Jason Brough

Gudbranson threatened Martin in a ‘fit of rage,’ didn’t really mean what he said

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Erik Gudbranson didn’t really mean it. He doesn’t actually intend to kill Matt Martin.

“That was kind of a spur of the moment,” Gudbranson said Thursday. “I was walking to the dressing room. I was just frustrated. That was a tough night. Do I mean anything I said? Absolutely not. That’s outrageous. That’s just kind of a fit of rage. Unfortunately, it got blown up to that proportion.”

Gudbranson, of course, was heard saying, “Matt Martin’s dead,” after his Vancouver Canucks got thumped, 6-3, in Toronto on Nov. 5. Martin, the big Maple Leafs forward, had gone after Canuck rookie Troy Stecher in the boisterous affair, which had also featured a controversial Nazem Kadri hit on Daniel Sedin, among a few other things.

The Canucks have a rematch with the Leafs Saturday in Vancouver.

Gudbranson was asked if he’d heard anything from the league ahead of the game. He hadn’t, personally, but his general manager, Jim Benning, was contacted, and then Benning relayed the message to Gudbranson.

The message is obviously that the league will be watching closely.

The Canucks, currently missing their two best defenseman, had one of their worst performances of the season Thursday, falling 3-1 to the Ducks at Rogers Arena. So they should be doubly motivated to play well Saturday against the visitors from Toronto.

“That’s a good hockey team that spanked us in their own building,” Gudbranson said of the Leafs. “Our main focus, and especially mine, is coming out and getting two points. That’s the best way to hurt them. We need to be ready for a big tilt.”

Pre-game reading: Vote Craig Anderson into the All-Star Game

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— Up top, Jonathan Toews and Auston Matthews challenge each other to break a bunch of stuff. It’s not quite Michael Jordan and Larry Bird shooting for a Big Mac, but it’s not bad.

— The Ottawa Citizen thinks it would be nice if fans voted Senators goalie Craig Anderson into the All-Star Game (vote here). We couldn’t agree more. Anderson is currently on a leave of absence to be with his wife, Nicholle, who is battling cancer. Even if he couldn’t attend the game, voting him in would send both of them a supportive message. (Ottawa Citizen)

— Pierre LeBrun believes wins should be worth three points, not just two. We’ve argued the same, but others with slightly more sway disagree. Said Flames president Brian Burke: “You will have teams mathematically eliminated from the playoffs by Christmas. … I have zero interest in that. None. I’d rather put a sharp stick in my eye.” Okay then. (ESPN)

— Which NHL teams need to rebuild the most? According to Vice Sports, the Vancouver Canucks come in at No. 1, followed by the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders. The Canucks, for the record, do not believe they need to tear it down and start all over again. So far, they’ve been resistant to trading the likes of Chris Tanev and Jannik Hansen, though we’ll see if that changes if they miss the playoffs again. (Vice Sports)

Gerard Gallant, former Florida Panthers head coach, gets into a cab after being relieved of his duties following an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
AP

— Gerard Gallant wants everyone to know that the Florida Panthers called him a car service after he got fired in Carolina. “I know everyone has seen the photos of me getting into the cab,” he told Sportsnet via text message. “What happened is getting blown out of proportion. They called a car service, but I did not want to wait.” Fair enough.

— Remember goalie Jeff Glass? He won a gold medal at the 2005 World Juniors, back-stopping Canada’s loaded roster that featured Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron, Brent Seabrook, Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Andrew Ladd, and Corey Perry. Glass was drafted by the Ottawa Senators but never got to play an NHL game, instead spending most of his pro career in the KHL. Now 31 years old, he’s with the Toronto Marlies on a professional tryout. The Marlies, of course, needed a goalie after Garret Sparks was suspended for remarks he made online. (Canadian Press)

Hall returns for Devils, John Quenneville expected to make NHL debut

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  John Quenneville is selected thirtieth by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will see a familiar face on the ice tonight at United Center. His second cousin, John, is expected to make his NHL debut for the visiting New Jersey Devils.

John Quenneville has been tearing it up in the AHL. The 20-year-old forward has seven goals and 10 assists in 20 games for Albany. He’s tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Jake Guentzel (currently up with Pittsburgh) for the points lead among AHL rookies.

The Devils are also expected to get Taylor Hall back tonight. Hall was back practicing with his teammates earlier this week. He’ll end up missing just eight games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

The Devils have added forward Beau Bennett (lacerated leg) to injured reserve, clearing a roster spot for Quenneville.

Quenneville was drafted 30th overall in 2014. He then spent two additional years in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings before beginning his pro career this season.

The Blackhawks will be without their captain, Jonathan Toews, for a fourth straight game.

No Toews tonight and ‘doubtful’ to return Saturday

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center on December 27, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Hurricanes defeated the Blackhawks 2-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Jonathan Toews will miss a fourth straight game tonight when his Chicago Blackhawks host the New Jersey Devils.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Toews suffered a back injury last week in San Jose. Head coach Joel Quenneville said today that the Blackhawks’ captain is “doubtful” for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia, which would make it five games missed.

The ‘Hawks have survived relatively well without Toews, going 2-0-1 in the three games he’s been out. But not surprisingly, they’ve struggled to maintain puck possession. If not for Corey Crawford, they could’ve gone winless.

Chicago has a quick turnaround after Saturday’s game in Philly, returning home to host Winnipeg Sunday and Arizona Tuesday.

World Juniors to return to Vancouver in 2019

VANCOUVER - JANUARY 5:  Justin Pogge #33 and Jonathan Toews #29 of Team Canada in action against Team Russia during the gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships at General Motors Place on January 5, 2006 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Team Canada defeated Team Russia 5-0 to win the gold medal.   (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
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Hockey Canada will reportedly announce later today that the 2019 World Juniors will be co-hosted by Vancouver and Victoria.

The event will return to British Columbia for the first time since 2006, when it was co-hosted by Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops.

The city of Victoria, a ferry ride across the Georgia Strait from Vancouver, opened the 7,000-seat Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in 2005. It is currently the home of the WHL’s Victoria Royals.

The games in Vancouver will be held at Rogers Arena, where in 2006 Canada blasted Russia, 5-0, in the gold-medal game.

That Canadian team featured the likes of Jonathan Toews, Kris Letang, Dave Bolland, and Marc Staal, against a Russian side with Evgeni Malkin, Alex Radulov, and Alexei Emelin.

The 2017 World Juniors will be co-hosted by Montreal and Toronto. The 2018 tournament will be held in Buffalo, including an outdoor game between the United States and Canada at New Era Field, the home of the NFL’s Bills.