Vancouver rookie Jake Virtanen will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety after being kicked out of last night’s game versus the Sharks for a late hit on defenseman Roman Polak.
Virtanen received a five-minute major for interference, as well as a game misconduct, for the check. Polak was shaken up but later returned to the action.
Afterwards, Virtanen admitted the hit was “a little late,” though he argued it was “shoulder-to-shoulder” and not a head shot. He also denied the hit was premeditated after Polak had knocked his stick out of his hands.
Virtanen, 19, was asked if he expected to receive any supplemental discipline.
“I’m not sure,” he told reporters. “It’s a first-time thing for me and something I’ve never really been around it.”
Tony Granato is going back to school.
Not in the Rodney Dangerfield way (a fine film), but to become the head coach of the University of Wisconsin Badgers, the school he played for from 1983-87.
His brother, Don, as well as Mark Osiecki, an assistant coach with AHL Rockford, will join him as associates.
Granato will replace recently fired Mike Eaves.
A former head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, with stints as an assistant in both Pittsburgh and most recently Detroit, Granato will be in charge of turning around a program that has fallen on hard times.
It will start with recruiting.
“The dynamics that go along with college hockey have changed,” Granato told the Badgers’ website. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is the game.
“The game is played and you’re successful when you find kids, student-athletes, that are passionate, that understand the excitement part of playing college hockey. We want to get an enthusiastic, passionate group back.”
Granato’s hiring was originally reported on Sunday by ESPN’s John Buccigross.
St. Cloud State goalie Charlie Lindgren has bypassed his senior year to sign a two-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens.
“Lindgren was in our mind the best free agent goaltender available coming out of the US college level,” said Habs GM Marc Bergevin in a release. “He made the decision to join the Canadiens organization and will complete the season with the team. Lindgren is a top goaltender coming out of college, and becomes an excellent prospect for our organization, bringing some depth at this position.”
Lindgren, 22, went 30-9-1 with a .925 save percentage for the Huskies this season. He told the St. Cloud Times that there were “10-15 teams” interested in him.
“The first thing is the best opportunity,” Lindgren said. “Where do you see yourself having the best path to the NHL?”
After choosing the Canadiens, he’ll now compete with the club’s other goaltending prospects like Zach Fucale, Michael McNiven, Hayden Hawkey, and Mike Condon.
Carey Price, 28, is signed through 2017-18.
Ben Scrivens will be placed on waivers at noon today and will not travel with the team on its trip to Florida. A pending unrestricted free agent, his career with the Habs is presumably over.
Scrivens’ NHL career would seem to be in jeopardy, too. After being traded to Montreal in December, the 29-year-old went 5-8-0 with a .906 save percentage, failing to grasp the opportunity that he was granted due to Carey Price’s injury.
Tyler Seguin will miss the next 3-4 weeks due to an injury.
That’s the bad news for Seguin and his Dallas Stars.
The good news is, it could’ve been worse.
As reported by Stars beat writer Mark Stepneski, Seguin suffered a “15 percent” cut of his Achilles tendon last night against Tampa Bay. He was operated on this morning and had it stitched.
The timeline makes it possible for Seguin to return for the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Apr. 13.
Not that the injury is insignificant, even if Seguin is fully recovered in time for the postseason. The Stars are currently fighting for playoff seeding. With 10 regular-season games left, they’re two points up on St. Louis for first place in the Central Division, and five points up on Chicago. The Blues also have 10 games left; the Blackhawks have 11.
But Seguin is lucky that the cut wasn’t deeper. Just ask Erik Karlsson about that.
He made his NHL debut last Friday and scored his first NHL goal last night.
And today was another big day for Stephen Johns, as the Dallas Stars announced they’d signed the young defenseman to a two-year contract extension.
“Stephen did a tremendous job leading in Cedar Park for Texas all season long,” said Stars GM Jim Nill in a release. “He brings size, physicality and skating to our group of defensemen, and we fully expect him to contribute at the NHL level for years to come.”
According to CapFriendly, Johns is not eligible for waivers until 2017-18, so the Stars have some flexibility with him for next season. (He doesn’t want to go back to the AHL though.)
Of note, Dallas has four pending unrestricted free agents on the back end: Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Kris Russell, and Jordie Benn.