Derick Brassard

Austrian team says Brassard “turned his back” on club, fires breach of contract accusation

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Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derick Brassard has drawn the ire of Austrian team EC Red Bull Salzburg by leaving the club three weeks after signing a lockout deal.

Brassard left Austria on Tuesday under a hailstorm of controversy, laid out for all to see in a statement on the Red Bull website:

Canadian Derick Brassard today, Tuesday, left Salzburg for Canada. His departure has baffled EC Red Bull Salzburg, given that the 25-year-old forward personally confirmed his intention to stay with the Red Bulls only last Wednesday and had also been notified of the deadline for finalising the squad for the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (last Saturday). In the knowledge that his departure from the club after just one game – last Sunday against Linz – has necessitated the first of three possible exchanges, Derick Brassard has turned his back on the club today, despite contractual obligations and reassurances to the contrary.

After the player, who is contracted to the Columbus Blue Jackets, cleared his things from the dressing room on Monday morning without warning, the Red Bulls tried in vain to contact him by telephone. The powers that be at the Salzburg club then contacted Derick Brassard personally to let him know that they were unwilling to let the Canadian go. He was told not to do anything hasty that he might later regret, and he was reminded in no uncertain terms of the contractual situation. Unfortunately, Derick Brassard still flew out of Salzburg this morning.

The Red Bulls will be notifying the IIHF of the player’s breach of contract and will be seeking legal advice.

Brassard played just six games for Salzburg before departing, scoring 4G-1A-5PTS.

As for reasons why he might’ve left? According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, they might’ve come from behind the bench.

Salzburg coach Pierre Page — formerly an NHL coach with Quebec, Calgary, Minnesota and Anaheim — is regarded as one of the most demanding coaches in all of hockey.

One agent last month referred to him as the “John Tortorella of Europe,” a reference to the New York Rangers’ brash, confrontational coach.

It should be noted that Brassard’s Columbus teammate, Derek Dorsett, also recently left Red Bull. In speaking to the Dispatch, Dorsett said he returned to Canada “to wait for the NHL lockout to end,” then forwarded all further inquiries to his agent.

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Report: Clarkson, Enstrom leave Austrian team (Updated)

Video: Blandisi scores great between-the-legs goal vs. Flyers

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What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.

The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.

It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.

Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.

He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).

That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.

Some Twitter reaction to the goal:

Bruins’ Bergeron ruled out for Saturday’s game against Wild

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The Boston Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron in Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Minnesota Wild.

It’s unclear how Bergeron suffered the undisclosed injury, but there’s reason to believe it occurred after he dropped the gloves with Jets forward Blake Wheeler (above).

He’s considered day-to-day at this point.

Losing him for an extended period of time would be devastating for Boston.

“You don’t like seeing your star players (fight), but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and that stuff happens and at one point a player says, ‘Enough is enough and I’m going to stand up for myself,’” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game, as per the Boston Herald.

“From what I gathered there was a lot of slashes behind the legs behind the play and stuff like that. He took things upon himself. As much as you don’t like it, you can’t tell him he’s not allowed. He’s a big boy and he can certainly make some decisions on the ice. And it’s not the first time that he’s fought. But I like the fact that he doesn’t fight much.”

After this incident, there’s no doubt that the Bruins will tell Bergeron to keep his gloves on from now on.

Jets will take one more crack at re-signing Andrew Ladd

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) and Blake Wheeler (26) celebrate Ladd's goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)
Associated Press
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Jets captain Andrew Ladd still doesn’t have a contract for next season and with the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaching, something’s gonna have to give.

According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the Winnipeg Jets will make one last push to sign the forward before making him available on the trade market.

Ladd doesn’t want to leave and the team wants to keep him, but after Dustin Byfgulien got an extension earlier this month, there may not be enough money to go around.

At one point, the Jets reportedly made Ladd a six-year offer worth $6 million per year, which he obviously didn’t accept.

Can they top that? Time will tell.

Waiting to trade Ladd is probably the smartest decision.

Keeping the captain around would be great, but if the two sides can’t agree to a new contract, there’ll be no shortage of suitors for Ladd’s services.

Lawless mentions the Penguins, Panthers and Blackhawks as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old.

The Kings have also been mentioned as a potential destination for Ladd.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to make some crucial decisions over the next few weeks.

Flyers’ Neuvirth (lower body) will be between the pipes vs. the Devils on Saturday

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth (30) of the Czech Republic stops a shot from the Dallas Stars in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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Michal Neuvirth will make his first start of the month in Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.

The 27-year-old missed five games with a lower-body injury. He was activated off the injured list earlier this week and served as Steve Mason‘s backup in Thursday’s game against Buffalo.

Neuvirth has an 11-6-2 record with a 2.14 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage in 2015-16.

He’s put up some solid numbers against the Devils in his career. Neuvirth has a 5-2-4 record with 2.03 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage in games against New Jersey.

Steve Mason, who’s coming off a 41-save performance in a win over Buffalo, hasn’t been as good against Saturday’s opponent.

Mason is 0-7-0 lifetime against the Devils.

Puck drop is at 1:00 p.m. ET.