Erik Haula

Yet another injury from the Worlds: Wild’s Haula broke his jaw


Those who believe that the World Hockey Championship should take a year off following Winter Olympics have some ammo in 2014, as the list of injured players is a little disturbing (whether it’s all about bad luck or not).

The latest addition to the list is Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula, who suffered a fractured (non-displaced) jaw in Finland’s gold-medal game defeat to Russia on May 25. The bright side is that the Wild announced that he won’t require surgery and is expected to be healthy after three-to-four weeks.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Evgeni Malkin delivered the hit that injured Haula.

Haula, 23, scored 15 points in 46 regular season games, but really made a difference in collecting four goals and seven points in 13 postseason games. He was especially effective in a spirited series against Chicago; he scored five points in six games versus the Blackhawks.

Again, the list of injuries can’t make GMs feel great about sending their players overseas after rigorous seasons and/or partial playoff runs:

  • Jacob Trouba suffered a neck injury.
  • Alex Ovechkin and Alex Burrows dealt with knee injuries.
  • Dmitry Orlov broke his arm.
  • Andrei Loktionov and Roman Polak suffered shoulder injuries.
  • Sven Baertschi broke his ribs.
  • Marc Methot tweaked his back.

Injuries happen in hockey, including tournaments like these, but one can assume that this summer is an especially sensitive time for such matters. On the bright side, it seems like Haula won’t be hampered too greatly by this ailment, even if it’s not an ideal way to begin his “vacation.”

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.