Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene doesn’t think much of Swedish league refereeing


Even though he’s off to a good start with Swedish Elite League club Frolunda, Matt Duchene isn’t all that thrilled with the league’s officiating.

Over the weekend, the Toronto Sun provided translation of an interview Duchene did with Swedish newspaper Expressen in which he criticized the level of SEL refereeing:

“It is sad that the (referees) did not call hooking, slashing and so on,” Duchene said in a translated story from the newspaper Expressen.

“The level here is quite different than I’m used to. That’s just the way it works here.”

Duchene, who only has 57 NHL penalty minutes, wondered about the old adage ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’, but also worried that changing his style would backfire whenever the NHL resumes.

Here’s more from Matias Strozyk of Jakoaika and Elite Prospects:

Excessive stickwork and obstruction have long been complaints of the Swedish/Finnish leagues, so to hear a newcomer complain about them isn’t out of the ordinary.

That said, it’s interesting to read about NHLers and their less-than-ideal European adventures. Montreal forward Max Pacioretty bolted Swiss club Ambri-Piotta after just five games while a number of guys — Tomas Kopecky, Kris Russell, Jakub Voracek, Thomas Alex Steen, Tuukka Rask — have suffered injuries playing abroad.

UPDATE: Here’s a Twitter conversation between Voracek and Tom Sestito about the lack of quality refereeing in the Czech Extraliga (Voracek) and UK League (Sestito).

H/T to Flyers Nation.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: