Author: Matt Reitz

Taylor Hall, Paul Gaustad

Taylor Hall takes skate to the face in warm-ups


The Edmonton Oilers have had their share of injury problems this season, but this one has to take the cake. While skating in warm-ups before their game in Columbus tonight, Taylor Hall fell and was cut in the face by teammate Corey Potter’s skate. According to a team spokesman, Hall “fell and a teammate tried to avoid him and his skate cut him.”

In the aftermath, Hall took a deep cut above the eye and according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, “may require more extensive repairs.” In this case, “extensive repairs” consisted of 30 stitches for the Oilers winger. Initial reports said that Hall was sent to the hospital, but later it was clarified that he was being attended to by the Oilers medical staff at Nationwide Arena.

For anyone wondering how he could be cut around the eye while he wears a visor, he was not wearing a helmet during the warm-ups.

The injury means the Oilers were forced to start the game without Hall, superstar rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle tonight. For those keeping track at home, that means the Oilers are without 45 goals and 64 assists between those three productive forwards.

Then again, the Oilers were able to rack up a pair of goals as they raced out to a 2-0 lead through the first period of action…

Update (10:04pm EST): …and after scoring the first two goals of the game, the Oilers watched Columbus rattle off four straight goals for the 4-2 win.

PHT Morning Skate: Darryl wins Sutter Bowl I

Darryl Sutter

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Even though Darryl Sutter kept downplaying the “Sutter Bowl,” the Kings players said that they could tell there was a little something extra on the line against the Flames. (LA Times)

Sutter wasn’t the only one making a return to Calgary. In his first game back, newly acquired Michael Cammalleri reminded everyone that he still knows how to puck the puck in the net—and halfway through the game, he was reunited with a familiar linemate. (Calgary Herald)

Remember Angelo Esposito? Well, now he’s a member of the Stars. No, not the Dallas Stars… the Texas Stars. (Dallas Morning News)

Should Tampa trade for a goaltender? Erik Erlendsson says that Lightning fans should get used to the idea of a Roloson/Garon tandem for the rest of the season. (Tampa Tribune)

Every young team undergoing a complete rebuild would like to think that they will be as successful as the Chicago Blackhawks model. So with that in mind, are the Edmonton Oilers on the right track? (Cult of Hockey)

The Ottawa Senators should send the Coyotes a “thank you” card. Since acquiring Kyle Turris, the Sens have earned 22 out of a possible 26 points. (Ottawa Sun)

Speed makes the NHL game one of the best spectator sports in the world. But it also makes it one of the most dangerous. (Star Tribune)

Last night, Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins was the recipient of a hit that is sure to be reviewed by the league office. He says he feels fine, but head coach Todd McLellan had some strong feelings after the game. (CSN Bay Area)

It only took 12 years and 580 NHL games, but Evgeni Nabokov became the 26th member of the 300 win club with his win over the Buffalo Sabres. (Islanders Official)

Speaking of the Islanders/Sabres game, check out this scrap between Matt Martin and Joe Finley. Both men earned every bit of their five minute escape to the penalty box. (NHL)

Wild captain Mikko Koivu leaves with upper body injury

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild

Mikko Koivu was forced to leave the game earlier after he was rocked by a Vladimir Sobotka check less than eight minutes into the game against the St. Louis Blues. The Minnesota Wild announced in the first period that his return was questionable and that he’d suffered an “upper body injury.” It didn’t take long for the status update to be amended to “will not return” for tonight’s game.

For a little more detail on the injury, Wild beat writer Michael Russo described the aftermath of the hit. He said Koivu “immediately cradled his arm close to his body and skated to the bench like it was his shoulder.”

We’ll eagerly await an update that offers more than upper-body injury.

For the Wild, this is just the latest in injury in a season that has seen way too much action in the trainer’s room. Minnesota has already seen forwards Devin Setoguchi, Guillaume Latendresse, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard sidelined for extended periods this season—the latter two players still out indefinitely with concussions. The last thing they need is their best center and leader to miss any time as they frantically look to right the ship after a recent 2-7-1 stretch.

Good thing the Wild were able to get the season started on the right foot. Despite the recent struggles, the Wild are still right in the middle of the pack for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. If the beginning of the season proved anything, it was that this team has the potential to be dangerous when they have all of their guns healthy.

You make the call: Dane Byers may be hearing from Mr. Shanahan

Dane Byers, Grant Clitsome

Another day, another questionable shot to the head by an NHL player. This time, its Dane Byers landing a shoulder/elbow to the head of Sharks center Andrew Desjardins only three minutes into the second period of Columbus’ game against San Jose. Desjardins’ teammate Bard Winchester immediately came to his aid by trying to punch Byers in the face and Byers received a match penalty for “intent to injure,” but the stiffer punishment could come from Brendan Shanahan in the coming days.

Unfortunately, Desjardins headed to the locker room and did not return for the final 17 minutes of the first period. For Byers’ part, he was playing in his fifth game this season and the 11th contest of his career. In 11 games though, he’s already been suspended once by the league for an illegal hit in 2009 while a member of the New York Rangers.

That’s right—he’s only played 11 career games and his current five game stretch for the Blue Jackets is his first cup of coffee in the NHL since 2009; yet he’s still a “repeat offender.”

Take a look at the hit and let us know what you think. Do you think Byers deserves a suspension? If so, how long should he be forced to sit? The comment section beckons…

Dineen says Versteeg “needs to play a higher level of hockey”

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers
1 Comment

Things aren’t going as well for the Florida Panthers as they were through the first three months of the season. The Southeast Division leading Panthers have been slumping and they only have a single win since the calendar flipped to 2012. The frustration came to a head when head coach Kevin Dineen sent a strong message to Kris Versteeg when he benched the top-line winger for extended periods during the third period against the Penguins on Friday night.

First thing is first: Versteeg, Stephen Weiss, and Tomas Fleischmann have been nothing short of amazing for the Panthers this season. For those looking for a reason for the Panthers shockingly strong start, look no further than the trio that has formed on of the best lines in the entire NHL.

Spearheading the line has been the comeback of Kris Versteeg. He’s leading the team with 17 goals and 39 points as he looks to rediscover the form that made him a Calder Trophy finalist in 2009. But lately, his head coach has seen his play starting to slip.

Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel asked Dineen about his decision to limit Versteeg’s ice-time on Friday night. “I think that was a pretty strong reflection of what my feelings were on his play and that’s not a one-game snapshot,” Dineen said. “I don’t do that based on one game. I think there’s been a stretch of games where he … is such an important leadership role for this team, [he] needs to play a higher level of hockey.”

The message? Great start Kris… but there’s still three more months to play.

Versteeg still thinks the line is getting chances and it’s only a matter of time before things turn around for the trio. “We still feel we’ve had a ton of chances. I don’t know how many posts and nets we’ve missed in the last 3-4 games. If one of those go in, it could change the whole dynamic of the confidence for our team and line, especially.”

Dineen’s allocation of ice-time is the best way to express his displeasure with Versteeg’s recent play. We’ll see on Monday night against the Bruins if the message was received.