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World Juniors: IIHF suspends USA’s Gostisbehere, Russia’s Nichushkin


Team USA’s Shayne Gostisbehere and Russia’s Valeri Nichushkin are ineligible to play in the quarterfinals due to separate IIHF rulings. Both players will still be allowed to participate in the semifinals, provided their respective countries win on Wednesday.

Gostisbehere is being suspended for approaching Slovakia’s Matus Matis from behind during the first period of Monday’s contest and striking him between the legs with his stick. The Margate, Florida native was handed a five-minute slashing major and game misconduct for his actions.

Matis was injured on the play, but returned before the end of America’s 9-3 victory.

During the first period of Russia’s 4-1 loss to Canada on Monday, Nichushkin smashed Tyler Wotherspoon into the boards from behind. After the initial contact, Nichushkin’s arms continued to move upward and forward, which caused Wotherspoon’s face to smash into the glass and boards.

Nichushkin was given five minutes for checking from behind and also handed a game misconduct. Wotherspoon temporarily left the game, but was able to return before its conclusion.

Russia will play Switzerland on Wednesday, with the winner of that contest set to compete against Sweden in the semifinals. The United States is scheduled to face the Czech Republic on Wednesday and the winner will challenge Canada.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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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.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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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.