Malkin Leafs

No suspension for Malkin after verbally abusing official

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Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin won’t face any additional discipline for getting in the face of officials after a 5-2 loss to Toronto on Wednesday night.

Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review reports Malkin has escaped suspension after receiving a game misconduct for verbal abuse of an official, called after the final horn blew.

Malkin was furious with a series of calls from the crew of referees Ghislain Hebert and Kelly Sutherland, and linesmen David Brisebois and Shane Heyer.

Pittsburgh was whistled for 10 penalties, including a stretch in the second period where the Pens were dinged four times in the first 12 minutes.

“I‘m really mad at a couple [of] calls,” Malkin said on Thursday. “But…I lose control. It was bad emotion. It was my fault.”

Pens captain Sidney Crosby also got in on the critique, earning himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with two minutes left in the game. Toronto scored on the ensuring power play.

It’s not overly surprising that Hebert was at the center of an officiating controversy, given his history:

Last December, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville called Hebert’s work in a game vs. LA “tough to watch.”

In February, interim Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth said Hebert missing a hooking call on Erik Cole was “a little beyond comprehension for me.”

Hebert was one of the referees working the infamous Bruins-Sabres game when Milan Lucic ran over Ryan Miller.

Notes:

— Malkin also got dinged for an abuse of officials misconduct while playing in the KHL during the lockout.

— No word yet if a fine will be levied against Malkin. Last season, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan seemed to hand out fines for comments made after (or, before) games, rather than in the heat of the moment.

Also, almost all the fines for criticizing officials were levied against coaches.

Rangers get good news on McDonagh, bad news on Nash

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Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.

Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.

The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.

McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).

The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.

McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.

The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.

Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.

He’ll miss at least another week.

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.