Mike Halford


Boll suspended four games for ‘excessively late and incredibly forceful’ Bellemare hit


The NHL has tagged Columbus forward Jared Boll with a four-game suspension for his hit on Philly’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Tuesday night.

“Boll crashes down and delivers a hit that is both excessively late and incredibly forceful,” the Department of Player Safety said in its video explanation. “What elevates this hit to merit supplemental discipline is its extreme lateness and the predatory nature of the hit.”

Boll was originally given a five-minute interference major and game misconduct on the play, which occurred early in the second period of Columbus’ eventual 3-2 win.

Bellemare appeared shaken up, but did return to finish the contest and log just under 11 minutes of ice time.

With the suspension, Boll will now miss Columbus’ games against Carolina, Nashville, Washington and the New York Islanders, eligible to return on Saturday, Apr. 2 with a game against the ‘Canes.

Boll is a repeat offender, having been suspended three games last March for a headshot on then-Ducks forward Patrick Maroon. Boll will now forfeit $82.926.84 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.


Avs mum on plan for prized rookie Rantanen

Mikko Rantanen, Tim Jackman

The Colorado Avalanche will be a team worth watching over the next four days — and not just because they’re in the thick of the Western Conference wild card race.

With injuries sidelining top scorers Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs have recalled Mikko Rantanen, the 10th overall pick at the 2015 draft.

To say Rantanen is an exciting prospect would be putting it mildly. Still just 19 years old, he’s been tearing up the American League this year — he has 52 points in 44 games, was named to the league’s annual All-Star Game, leads all AHL rookies in scoring and recently set a new San Antoino franchise record for points and assists by a first-year player.

The catch, of course, is that Rantanen was sent down to the AHL earlier this year after playing six NHL contests.

He participated in his seventh in Sunday’s win over Edmonton, meaning he’s got two more before he hits lucky No. 9 — at which time the Avs have to decide whether he’ll play No. 10, and “burn” the first year of his entry-level deal, or be sent back to San Antonio.

Colorado plays Philly tonight, then has a huge tilt against Minnesota on Saturday.

So, what’s the plan for Rantanen?

“Ask me the question on Sunday, I’ll be very happy to answer the question,” head coach Patrick Roy said, per the Denver Post. “As of right now, the focus is on tonight. He’s been working very hard on his game and let’s see where he is after those two games.”

Guess we’ll find out in 96 hours, then.


Sharks recall tough guy Haley ahead of rematch with Nurse, Oilers


Remember when Darnell Nurse jumped Roman Polak, bloodying the Sharks d-man and getting suspended three games for it?

Well, it looks like San Jose remembers.

In a roster move that’s raising some eyebrows, the Sharks have recalled tough guy Micheal Haley from their AHL affiliate — ahead of tonight’s home game against the Oilers, the first time the two sides have met since the Nurse-Polak incident.

Haley has played in 10 games for the Sharks this year, though most of them came early in the season. He did appear in two games earlier this month and, as is his nature, racked up 11 PIM (including one fight against Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett).

When Haley’s been in the San Jose lineup this year, he’s been an active fighter. He’s scrapped five times in those 10 games.

Nurse was asked about the possibility of San Jose seeking revenge for his earlier actions, but didn’t seem overly concerned about it.

“You get suspended and there’s obviously something amongst players (on the other team),” he told the Edmonton Journal. “I dunno, I’ll worry about that when the game starts.”

Ducks send home two more from trip: Kesler (personal), Despres (undisclosed)

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This is turning into a pretty forgettable road swing for the Ducks.

Having already lost David Perron to a shoulder injury, Anaheim has now returned Ryan Kesler and Simon Despres back home — Kesler to attend to a personal matter, Despres with an undisclosed injury.

Despres, who played just over 18 minutes in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Montreal, had missed 42 games earlier this season with a concussion, so it’s understandable the Ducks are taking a cautious approach with his health.

“He got hit last game and he wasn’t feeling right,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said, per the O.C. Register. “With his history, we wanted to make sure that he’s completely better before he plays.”

Kesler has 17 goals and 44 points this season, and is Boudreau’s defensive shutdown option against opposing centers. He’ll be missed.

Anaheim has three games left on its five-game Canadian swing: tonight in Toronto, Saturday in Ottawa and Monday in Edmonton.

Grounded Jet: Myers to undergo knee and hip surgeries, facing lengthy rehab

Winnipeg Jets v St Louis Blues
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Towering Winnipeg defenseman Tyler Myers won’t be having a fun offseason.

On Thursday, the Jets announced that Myers will be undergoing knee and hip surgeries, the latter of which is more “significant” and will sideline him for 4-5 months.

The club said Myers will first undergo the knee procedure, then hip. That initial surgery will happen tomorrow, meaning he’s done for the remainder of this season.

The 26-year-old played big minutes for the Jets this year. He was one of only three skaters to play in all 73 games thus far and averaged 22:37 TOI. Myers had a decent offensive campaign, too, with nine goals and 27 points — the nine goals were two off his career high of 11.

According to the Jets, Myers is expected to be rehabbed by the start of training camp.