Montreal forward Max Pacioretty will have a phone hearing with the NHL Monday morning for this hit on Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang during the third period of the Penguins’ overtime win in Montreal Saturday night. Pacioretty broke Letang’s nose on the play, yet wasn’t whistled for a penalty:
Unsurprisingly, the hit is garnering a lot of attention. Pacioretty is one of the NHL’s highest-profile concussion victims (from last season’s stanchion hit by Zdeno Chara) yet seemed to be headhunting Letang intentionally on the play. The Globe and Mail called it a “textbook blindside hit prohibited by rule 48 – Pacioretty coming in from Letang’s right and laying his shoulder and upper arm into Letang’s head.”
Judging by his actions, Pacioretty knew the hit was bad. He apologized to Letang prior to the start of overtime and expressed remorse to the Globe following the game.
“It’s a tough decision for me, it’s a tough decision for him too. He’s coming across the middle, unfortunately his head is down, I feel terrible about what happened,” Pacioretty said. “I didn’t see the replays, so I don’t know what the league will think of it. But if I let him take that shot it could be in the back of our net. It’s a tough decision for me, I thought I tried to keep it within the rules, but I haven’t seen the replay.
“I’ve been down that road, it’s a terrible feeling, I know (the Penguins) are probably going to want something to be done . . . (Letang) said he was good.”
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Stenlund, 20, was the Blue Jackets’ second-round pick (58th overall) at the 2015 draft. He’s coming off a good year, setting career highs in goals, assists, points and games played during the regular season, then adding 10 points in 16 playoff appearances.
And he might have a chance to build on that campaign.
Per the Dispatch, the Blue Jackets expect Stenlund to play next year in Sweden, rather than try to make the move overseas. It’s possible the Isles could make the same decision with Soderstrom — meaning it’s not all bad for HV71.
The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.
From the release:
Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists). The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.
“He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”
Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.