The Calgary Flames are going with a decidedly young lineup tonight when they visit the Predators in Nashville.
Names include: Carter Bancks (age 23, making his NHL debut), Mark Cundari (23), Sven Baertschi (20), Max Reinhart (21), Roman Horak (21), Akim Aliu (23), Paul Byron (23), and Ben Hanowski (22).
“It will be to see who’s going to step up,” head coach Bob Hartley said, per the Calgary Sun. “Most of the young players have been with us for a few weeks, and some have just arrived from AHL Abbotsford. But many of them have played a game or two before, so they know what to expect.
“It’s kind of one of the final exams.”
And if the young guys fail the exam, oh well, at least it won’t hurt the Flames’ draft position anymore than it’s already been hurt lately.
You’ll be excused if you haven’t noticed, but Calgary has actually been playing well lately. The Flames have won five of their last six, pushing them up to 24th overall in the standings.
Related: NHL Draft lottery set for Apr. 29, all non-playoff teams eligible for No. 1 pick
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.