On Tuesday, the National Hockey League suspended Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson two games for slashing — and breaking the hand of — Islanders forward Frans Nielsen.
“After Nielsen attempts to rim the puck behind the net to a teammate, Johnson chokes up on his stick and delivers a reckless two-handed slash, catching Nielsen across the thumb and injuring him,” the NHL’s Department of Player Safety explained. “Nielsen makes no unpredictable movements, and Johnson’s reckless slash is violent and directly across the hand.”
Here’s the video:
The incident occurred at 12:09 of the third period, and Johnson was assessed a minor penalty for slashing. He had no prior history of supplemental discipline with the league and wasn’t considered a repeat offender, but Nielsen’s injury did contribute to the punishment.
Johnson will miss Colorado’s first two games out of the Olympic break — Feb. 26 versus Los Angeles and Feb. 28 against Phoenix — and will forfeit $38,461.54 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Fund. He’ll be eligible to return on Sunday, Mar. 2 against Tampa Bay.
From the Southampton Press:
Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.
According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.
Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.
As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”
He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.
Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.