Was Mason Raymond injured on a dirty hit? Canucks believe so

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During tonight’s Game 6 that saw Boston beat Vancouver 5-2 to force a Game 7 on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET on NBC), the Vancouver Canucks saw their lineup depth take a shot in the early stages of the game.

Canucks speedy forward Mason Raymond was injured thanks to a hit from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk on what appeared to be a rather innocuous play in the corner. Raymond was helped off the ice by teammates and was later taken to Mass General Hospital to be examined. While the play itself didn’t seem to be too dangerous or dirty, it’s shaping up that Raymond will miss out on Game 7.

Here’s video of the play in question.

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After the game, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault had no update on Raymond but TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted that the Canucks are not too happy with what happened.

No specifics on Mason Raymond injury,but I’m told it’s bad. More to come. Canucks furious over the hit because the puck was nowhere near

We’re sure that some fans will think that the Canucks could be politicking here and perhaps even crying wolf but given that Raymond was taken to the hospital and the grave seriousness in how the injury is being described, it leads us to believe that things are really bad with Raymond.

All that aside, taking a look at the hit we can see that it was delivered late but not in the same sense that Aaron Rome connected with Nathan Horton as Boychuk and Raymond were already engaged. Guys are taught to finish their checks and that’s what it appeared Boychuk was doing… It just happened that Raymond was in a very awkward position going into the corner.

With the Canucks as angry as they are, we have to assume the NHL may take a look at the play and see if there’s something objectionable enough to warrant action on Boychuk, but it would seem right now that we likely won’t see anything come of it.

Raymond’s loss to the lineup is a big one as he’s played well alongside Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins on the Canucks second line. Jannik Hansen took Raymond’s spot on the second line after he was knocked out of the game. Hansen played well with those two so it’s not unreasonable that he’ll be back on that line again in Game 7 provided Raymond is as hurt as reported. As to who might jump back into the lineup with Raymond out, Jeff Tambellini would be the likely choice.

The Canucks shouldn’t need added motivation going into a Game 7, but if Raymond is out and they feel it was a dirty hit, they’ve got that little bit of extra juice for their game now.

Goalie nods: After blowout loss, ‘Hawks start Darling against desperate Bolts

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It wasn’t a good performance from Corey Crawford in Saturday’s 7-0 loss in Florida — the Chicago starter was hooked after allowing four goals on 25 shots.

Of course, it wasn’t a good night for the guy that replaced Crawford, either.

Scott Darling was torched for three goals on six shots against the Panthers, but now gets the first crack at redemption — Darling will start tonight when Chicago gets back into action in Tampa Bay.

The Lightning are hopeful they’ll have as much success against Darling — and maybe even Crawford — as the Panthers did on the weekend. Tampa Bay is desperate for points, and heads into tonight’s action sitting three points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins are idle tonight, but the Isles — who have 82 points, to Tampa Bay’s 81 — are in action, hosting Nashville.

So it’s a big night for Tampa, to say the least. Appropriately, Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the start, after stopping 29 of 30 shots in a big OT win over Detroit on Friday.

Elsewhere…

Eddie Lack is 5-1-1 in March with a .931 save percentage, so he gets the call as the ‘Canes host the Red Wings. Petr Mrazek goes for Detroit.

Roberto Luongo is still out, meaning James Reimer gets yet another start for the Panthers (he scored the shutout against Chicago over the weekend). Robin Lehner is in goal for Buffalo.

— We mentioned the Isles-Preds game above, and it’ll be Thomas Greiss in goal for the host team. It’s his second straight start, having played in Saturday’s loss to Boston, and it comes ahead of the recently recalled Jaroslav Halak. No word yet on a Preds starter.

Jake Allen‘s ridiculous month (7-1-1, .951 save percentage) continues with a start against the Coyotes. Mike Smith will be in goal for the visitors, looking to snap a five-game personal losing streak.

— The Flames will stick with Brian Elliott when they host the Avs tonight. No word yet on a Colorado starter.

Sharks’ Haley suspended one game for Jarnkrok sucker punch

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has come down on San Jose tough guy Micheal Haley.

On Monday, Haley was suspended one game for his sucker punch of Preds forward Calle Jarnkrok, near the end of Nashville’s 7-2 over the Sharks on Saturday.

“Haley forcefully punches a player who is off balance, not engaged in the confrontation and not even looking when the punch is thrown,” the DoPS explained, via video. “This is a forceful punch on an opponent who is not able to defend himself at the time.”

The DoPS did acknowledge Jarnkrok’s hit on Haley that preceded the punch — Jarnkrok was given a boarding minor on the play — and also noted that Haley explained he was seeking retribution for said hit.

In addition, the DoPS acknowledged this was Haley’s first offense.

As a result of the suspension, Haley will now miss San Jose’s next game — tomorrow at home against the Rangers — and will be eligible to return on Thursday, when the Sharks take on the Oilers in Edmonton.

Haley will also forfeit $3,472.22 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

 

Cassidy says Bruins ‘overused’ Rask early on

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Some interesting comments today from Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, after goalie Tuukka Rask returned to practice.

Cassidy’s remarks came in the wake of Saturday’s big win in Brooklyn — a game that Rask missed with a lower-body injury.

“He had a good practice today,” Cassidy said of Rask, per CSN New England“He’s a guy that’s played a lot of hockey this year … and he’s not a 240-pound goaltender that can handle all of the games, all of the workload every year. We know that. I’m not going to put limitations on him, but we probably overused him at the start of the year. At this time of year, it gets tougher and tougher with any player that’s been overplayed.”

It remains to be seen which netminder will get the nod tomorrow against Nashville at TD Garden. Anton Khudobin stopped 18 of 19 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Islanders. After a 1-5-1 start to the season, the 30-year-old backup has won his last five starts.

But Cassidy insisted today that Rask is the Bruins’ “No. 1 goalie.”

“He’s our No. 1 and his health is very important,” said Cassidy. “When he’s physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we’ll make that decision.”

Couture seeing dentist today, Sharks hoping for the best

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Logan Couture took a puck to the face Saturday in Nashville, forcing him to leave an eventual 7-2 loss to the Predators — and leave it without all his teeth.

Today, the San Jose forward is seeing the dentist. The hope, according to head coach Pete DeBoer, is that Couture’s injury isn’t as serious as initially feared.

“You see him the next day, the swelling wasn’t as bad as we thought,” DeBoer said Monday, per CSN Bay Area. “He’s seeing the dentist today, and going to have some dental work done. But, I think the initial prognosis is that we feel pretty fortunate that with the amount of damage compared to what it could have been.”

The slumping Sharks, losers of six straight, have seven games left in the regular season. They host the Rangers tomorrow.