Hansen hit

Fraser: I’d be surprised if Hansen suspended for Hossa hit; Olcyzk: I’d be surprised if he’s not


A former NHL referee and player have weighed in on Jannik Hansen’s hit on Marian Hossa during Chicago’s 4-3 shootout win over Vancouver on Tuesday night — and, unsurprisingly, the two see things differently.

Kerry Fraser said he’ll be taken aback if Hansen is suspended for his hit on Hossa.

“Stranger things have happened but I would be surprised if Hansen receives a suspension on this play,” Fraser wrote in his most recent TSN mailbag. “I have seen far worse hits that have gone unpunished this season.”

Meanwhile, former Blackhawk and current NHL on NBC analyst Ed Olczyk told a Chicago-area radio station he’d be surprised if Hansen wasn’t suspended.

“To me, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Olczyk said on 670 The Score. “Once he didn’t play the puck, he had one thing in his mind, and that was to put his forearm or elbow in the back of the head of Marian Hossa.

“If you go by what happened with Duncan Keith last year with Daniel Sedin where the principle point of contact was the head, you would assume that Jannik Hansen would get suspended.”

Here’s more, from Fraser:

I do not believe that there was any deliberate or malicious intent on the part of Jannik Hansen to hit Marian Hossa in the head as both players went up for an airborne puck that had been flipped out of the Hawks zone by Jonathan Toews.

The resulting contact to the back of Hossa’s head was not worthy of anything beyond the minor penalty for roughing that was eventually assessed by the referees; albeit well after play was whistled dead for the Hossa injury. 

And more, from Olcyzk:

It was a really quick play. How eerie is it that where Hossa got hit last night is probably within a foot and a half of where he got hit last year in the playoffs.

I would think that with the call and the rules and making sure that players are in control of their actions, I would be surprised if he did not get suspended.

Hansen will meet with NHL officials at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday to decide his fate.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
Leave a comment

The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”