything you need to know about tonight’s lottery

When: 8 p.m. ET, just prior to faceoff of Game 2 of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals second-round playoff series

TV: NBC

Odds for every team in the lottery:

Colorado Avalanche — 18.0%

Vancouver Canucks — 12.1%

Vegas Golden Knights — 10.3%

Arizona Coyotes — 10.3%

New Jersey Devils — 8.5%

Buffalo Sabres — 7.6%

Detroit Red Wings — 6.7%

Dallas Stars — 5.8%

Florida Panthers — 5.4%

Los Angeles Kings — 4.5%

Carolina Hurricanes — 3.2%

Winnipeg Jets — 2.7%

Philadelphia Flyers — 2.2%

Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8%

New York Islanders — 0.9%

The NHL draft will be held on Friday, June 23 (first round) and Saturday, June 24 (rounds two through seven) at United Center in Chicago.

Paul Carey replaces Brett Connolly for Capitals in Game 2

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After dropping Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, the Washington Capitals are making a minor lineup change on Saturday for Game 2 of the series when Paul Carey replaces Brett Connolly on the team’s fourth line.

Carey, 28, appeared in only six games for the Capitals this season and did not record a point. He has one goal and one assist in 32 career NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche and Capitals, and appeared in three playoff games for the Avalanche back in 2014.

Given how Connolly’s ice time has been decreasing over the past few games this postseason it probably should not be too much of a surprise that he is now being removed from the lineup. After logging at least 10 minutes of ice time in each of the Capitals’ first three playoff games, he has not played more than 6:12 in each of the past four.

Coach Barry Trotz said on Saturday that he likes Carey’s speed in the lineup against the faster Penguins.

Connolly scored 15 goals in 66 regular season games for the Capitals this season.

In other Capitals lineup news, there is no change in the status of defenseman Karl Alzner as he will remain out of the lineup. He has been sidelined since Game 3 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with an upper-body injury. Nate Schmidt will continue to take his place.

Scott Darling trade ‘worth the risk’ for Hurricanes

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The Carolina Hurricanes made a somewhat surprising move on Friday night when they acquired goaltender Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2017.

On the surface it looks like a good move for both the team and the player. Goaltending has been a major thorn in the Hurricanes’ side for several years now, while Darling has probably earned the opportunity to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL after performing extremely well as Corey Crawford‘s backup in Chicago.

The risk for the Hurricanes is that Darling will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and they will have to get him signed to a new contract before then to avoid potentially losing him (and the third-round pick they sent to Chicago) for nothing.

Shortly after the trade on Friday, Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said all of that was worth the risk because the team has accumulated so many draft picks in this year’s class.

“This is a bit of a gamble but one we believed was worth taking,” Francis told Chip Alexander of the News & Observer. “This is why we accumulated these picks and we still have 10 left. It was worth the risk.”

He added that they would “like to get something done sooner rather than later.”

The duo of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack finished the 2016-17 season with a .901 save percentage, 26th in the NHL. The Hurricanes have finished higher than 25th just once in the past five years. The Hurricanes have solid young core of talent in place and a defense that allowed the fifth fewest shots on goal in the entire league this season. Solidifying the goaltending position would go a long way toward ending the team’s current eight year playoff drought.