Mike Halford

Prust fined $5K for late-game spear on Marchand


The NHL has come down on Brandon Prust for his antics in the late stages of Vancouver’s 4-0 loss to Boston on Saturday, fining him $5,000 for spearing B’s forward Brad Marchand.

The incident occurred with just under two minutes remaining, and earned Prust a 10-minute misconduct. While some were suggesting a suspension could be coming Prust’s way, sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty suggested otherwise:

Marchand stayed down on the ice in clear pain for long seconds after the play, but made it onto the ice for one more shift after the spearing incident, which he described to reporters as Prust getting him “in the fun spot.”

While no final decision had been made by the NHL Player Safety Department on Saturday night, a source indicated to CSNNE.com that a fine was the most likely outcome for the Canucks’ energy forward.

It’s also worth noting there’s precedent for players getting fined for spearing, rather than suspended. Then-Boston forward Milan Lucic was fined for doing the same to Detroit’s Danny DeKeyser in the ’14 playoffs, as was then-Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt (who was fired for spearing Corey Perry in the same postseason).

Finally, it has to be said this isn’t Prust’s first run-in with the Department of Player Safety. In May of ’14, he was suspended two games for a “late, violent hit” on Rangers center Derek Stepan. Prust was also fined $5,000 by the NHL last year for remarks made about referee Brad Watson.

Arizona loses ’12 first-rounder Samuelsson (ankle) for season (Update: Doan on IR)


On Sunday, Coyotes GM Don Maloney explained the rationale behind claiming Chicago forward Viktor Tihkonov off waivers — and shared some tough news about one of the club’s top prospects.

Henrik Samuelsson, the 27th overall pick in 2012, has undergone season-ending ankle surgery, per the Arizona Republic. Samuelsson has spent all of this year with Arizona’s AHL affiliate in Springfield but made his big-league debut last season, appearing in three games.

It’s a tough blow for Samuelsson and the Coyotes.

While he wasn’t contributing at the NHL level, he’s still only 21 years old and in the midst of his progression — last year, his first in the AHL, he showed well by scoring 18 goals and 40 points in 68 games for Portland.

UPDATE: More injury-related news for the ‘Yotes — to make room for Tikhonov on the active roster, the club has put captain Shane Doan on IR with a lower-body ailment.

Habs recall Tinordi, Tokarski

Columbus Blue Jackets v Montreal Canadiens

Montreal made a pair of moves on Sunday, bringing up d-man Jarred Tinordi and goalie Dustin Tokarski from AHL St. John’s.

Tinordi, 23, has been a significant story for the Canadiens this season despite failing to appear in a single game. The former first-round pick has been stuck in limbo — the club’s depth on defense has kept him from getting into the lineup, but because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, he’s been forced to remain on Montreal’s roster.

This latest stint in the AHL was of the “conditioning” variety. It’s a max two-week stay, not unlike what other youngsters stuck in a similar situation have gone through: Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here) and Patrik Nemeth (see here), to name a few.

As for Tokarski, he’s been up and down between Montreal and St. John’s a few times already this year. After losing the Habs’ backup gig to Mike Condon, he looked as though he’d be spending extensive time with the IceCaps — but, in light of Carey Price‘s injury problems, Tokarski is once again backing up.

To make room for Tokarski, the Canadiens demoted Zachary Fucale.

Welcome back: Coyotes claim Tikhonov off waivers from ‘Hawks

Viktor Tikhonov, Braydon Coburn

What’s old is new again in the desert.

On Sunday, the Arizona Coyotes claimed Viktor Tikhonov off waivers from Chicago (per Arizona Sports), bringing him back to the organization that selected him in the opening round of the 2008 Draft.

Tikhonov, 27, returned to the NHL this season after a four-year stint in the KHL. He signed a one-year, $1.04 million deal with the ‘Hawks but failed to make an impact, going scoreless in 11 games while sitting as a healthy scratch in 10 of the last 11 contests.

The move back to Arizona should be interesting.

Tikhonov, the 28th overall pick in ’08, spent most of his rookie campaign with the Coyotes, scoring eight goals and 16 points in 61 games. That was followed by a stint with AHL San Antonio, then his move to Russia.

Despite that move, it appeared Arizona always kept interest in Tikhonov– last May, GM Don Maloney reportedly reached out to him about an NHL return.

Looks like Bryan Bickell’s on his way back to Chicago

Bryan Bickell

After 12 games, Bryan Bickell’s time in the American Hockey League appears to be over.

Bickell has left the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford, per ex-ESPN Chicago scribe Scott Powers, and is expected to be available for selection when Chicago takes on the Jets today.

Bickell’s return comes after the ‘Hawks put Russian forward Viktor Tikhonov on waivers, for the purpose of sending him to the IceHogs.

The hope now, of course, is that Bickell’s time in the minors has kickstarted his game.

Carrying a hefty four-year, $16 million deal with a $4M average annual cap hit, Bickell struggled mightily over the first month of the NHL campaign, which led to Chicago demoting him in early November.

Over the last month, though, the big power forward looks to have rediscovered his offense. He has seven goals and 14 points in 12 games for Rockford.

“Putting it all together for Bicks is a challenge, but there are always some good parts to his game,” ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “He can skate, he can shoot, he can hit hard. So there are some good attributes there, and just putting them together in that consistent fashion is what we want to see.

“When he delivers it, it makes us a better team.”