Chris Tanev

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Michael Del Zotto picks teeth up off the ice, is a good teammate

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Friends don’t let friends leave their teeth on the ice.

So Vancouver Canucks defenseman Michael Del Zotto did what needed to be done Saturday night in Toronto, picking up several of fellow defenseman Chris Tanev‘s chicklets off the ice after the latter got drilled in the mouth by a deflected puck.

It’s bad luck for Tanev, who only return to the lineup on Saturday after missing three weeks with a groin strain.

The video below shows the carnage, as point shot seems to take a deflection off the stick of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner‘s stick and up into Tanev’s grill.

Tanev, understandably, had to leave the game for repairs.

Mouth guards can only do so much, and it looks like Tanev will have a date with the dentist’s chair sometime in the future.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M

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Jim Benning wasn’t kidding when he called Brandon Sutter a “foundation piece.”

Just days after acquiring Sutter from Pittsburgh in a multi-player trade, the Canucks GM is reportedly close to inking the 26-year-old to a fairly large extension, per Sportsnet:

If accurate, the extension — which would kick in for 2016-17 — will make Sutter one of just two players on the active roster signed until 2020, the other being defenseman Chris Tanev. The estimated cap hit would also make Sutter one of the highest-paid forwards on the team next season, behind the Sedins ($7M each) and Alex Burrows ($4.5M).

Sutter’s two-year, $6.6M deal expires at the end of this season.

Given the reported money and term, it’s pretty clear Benning sees Sutter as the fix to Vancouver’s second-line center problem. Nick Bonino, part of the package sent to Pittsburgh for Sutter, looked over his head at times last year as the No. 2, and the club isn’t keen on rushing promising prospect Bo Horvat into the role.

“Horvat, the last half the year, played really well for us,” Benning said on Tuesday. “We don’t want to put pressure on him to be somewhere in the lineup that he can’t handle it going forward. We want to make sure that he keeps developing as a player.”

Whether Sutter can fill the No. 2 role remains to be seen. He was largely a No. 3 guy throughout his time in Pittsburgh, though some of that had to do with being stuck behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the depth chart.

Canucks pick up Bartkowski

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Not long after announcing they’d re-signed Yannick Weber, the Vancouver Canucks announced they’d signed d-man Matt Bartkowski (one year, $1.75 million), too.

Bartkowski, 27, played 131 games for the Bruins from 2011-15, scoring no goals with 24 assists. For much of that time, Canucks GM Jim Benning was with the Boston organization, so there’s some familiarity there.

The addition of Bartkowski gives the Canucks six NHL d-men under contract for 2015-16, plus Frank Corrado and Adam Clendening are expected to push for spots on the roster.

Alex Edler — Chris Tanev
Dan Hamhuis — Yannick Weber
Luca Sbisa — Frank Corrado
Matt Bartkowski — Adam Clendening

Related: Canucks have a puzzle to solve on the blue line

Canucks have a puzzle to solve on the blue line

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Jim Benning learned something in his first year as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.

You can never have enough defensemen.

As such, he plans to start next season with eight blue-liners, not just seven, like he did this past season. And he wants even more options down on the farm, in case of injury.

“We’ll start with eight defensemen, but we want to have 11 D capable of playing in the NHL,” Benning told The Province. “That’s something I learned this year from being in the West. The travel wears the team down a bit and it seems to take a toll on your defense.”

Currently, if you had to pick a group of eight Canucks defenders, it might look something like this:

Alex Edler-Chris Tanev
Dan Hamhuis-Yannick Weber
Luca Sbisa-Kevin Bieksa
Ryan Stanton-Adam Clendening

But there’s also young, right-shooting Frank Corrado. The 22-year-old is arguably ready for the NHL. Hence, the speculation Vancouver may try and trade Bieksa.

Of course, trading Bieksa would mean one less defenseman, on a team that wants to have lots of them.

The challenge for Benning is a dearth of waivers-exempt, NHL-capable blue-liners. All nine that have been mentioned above require waivers to be sent to the AHL.

There’s also the mix to consider. The current group, as a whole, failed to create enough offense, and in the playoffs had trouble beating Calgary’s aggressive forecheck.

At the very least, Benning has time to figure out a solution.

“The season doesn’t start for four months,” he said. “If we want to add a certain type of player by trade, it’s something we’d look at. Like, say, a better transition defenseman.”

Related: Despite ‘step in the right direction,’ do Canucks need to alter core?

Video: Flames, Canucks combine for over 100 PIM in wild line brawl

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VANCOUVER — With less than two minutes remaining in the Canucks’ 4-1 win over Calgary in Game 2 of their opening-round series, this happened:

Pugilism!

The brawl came after a chippy 58 minutes of action in which the Flames, stymied for most of the night by Vancouver’s tight checking and the goaltending of Eddie Lack, started to get physical; Michael Ferland took a healthy run at Chris Tanev that ended with a charging penalty midway through the third, and both Dennis Wideman and Yannick Weber were given 10-minute misconducts with less than five to go.

Then came the fireworks. Nobody’s quite sure of the total penalty minute tally yet, as the game officials still appear to be working out the figures, but the incident easily eclipsed 100 PIM all told.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see if the NHL’s Department of Player Safety opts to review any of tonight’s events; Deryk Engelland received an instigator penalty late, on top of two (yes, two) fighting majors and two (or possibly three) game misconducts.

There also could be a review of Dan Hamhuis, who was the third man in on the fight between Engelland and Derek Dorsett.