Tag: Mark Olver

David Jones

Jones, McGinn will sit and watch tonight


Hoping to jar his team out of a four-game losing skid, Colorado coach Joe Sacco is making a couple of regulars healthy scratches tonight when the Avs host Dallas.

Sacco called it “a case of just underachieving” when he announced that forwards David Jones and Jamie McGinn would sit out against the Stars.

With just three goals in 28 games, Jones’ struggles have been particularly noteworthy. The 28-year-old — who happens to be in the first year of a four-year, $16 million contract — hasn’t registered a point in his last nine games.

Sacco said the club has been patient with Jones, but with the Avs sitting dead last in the Western Conference and six points out of a playoff spot, there’s only so much patience a coach can have with just 20 games left to turn it around.

“It’s a message to the team, too,” said Sacco. “It’s not good enough. We’ve lost four games in a row and we need to be better. As a team, we can’t wait around for guys to get their game. Hopefully it won’t be long-term, but we’ll see. It’s a good chance for Mark Olver to get back in the lineup. Every game he’s played, he’s played gritty, he plays with energy. It’s a chance for a guy like Cody McLeod to move up a little bit and get a little more ice time. Even a guy like Chuck [Kobasew], their numbers aren’t too far off [those of Jones and McGinn]. Let’s shake it up and see what we get.”

Watch: Penguins’ Niskanen delivers clean, hard body check

Florida Panthers v Pittsburgh Penguins

There’s the right way to hit, and the wrong way. The debate continues, but Pittsburgh Penguins blue liner Matt Niskanen delivered a textbook open-ice body check to Florida Panthers 19-year-old rookie Jonathan Huberdeau.

Cutting into the Penguins zone, Huberdeau was stood up just inside the blue line by Niskanen.

Niskanen also scored the winning goal in a 3-1 victory over the Panthers Friday.

The debate about what constitutes a clean hit or one worthy of a suspension has picked up in recent days, particularly after Colorado Avalanche forward Mark Olver did not have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL following a hard hit to St. Louis Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has spoken out about the hit on Tarasenko, calling it “a blow to the head.”

Hitchcock upset with Tarasenko hit: ‘It was a blow to the head’

Toronto Maple Leafs v St. Louis Blues

St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock is displeased with the hit that sidelined his star rookie, Vladimir Tarasenko.

“It’s a blow to the head,” Hitchcock told NHL.com’s Lou Korac about the shot Tarasenko took from Colorado’s Mark Olver on Wednesday night. “Don’t care how it got there, whether it was a legit hockey play — it happens fast.

“It was a blow to the head. That was my concern.”

On Thursday, the NHL said there would be no fine or suspension for Olver.

On Friday, the Blues put Tarasenko on injured reserve, with Hitchcock telling Korac the young Russian forward has a ‘pretty severe’ facial laceration and ‘some form’ of concussion.

Tarasenko was taken to hospital on Wednesday and released in time to fly home with his Blues teammates.

He didn’t have a headache on Thursday but reportedly had one on Friday, partly why St. Louis put him on IR.

For Hitchcock, the problem with the Olver-Tarasenko hit goes beyond legality. The veteran head coach said the incident is part of a larger-scale discussion regarding young players, awareness, vulnerability and unsuspecting positions.

More, from Korac:

“Everybody says ‘well it’s a hockey play,’ or whatever. I think there’s a bigger picture for me here,” Hitchcock said. “It’s not so much Vladi, it’s all the young players.

“These are young players who are in unsuspecting situations. It just seems like there’s a lot of young players that are getting hurt because experienced players know where they can catch them in vulnerable situations That’s the part that bothers me.

“The hit is the hit. The part that really bothers me is all the young players who don’t expect to get hit and have to learn these type of lessons. [Colorado’s Gabriel] Landeskog or a Tarasenko, I’m sure there’s other ones, there’s lots of other ones and you just don’t like to see it.

“I wish there was a way that we could let the young guys play a little bit and not try to put them in unsuspecting [positions]. I don’t think in a million years he thought he would get hit in that situation.”


Blues put Tarasenko on injured reserve

Report: No disciplinary hearing for Avs’ Olver after Tarasenko hit