Author: Mike Halford

New York Rangers v Winnipeg Jets

Byfuglien to have phone hearing for Miller cross-check


Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been called to the carpet.

On Wednesday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that Byfuglien would, as many expected, have a disciplinary hearing for this nasty cross-check on Rangers forward J.T. Miller Tuesday night:

The cross-check, which went uncalled, didn’t force Miller from the contest — he continued taking shifts and assisted in Chris Kreider’s game-winning tally with less than four minutes remaining.

Per TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Byfuglien’s hearing will be of the telephone variety, meaning any potential suspension length will be five games or fewer. Had the Department of Player Safety wanted a stiffer punishment, an in-person hearing would’ve been offered.

Slumping Blues lose Tarasenko to lower-body injury

Vladimir Tarasenko

Not the news St. Louis wanted to hear — on Wednesday, the club confirmed that leading goalscorer Vladimir Tarasenko is out with a lower-body injury, sustained during Monday’s 4-1 loss to Vancouver.

Tarasenko, who sits tied for fifth in the NHL with 36 goals, didn’t practice today and appears unlikely to suit up for Thursday’s home date against Calgary. The Russian sniper’s injury comes at a bad time for the Blues — the club is just 1-3-2 in its last six games and, with 99 points, is in danger of being passed in the Central by third-place Chicago (98 points, with six games left) and current wild card holder Minnesota (95 points, with six games left).

There is a silver lining to the injury, though, in that it creates a roster spot for AHL Chicago sniper Ty Rattie. The AHL’s reigning player of the week — he had seven points in three games — Rattie has 42 points in 59 games this year and looks as though he’s on his way to St. Louis. PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban was at Wolves practice on Wednesday and confirmed Rattie was pulled off the ice, presumably so he could be shipped off to the Blues.

Update: Blues made the Rattie recall official. Also, head coach Ken Hitchcock said that Tarasenko (and fellow injured forward Alex Steen) are both day-to-day, and will be ready for the playoffs.

Official: Rangers prospect Skjei leaves Gophers, headed to AHL

University of Michigan v Minnesota

University of Minnesota d-man and first-round pick Brady Skjei has passed on returning for his senior season to join the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford, according to Let’s Play Hockey.


Skjei, 21, was the 28th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has spent the last three seasons in Minnesota. A former U.S. National Development Team member, Skjei is a big-bodied rearguard (6-foot-3, 206 pounds) that the Rangers were hoping would turn pro after the Gophers’ season ended last week with a NCAA regional semifinal defeat to Minnesota-Duluth.

Per the Post, Skjei could be eligible to join the Rangers for this year’s playoffs if he shows well enough in Hartford, and there does appear to be a potential spot up for grabs — Kevin Klein is still out injured, Matt Hunwick has struggled, and AHL farmhand Chris Summers recently made his Rangers debut in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Washington.

UPDATE: Terms of Skjei’s deal have been announced. He’s signed on an AHL amateur tryout (ATO) for this season, meaning he’s ineligible to join the Rangers for the postseason. His entry-level contract will kick in at the start of next season.

Report: No suspension for Burrows after Gaustad hit

Alex Burrows

Vancouver’s Alex Burrows won’t face any supplemental discipline for his hit on Nashville’s Paul Gaustad on Tuesday night, per TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Burrows, who has been suspended once already this season, was given an interference major and game misconduct for this late in the third period of the Canucks’ 5-4 shootout victory:

After the game, Burrows said he was surprised at getting booted from the contest, adding he had no intention to hurt Gaustad but was concerned about possible suspension.

“You’re always worried,” Burrows told the Vancouver Sun. “But it’s not for me to judge or forecast what’s going to happen. I’ll let the people who are in charge make the call and we’ll go from there.

“We did collide. My intentions weren’t to hurt him or anything. It’s tough to say; it’s a tough call. It’s not up to me really to judge if I thought it was a penalty (but) when they told me it was a five, I was pretty surprised and I was upset a little bit about it. But the boys battled and they found a way.”

Gaustad left the game following the hit and didn’t play another shift. The Preds had no update on his condition following the tilt, but center Mike Fisher voiced his displeasure with the play.

“The refs made the right call,” Fisher said. “That was a cheap shot. Hopefully Paul is going to be okay. That’s the main thing.”

Caps unveil new 24-hour radio channel

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom

Big news for hockey fans in the nation’s capital — on Wednesday, Washington announced the launch of its new 24-hour radio channel, Caps Radio 24/7.

More, from the team:

Caps Radio 24/7 provides instant news and access to the Capitals, including live game audio, exclusive Capitals-related hockey content throughout the day. It also features the music and sounds of the organization, from songs heard during games inside Verizon Center, to the music from the locker room and team staff, alumni, and also music selected by fans.

“We want to reinforce a sense of community among our fan base, with players and fans alike contributing to its content,” said Capitals director of broadcasting and radio play-by-play voice John Walton. “We all experience Capitals hockey together, and Caps Radio 24/7 takes that experience out of the rink and makes it portable for all our fans to experience.”

The channel is available through the Caps mobile app and TuneIn Radio, and is the latest in what’s been a pretty significant year for both the organization and Washington as a hockey market. This year’s Winter Classic at Nationals Park was a huge success, something NHL commissioner Gary Bettman noted following the event.

“What you saw here today from 43,000 people,” he said, “was a level of enthusiasm for hockey, for the Capitals that I’m not sure many people imagined could ever have been accomplished here in Washington.”

Related: Winter Classic was a ‘good day’ for the Washington Capitals