Minnesota sophomore Mikael Granlund’s had a tough go of things this season, missing extensive time with a concussion caused by a pair of big hits.
Now, Wild head coach Mike Yeo is hoping to teach Granlund about how to better protect himself on the ice.
“There’s certain situations where you can learn to protect yourself in and there’s times where, especially in this league, that you can’t get away with some of the things that you were getting away with in other leagues,” Yeo explained, as per the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “You have to be careful, too. One of the things that makes [Granlund] great is the way he competes, and I think he’s done a great job going to the middle of the ice and creating a lot more offense because of that.”
Granlund, 21, was off to a solid start this season, scoring 12 points in his first 24 games. But he was sidelined after taking a high hit from Toronto’s Nazem Kadri on Nov. 13 and, upon his return, lasted exactly one shift before getting re-concussed on a hit from Phoenix’s Connor Murphy.
Minnesota was forced to shut down Granlund for a while and he’s essentially been inactive for 12 games in a row (he has recently resumed skating, though). Yeo said the Finnish forward will be a wiser player upon his return… but will still display the same grit and tenacity that saw him go ninth overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
“We have to make sure we’re helping him in many areas in many ways as far as how he can protect himself,” Yeo explained. “At the same time, you have to make sure you bring that competitive edge, too.”
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.