Kevin Bieksa

Bieksa calls out Thornton, Couture for embellishment, ‘lack of integrity’


Down 0-3 in their opening-round series against the Sharks, the Canucks went on the offensive on Monday.

Defenseman Kevin Bieksa called out San Jose forwards Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, suggesting both were trying to sell calls to officials.

“It’s a lack of integrity,” Bieksa said. “Couture has been snapping his head back. This isn’t my opinion. The evidence is in the video.”

Related: Sharks’ Couture on Sedin whack: ‘I’ll take it all day’ for PP chance

Bieksa also took aim at the pair’s “Canadian-ness,” — you know, the Don Cherry-esque theory where all good Canadian boys play the game honest and never dive to draw penalties — suggesting the Sharks forwards were, for a lack of a better term, frauds.

“Those are two Canadian guys who are supposed to be playing the game with integrity,” Bieksa continued. “Maybe our team has to do more of that.

“Thornton, another so-called Canadian — he gets slashed, takes his glove off, shakes his hand.”

When asked about Bieksa’s comments, head coach Alain Vigneault offered up “we’re the embellishers,” as his reply.

(Note: The comment was dripping with sarcasm. Also, embellishers isn’t a word.)

But staying on the embellishment front, it’s worth noting that Bieksa has gone down this road before.

During the 2011 Western Conference semifinal against Nashville, he warned that diving could damage the game and the reputation of the offending team.

“I know guys will do whatever it takes for a power play to win a game,” he told The Province. “But sometimes they’re crossing that line of integrity.

“I think for the better of the game, for the good of the game we need people to stay on that line and not cross it, and not dive and exaggerate for calls.”

The catch here?

Bieksa was responding to allegations the Canucks were embellishing to draw penalties against the Predators.

Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert

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Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

Joffrey Lupul
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Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as notes.

“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.