On Wednesday the WHL Portland Winterhawks were hammered by the league for a “series of player benefit violations which have occurred over the past four seasons.”
Portland won’t be allowed to make a selection in the first five rounds of the 2013 bantam draft and they will forfeit their first-round picks in the following four drafts.
On top of that the organization has been fined $200,000 and GM/head coach Mike Johnston has been suspended for the rest of the 2012-13 campaign, including the playoffs.
Johnston said that he was “extremely surprised at the excessive nature of the sanctions,” but WHL commissioner Ron Robison defended the league’s decision in a statement released Thursday.
The WHL asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to launch an independent investigation into the Winterhawks after the league learned that the team had contravened WHL Regulations by agreeing to an undisclosed player agreement. PricewaterhouseCoopers determined that there were 54 violations with 14 players over the past five seasons.
“We believe the sanctions are not excessive given the repeated and systemic nature of the violations,” Robison said. “The independent investigation discovered an unprecedented number of violations.
“It is the responsibility of each WHL Club and General Manager to be fully aware of the WHL Regulations and to be in compliance at all times. These sanctions are necessary in order to protect the overall welfare and integrity of our League and to preserve a level playing field for all of our member Clubs and our players.”
The Winterhawks claim the violations included providing flights for family members of their players, giving their team captain a cell phone, and paying for two players’ one-week summer training regimen twice in the last five years.
The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.
After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.
On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.
“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby
As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.
“There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”
Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.
#Pens Crosby on Dubinsky hit: I'm OK. I'm not surprised. If I was going to get one of those shots, it was going to be from him -SK
It looks like the Canadiens will be without star goaltender Carey Price for the next month, per RDS.
“We still don’t know what the nature of the injury is, but we’re convinced it’s his right knee,” hockey analyst François Gagnon said on a french television show on Friday. “The Canadiens are preparing for him to be out for more than a week. They’re preparing for him to be out for a month.”
Price missed nine games with a lower-body injury between Oct. 30 and Nov. 19.
The 28-year-old won all three of his starts since returning, but he was forced from Wednesday’s game against the Rangers leading some to believe he came back too soon.
After Friday’s win over the Devils, Michel Therrien denied the validity of the report.
Michel Therrien (Translated from French) on report that Price likely out for a month with right-knee injury: pic.twitter.com/bEGnQf6ekT