McQuaid avoids suspension for kneeing Foligno

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Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid won’t face additional punishment from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shananan after kneeing Ottawa’s Nick Foligno last night:

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McQuaid received a five-minute kneeing major and a game misconduct on the play. Foligno left momentarily before returning to the game, finishing with 17:07 of ice time.

According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, the NHL Department of Player Safety felt the knee-on-knee play was more “reactionary” than “with intent to injure” and didn’t deserve any additional discipline beyond the penalties called.

That said, here’s a list of “things people will likely complain about on the intertube”:

— Sounds like Foligno’s ability to return was a key factor in the ruling. This opens up a Pandora’s Box when it comes to injury disclosure, because when Colorado’s Kevin Porter got dinged four games for kneeing Vancouver’s David Booth, Shanahan remarked Booth’s injury (out 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL) affected his decision.

— Let’s say, for example, the Sens had held Foligno out of the game as a precautionary measure. What if the Sens didn’t offer an injury update afterward? How would that have affected the ruling?

— This, from former NHL referee Kerry Fraser (courtesy TSN):

If Adam McQuaid had stuck out his elbow instead of his leg, recent suspension history would dictate that a three game suspension would most likely be imposed.

Ruling purely on the extent of the kneeing act (like the one committed by Adam McQuaid), with the absence of injury, I believe any player guilty of this should be suspended for a minimum of one game and a maximum of three  (Three would make it consistent with dangerous hits ruled upon recently where no injury resulted).

— McQuaid is the third Bruin to avoid suspension for a controversial hit this season. The others were Milan Lucic (for charging Ryan Miller), Brad Marchand (for slew-footing Matt Niskanen). I don’t put any credence in this conspiracy theory, nor do I support it. But I can’t ignore the fact it’s out there.

UPDATE: McQuaid did receive a $2,500 fine for the hit.

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.

Video: An early taste of the Tkachuk-inspired violence in Kings vs. Flames

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BREAKING: the Los Angeles Kings really don’t appreciate Calgary Flames rookie-pest-forward Matthew Tkachuk thanks to that elbow on Drew Doughty (and the fallout from all … that).

Tkachuk responded by critiquing Doughty for “complaining to the media,” so there was testiness from the start.

There was jawing before the game. Then Jake Muzzin rebuked Tkachuk’s kind offer for a fight. Finally, Keith’s son dropped the gloves with Brayden McNabb:

It wasn’t the only bout of the opening frame, and there could be more blood to come beyond this Jarome IginlaDeryk Engelland feud:

Players from both teams better keep their heads up (and on a swivel) tonight. The Flames have to hope that this doesn’t result in injuries, judging from what happened to Johnny Gaudreau.

Avalanche sign Toews-like first-rounder Tyson Jost

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Things have been pretty bleak for the Colorado Avalanche this season, but at least they can look to a high pick in the next draft … and maybe dream about how their top pick from 2016 may pan out.

The Avs signed Tyson Jost, the 10th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, to an entry-level contract on Wednesday. Colorado notes that he’ll jump right into some NHL action to close out this season.

It’s a nice sneak preview, as NHL insider Bob McKenzie noted on an NBCSN appearance (see above) that doing so will not burn the first year of Jost’s entry-level contract. Nice.

Even nicer? McKenzie also compares Jost favorably to … (drum-roll, though the headline spoiled it) Jonathan Toews.

Most obviously, the two both starred at the University of North Dakota. For the sake of fun, here are their numbers in their final years in the NCAA:

Jost: 16 goals, 35 points in 33 games, +17 rating (2016-17)
Toews: 18 goals, 46 points in 34 games (2006-07)

Naturally, Toews enthusiasts in particular will tell you that points aren’t everything … but maybe there are some shades of the two-way Blackhawks center there?

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy raved that Jost has “man-strength already” back around the 2016 NHL Draft, as you can see in this profile.

“Jost oozes confidence and already looks like NHL captain material for the future.”

Hey, that does sound at least somewhat Toews-like, doesn’t it?

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In other signing news, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington reports that the Buffalo Sabres signed UMass-Lowell’s CJ Smith. More on that below.