Jason Brough

Brandon Prust
AP

Prust allowed to leave AHL to rehab ankle, prepare for next season

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The Vancouver Canucks are letting Brandon Prust leave the AHL to go home and rehab his ankle.

The Canucks, via Twitter, are calling it a “mutual decision” that allows the 31-year-old forward to “shift focus from playing with ankle discomfort the rest of this season to rehab and preparation for next season.”

Prust suffered a significant ankle injury in October that kept him out for a month. When he returned, he struggled to keep up with the play, and was eventually put on waivers and assigned to the AHL.

A pending unrestricted free agent (who will almost certainly not be re-signed by the Canucks), Prust had one goal and six assists in nine games for the Utica Comets.

Related: The Canucks were going to scratch Prust, but it’s a ‘delicate dance’

Tinordi suspension caught the Coyotes ‘by surprise’

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 03:  Ryan Garbutt #16 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck ahead of Jarred Tinordi #28 of the Arizona Coyotes during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on March 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 5-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told reporters today in Vancouver that Jarred Tinordi‘s 20-game suspension for taking a banned substance “caught us by surprise.”

Tippett also said, according to The Province newspaper, that “it was something that’s been going on since before he got to our team.”

In other words, it was “going on” when Tinordi was still a member of the Montreal Canadiens, before he was dealt to Arizona in January as part of the much-discussed John Scott trade.

Which is pretty interesting when you recall how Habs GM Marc Bergevin explained the deal at the time.

“I have a reason that I can’t really tell you why,” said Bergevin, “but if I could, you would probably understand.”

It was widely assumed that Bergevin was referring to Scott’s inclusion in the deal — a deal that many saw as a way for the NHL to keep the big enforcer out of the All-Star Game.

What many are wondering now is whether Bergevin was actually referring to Tinordi’s positive test result.

The Coyotes, according to the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan, say that neither team knew:

And according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the test results would have had to stay private anyway.

We’ll see if Bergevin has anything to add the next time he speaks with reporters.

‘Matter closed’ — NHL concludes allegations against Patrick Kane were ‘unfounded’

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A statement from the NHL:

“The National Hockey League announced today that it has completed its independent review of the Patrick Kane matter, the final stage of which included an in-person meeting between Kane and Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York on Monday, March 7. Based on its review, including the determination made by the Erie County District Attorney not to pursue charges, the NHL has concluded that the allegations made against Kane were unfounded. The League considers the matter closed and will have no further comment.”

As recently as January, the NHL had maintained that its investigation of Kane was “ongoing.”

The allegations of sexual assault against Kane first emerged in August.

Kane, 27, is the favorite to win the Hart Trophy this season. With 89 points in 67 games, he leads the NHL in scoring by a 16-point margin.

Sounds like four outdoor games next season

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 01:  A general view is seen as the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Washington Capitals during the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washington won 3-1.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Only one is official, but it sounds like there could be four outdoor NHL games next season.

The official one is Oct. 23 in Winnipeg, the Heritage Classic between the Jets and Oilers at Investors Group Field.

The reported ones are:

— Jan. 1, 2017, in Toronto, presumably at BMO Field, between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings (Toronto Star)
— Jan. 2, 2017, in St. Louis, at Busch Stadium, the Winter Classic between the Blues and Blackhawks (Post-Dispatch)
— Feb. 18, 2017, in Pittsburgh, at Heinz Field, between the Penguins and Flyers (TSN and ESPN)

Official announcements for the reported ones are expected shortly, possibly later today.

Oh, and say what you will about the novelty of these outdoor games having worn off — it definitely has for a lot of fans — but don’t expect many, if any, tickets to go unsold.

Devils’ Ruutu fined $5,000 for slew-footing

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 21: Tuomo Ruutu #15 of the New Jersey Devils in action against the New York Islanders during the third period at the Prudential Center on March 21, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
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Devils forward Tuomo Ruutu has been fined $5,000 for slew-footing Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen on Sunday.

The fine is the maximum allowable under the CBA.

Ruutu received a minor penalty on the play, which occurred in the third period of the Penguins’ 6-1 victory.

Video of the incident: