Finland suffered its third significant player loss on Saturday, as the team announced prized Florida rookie Aleksander Barkov would miss the remainder of the Olympic tournament with a lower-body injury.
Barkov, 18, suffered what appeared to be a knee injury during Friday’s 6-1 win over Norway, leaving during the third period while finishing with 15:03 TOI. He was 9-of-11 in the faceoff circle against the Norwegians and, in a tournament-opening 8-4 win over Austria, went 11-of-13 and finished with an assist.
It’s worth bringing up his faceoff and assist totals because, prior to the games, Finland lost two of its best centers to injury — Valtteri Filppula and Mikko Koivu. Both suffered ankle injuries prior to the Games, and their absences gave Barkov the opportunity to play on a line with his childhood idol, Teemu Selanne.
Barkov, Selanne and Mikael Granlund had served as Finland’s de facto No. 1 line thus far.
It’ll be interesting to see what the long-term ramifications of this injury are. Barkov’s had a very solid freshman campaign for the Panthers, sitting fifth on the team in points (24) while averaging over 17 minutes per game. But he’d already missed four games this year with a knee injury — it’s unclear if that’s related to his current issue — and it sounds as though the Florida organization isn’t happy about this latest development:
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
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