James O'Brien

Aaron Ekblad can’t play for red-hot Panthers tonight

Aaron Ekblad won’t be on hand on Monday to help the Florida Panthers push their franchise-best winning streak to 13 games.

Apparently that questionable boarding hit by Edmonton Oilers grinder Matt Hendricks is keeping him out at least one game, as he cannot play against the Vancouver Canucks tonight.

You can see that hit, which prompted a hearing with the NHL, in the video above.

Steven Kampfer was activated from IR to take Ekblad’s place.

Ekblad’s been solid in his sophomore season, although he’s been a little quiet lately, managing just an assist in his past five games.

The Panthers will miss him either way, as we’ll see if Roberto Luongo can keep his winning ways going against his former chums in Vancouver.

Calgary’s mayor jousts with Bettman on new Flames arena

Gary Bettman
AP
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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insisted that the Calgary Flames need to get the ball rolling on a new arena, rather than falling “further behind.”

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi disagrees with such a hasty approach.

“The longer it takes, the harder the task becomes,” Bettman said. “CalgaryNEXT needs to happen and as part of the broader project, the Flames need a new arena.”

That’s the short version of this debate regarding a possible new arena for the Flames, but as the Canadian Press’ story attests, it gets juicier than that.

Nenshi’s response to Bettman’s comments might bring joy to the hearts of those who aren’t the biggest fan of the league’s commissioner.

(A few good zingers in there, indeed.)

Again, Bettman’s argument in some ways revolving around avoiding falling “further behind,” and revolves at least a bit about keeping pace with the Edmonton Oilers … even if he sort of denies that pressure at the same time.

“It’s not about keeping up with the Jones’ of Edmonton or Detroit, I’m talking about a vision for the future that increases Calgary’s stature,” Bettman said, according to 660 News.

It’s an interesting debate, so check out more from Bettman in particular here and here.

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Seeing Crosby, Malkin ‘dancing around’ left Subban muttering expletives

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 9:  PK Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens has words with Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on October 9, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Canadiens defeated the Penguins 3-2.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Getty
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The beauty and danger of post-game interviews is that, even in an age of “brand consciousness,” players and coaches sometimes let their true feelings slip.

That happened on Saturday when P.K. Subban let a few naughty words fly following the Montreal Canadiens’ 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

(Here’s your chance to apply the digital version of earmuffs, as the uncensored version of his comments can be seen at the end of this post.)

Just look at how different Subban’s demeanor seemed to be once he got a little time to cool off:

The Canadian Press caught up with Subban on Monday, and he further explained why he lost his cool (while providing his trademark charm when discussing the fact that he got “in trouble” with his parents for the tirade).

“But sometimes that’s the way it is. It’s just frustration,” Subban said. “Usually I do a good job of controlling that but I guess it sort of boiled over. When you see guys like (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin out there dancing around and having their own way, it’s a little frustrating.”

If it’s not obvious enough already that this was one of those “nature of the beast” moments, even Montreal management seems to understand the outburst.

You can read more about Subban’s Monday reactions, and how Max Pacioretty dismisses any tension with Subban as a “non-story” in the Canadian Press’ piece.

***

Oh, and here’s what Subban said. Cover any child’s eyes:

Senators recall Driedger so Hammond can deal with ‘personal matter’

Andrew Hammond
AP

The Ottawa Senators made Chris Driedger an emergency recall so fellow goalie Andrew Hammond could take care of a “personal matter.”

The team didn’t specify if Hammond will actually miss any  game time, as the Senators don’t play again until they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

Assuming his personal matter takes a while, it’s not a bad time to step away; Ottawa’s schedule is pretty light this week with games on Wednesday and Saturday.

Hammond was on the wrong side of Alex Ovechkin‘s historic night, as Ovechkin scored goals 500 and 501 against him. He absorbed every goal in the Senators’ humbling 7-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

Video: Dustin Byfuglien gets a piece of Evander Kane

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All eyes are on Evander Kane in Winnipeg, and Dustin Byfuglien even took a special moment to “welcome him back.”

Translation: he body-checked him pretty hard.

(As you may remember, Byfuglien was the guy who allegedly tossed Kane’s infamous track suit in the shower when they were still Jets teammates.)

You can see that check in the video above, which left Kane stumbling. That’s sort of been the unfortuante theme for the now-Buffalo Sabres forward on Sunday, at least so far.