Adam Larsson is sick of being hit in the head and doesn’t want to see anyone else deal with it anymore.
Larsson spoke out after the NHL took no action against Montreal’s Erik Cole for connecting with Larsson’s head in their game on Saturday. Rather than see selective punishment, Larsson wants the league to take things a step further.
Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger gets the rookie’s take on a major issue and he was blunt about Cole’s hit and head shots in general.
“I was surprised actually. That is not a part of hockey,” Larsson said of getting hit in the head with Cole’s shoulder. “They should take away all hits to the head. But I can’t really do anything about it.”
Getting rid of hits to the head overall has been an issue the NHL and NHLPA have been reluctant to get settled because of how they feel it will change how guys play the game. They also figure that banning head shots will be virtually impossible to do.
Larsson might be just a rookie, but the league and union might do well to listen to him. Even if Larsson feels he can’t do anything, speaking up about it is doing more than others have tried.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.