Ruff challenges Stars: ‘If you have to take a penalty to protect your goaltender, you take a penalty’


The Dallas Stars didn’t react much after Nicklas Backstrom collided with Kari Lehtonen during Saturday’s 2-1 win at the American Airlines Center.

The next time someone contacts Lehtonen, though, it’ll likely draw a response.

That’s what Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff suggested in the wake of Saturday’s game, saying that while the hit on Lehtonen was blatant — “I put that one on the low end,” he explained — the Stars will need to do whatever it takes to protect him in the future.

“First and foremost, if you have to take a penalty to protect your goaltender, you take a penalty,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “That’s really what it amounts to.

“Nobody takes liberties with your goaltender.”

Here’s the Lehtonen-Backstrom collision:

Ruff’s insight into this topic is interesting. Two seasons ago, while coaching in Buffalo, Ruff watched as Boston’s Milan Lucic bowled over Ryan Miller and wasn’t challenged by any Sabres skaters.

That incident seemed to unravel the team. Paul Gaustad said he was “embarrassed” by the club’s response while Ruff said “I didn’t feel we reacted well to it,” before suggesting if it was open season on goalies, “then let’s get at it.”

On Monday, he said much of the same to the Morning News.

“It doesn’t matter to me who is on the ice,” Ruff said, delivering maybe the most important message of the discussion. “If someone is taking advantage of your goaltender, you all respond…all five guys respond.”

Old school? Ruff was asked.

“Old school,” he said. “Everybody ropes, everybody rides.”

NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
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Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

Your call, Marc Bergevin.

Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL

Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

Joni Ortio
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Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.