Author: Mike Halford

2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional

Rich get richer: Bolts sign star NCAA goalie Wilcox


The Tampa Bay Lightning have added another quality young netminder to the organizational depth chart, signing University of Minnesota stalwart Adam Wilcox — their sixth-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — to a two-year, two-way contract on Wednesday.

Wilcox, 22, opted to forgo his senior year with the Gophers — like fellow teammate Brady Skjei did — and leaves the school tied for the all-time lead in shutouts, with 13. Over his three years at Minnesota, he was nominated for both the Mike Richter and Hobey Baker awards and, during a stellar sophomore campaign, was named the inaugural Big Ten Player of the Year.

As mentioned above, Wilcox joins an organization that’s pretty flush with talented young netminders. The Bolts have 20-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy, their first-round pick in 2012, currently serving as Ben Bishop’s No. 2 at the NHL level while Latvian Olympic hero Kristers Gudlevskis, 22, is the starter in AHL Syracuse.

‘My first reaction was, oh my God, my eye is gone,’ says Detroit’s Miller


After taking a skate to the face early in Tuesday’s loss to Ottawa, Detroit forward Drew Miller — sporting 60 stitches across his face — said that in the immediate aftermath of the incident, he feared the damage was catastrophic.

“When it happened, my first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, my eye is gone,’” per the Red Wings website. “It hit so hard … there was so much blood that I wasn’t sure if it had clipped my eyeball or what had happened. I wasn’t sure.”

The incident:

Amazingly, the skate cut almost everything but Miller’s eye. He has a four-inch long jagged cut that runs diagonally from the side of his face diagonally toward the bottom of the right eye, and there’s another cut above the eye. The 31-year-old didn’t experience any vision issues.

“I definitely feel very blessed that the skate didn’t hit my eye,” he said. “I was very lucky. Right now it’s just dealing with the cut, the stitches and the soreness. Other than that my eye’s good and I got on the ice today and felt pretty good.”

Miller, who currently holds Detroit’s ironman streak with 159 consecutive games played, tried to get back into the Ottawa game — before ultimately staying out — and wants to get back in against the Bruins on Thursday, so long as he’s cleared medically.

“I think we have to talk to some more doctors and see how my face reacts,” Miller said. “I guess maybe it takes the next 24 hours to see if the swelling gets worse or how that is with skating. I don’t know how that will react. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow and see how things kind of hopefully get better.”

Malkin (undisclosed) out versus Flyers, Pens to play with 17 skaters

Sean Couturier, Evgeni Malkin

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be decidedly undermanned when they take on the Flyers on Rivalry Night, as Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch from the contest due to an undisclosed injury.

Pittsburgh, who came into tonight’s contest without the services of Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff (along with Pascal Dupuis and Olli Maatta, who were previously ruled out for the year), were down to just five defensemen and 13 forwards prior to the Malkin injury, and will now roll with 12 skaters up front.

More, from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

(Video) McKenzie: ‘Best guess is anywhere from 3-5 games’ for Byfuglien suspension

Dustin Byfuglien

On Wednesday, NHL insider Bob McKenzie spoke with NBC’s Liam McHugh about the nasty cross-check Dustin Byfuglien delivered to J.T. Miller during Winnipeg’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday night:

Byfuglien, as McKenzie notes, will have a telephone hearing at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, meaning the maximum suspension length is five games. While the incident was ugly, two things are working in Byfuglien’s favor: 1) no history as a repeat offender, and 2) Miller wasn’t injured on the play.

That said, those factors are offset by the graphic video evidence against Byfuglien. As McKenzie notes, “it was vicious, and it deserves to be penalized.”

Winnipeg has five games remaining in its regular season: Saturday versus Vancouver, Monday in Minnesota, Tuesday in St. Louis, next Thursday in Colorado and then the regular-season finale, at home, against Calgary on Saturday, Apr. 11.

Voynov trial pushed back, again

Sasha Voynov

There’s been another postponement in the Slava Voynov domestic assault case.

Per the L.A. Times, the trial date has been pushed back from Apr. 21 to July 6, marking the third such an instance has occurred; the Kings defenseman was  originally supposed to go to trial on Mar. 2, then Mar. 9.

As for the key takeaways from today’s session…

— The next hearing will be on May. 4, per the OC Register. That’s when when Judge Eric Taylor will apparently rule on whether Marta Varlamova, Voynov’s wife and alleged victim, must answer questions from prosecutors.

— Varlamova was on-hand in court for the first time. There were lengthy discussions about Varlamova not wanting to testify; Varlamova’s attorney, Michael Walsh, said “she does not wish to explain or justify the reasons” for not testifying, while Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Frank Dunnick argued she had “no right” to refuse, adding there was no spousal privilege at play.

Voynov suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, which will keep him from playing hockey for up to six months. Per LA Kings Insider, Voynov suffered the injury “recreationally” and had surgery last week to repair it. Voynov appeared in court today on crutches and in a cast.

— No word on what the injury could potentially have on L.A.’s cap situation, or if Voynov could be transitioned to LTIR at some point down the road.

— Voynov’s legal team now includes Blair Berk, who has previously represented celebrities like Mel Gibson and Bruce Jenner.