Author: Mike Halford

P.K. Subban,

Stone suffered microfracture on Subban slash, Sens confirm


I hate using a term like slash-gate, but I have a slash-gate update for you.

On Thursday morning, Ottawa announced that Mark Stone — the recipient of a P.K. Subban slash in Wednesday’s series-opening loss to Montreal — has suffered a microfracture in his right wrist, and that his availability for the rest of the series is unknown.

Stone, Ottawa’s star rookie, got caught with the slash midway through the second period and left the game momentarily, but did return and finished with over 15 minutes of ice time.

Losing him would be a major blow.

Since Jan. 1, only four players have scored more points than Stone’s 44 — John Tavares, Alex Ovechkin, Jamie Benn and Sidney Crosby. It gives you an idea of the level Stone’s been playing at and how important he is to the Sens, especially after they dropped Game 1.

Stone didn’t skate with Ottawa on Wednesday as Milan Michalek took his spot on a line with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. Alex Chiasson took Michalek’s spot alongside Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad, which meant that Chris Neil drew into the mix and rushed on the fourth line.

As for Subban, he won’t face any supplemental discipline from the league and, per reports from this morning, Sens head coach Dave Cameron won’t be fined for his threats of retaliation against Montreal for the slash.

Report: No fine for Cameron after threatening retaliation on Habs


Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron won’t be fined for his remarks following a contentious Game 1 of the Sens-Habs series, per Sportsnet.

Cameron, upset about the slash P.K. Subban delivered on Mark Stone during Montreal’s 4-3 win Wednesday night, ominously suggested that if Subban didn’t receive a suspension — which he didn’t — the Sens would have to take matters into their own hands.

“I think it’s an easy solution,” he said in his postgame remarks. “You either suspend him or one of their best players gets slashed and just give us five [major penalty].

“Not that complicated.”

Cameron, coaching in his first-ever playoff series, could’ve been subjected to a $25,000 fine for those remarks, per TSN. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has protocol in place that forbids teams to lobby the league for supplemental discipline 48 hours following a game and/or hearing and, as Bob McKenzie tweeted last night, that prohibition “extends to include formal team statements to the media.”

Like a postgame press conference, for example.

Per Sportsnet and ESPN, warnings have been issued to both Montreal and Ottawa about their conduct moving forward. Just don’t expect those warnings to do much — these two teams have a nasty history, stemming from the ’13 playoff series that included Eric Gryba’s devastating hit on Lars Eller, and the subsequent Player 61/bug eyed fat walrus stuff between the habs and then-Sens head coach Paul MacLean.

Wild lose Cooke for Game 1 against Blues


Minnesota will be without one of its most tested playoff veterans for its series opener versus St. Louis.

Matt Cooke, who missed extensive time this year to a sports hernia, will be held out of Game 1 due to soreness from that same injury, the Wild announced.

Cooke, who missed 31 game to the hernia, returned late in the season and played in Minnesota’s final two games, scoring two points. The 36-year-old was looked upon as a welcome addition with the postseason on the horizon; Cooke is a known playoff performer with over 100 games of experience, capturing a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009.

Cooke’s, ahem, noted brand of physicality was also thought to be important against a heavy Blues team that likes to take the body. While he’s (rightly) earned the reputation as one of the NHL’s dirtiest hitters, Cooke can be very effective in his role when he’s not crossing the line.

After ‘one of the greatest relief performances you’re going to see,’ Quenneville mum on Game 2 starter

Scott Darling, Corey Crawford, Teuvo Teravainen

The last thing anybody expected out of Chicago this spring was a goaltending controversy but, after the Blackhawks’ 4-3 double-OT win over the Preds on Wednesday night, there might be one.

After Scott Darling’s 42-save relief of Corey Crawford — who was hooked after allowing three goals on 12 shots — Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville played it coy about who would start in Game 2 against Nashville.

It stands to reason that, after starting 57 games in the regular season, Crawford will be right back in on Friday in Nashville — but if that’s the case, then why the hesitation from Q? He could’ve snuffed out any potential controversy by right away confirming that Crawford’s the guy, yet chose not to. Curious decision.

Perhaps there’s more to this than just Darling’s stellar effort tonight. He was very good in a small sample size during the regular season, going 9-4-0 with a 1.94 GAA and .936 save percentage — strong enough to take the backup gig away from Antti Raanta.

“Rock solid every time he’s been in the net for us, from preseason scrimmages to exhibition games to last game (and) he did well in Rockford,” Quenneville said of Darling earlier this year, per the Tribune. “He’s played very well.”

Now, with all that said, let’s remember — Crawford’s played every playoff game for Chicago since 2011 and backstopped the ‘Hawks to a Cup in ’13, so it’ll take an awful lot to bounce him from the No. 1 gig.

But for tonight, at least, the potential is out there.

Comeback kids: Flames score winner with 30 seconds left, stun Canucks in Game 1


VANCOUVER — The Calgary Flames did it again.

After a regular season in which they staged 10 third-period comebacks for wins, the Flames conjured up similar magic in their series opener against Vancouver as Kris Russell scored with 30 seconds left for a 2-1 win.

“I think if you asked anyone (on the Flames) we’d rather have the lead and just win that way,” said Russell. “But we knew (trailing after two periods) that we’d been in a situation like that. We knew we had to earn it though. They’re not a team that’s going to roll over and just sit back. We had to be at our best.”

That they were.

With the victory, the Flames wrestled home-ice advantage away from the more experienced Canucks and scored their first playoff victory in six years.

As the final score and shot total — 30 a piece — suggest, this was a tightly-contested affair. Neither team scored in the opening period though Vancouver held an advantage in possession and pucks directed on goal, registering 13 to Calgary’s 10.

In period two, a rookie broke the deadlock.

Vancouver forward Bo Horvat scored his first-ever career playoff tally, directing a shot on goal that took a wicked deflection before settling past Jonas Hiller in the Calgary goal:

The Canucks would take that 1-0 lead into the third period — which, it could be argued, is just how Calgary wanted it.

After scoring 99 third-period goals during the regular season, Calgary scored two more in the final 13 minutes of tonight’s game. The first came courtesy David Jones, on a nice drop pass from Michael Ferland:

Calgary and Vancouver traded chances after that, and the game looked destined for overtime until Russell fired home with a half-minute remaining.


Hiller finished with 29 saves on the night, while Eddie Lack countered with 28 for the Canucks…Calgary rookie Sam Bennett, playing in just his second NHL game, recorded an assist on Russell’s game-winning goal… Speaking of, that goal was the latest game-winner in Flames franchise history, per Elias.