New York Rangers

Jets sure Byfuglien didn’t mean to crosscheck Miller’s neck

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The league announced that Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been suspended for four of the Jets’ remaining five games for his “dangerous” crosscheck in the back of the neck to a “defenseless” J.T. Miller. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called the actions against Miller “violent” and “deliberate,” but the Jets don’t feel Byfuglien is that type of player.

“He’s not a guy that is a dirty player, so he definitely didn’t mean to do that,” Mark Stuart told TSN. “He’s not out there to injure guys.”

Jets captain Andrew Ladd has reviewed the video of the incident and realizes it doesn’t look good, but he feels you lose context when watching what happened in slow motion.

“I think it’s easy to slow it down after the fact,” Ladd said.

“In the course of a game, things happen quick. I know he didn’t mean to get him in the neck. He was probably trying to get him in the back and hit the wrong spot.”

Winnipeg has just a two point edge over Los Angeles in the battle for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and the Kings have played in one less game. Los Angeles also has the edge in ROW, so the tie would go to the Kings.

Byfuglien is a critical player for the Jets, averaging 22:39 minutes per game. He has 18 goals, 45 points, and 122 penalty minutes in 68 contests.

Byfuglien suspended four games for ‘dangerous’ crosscheck

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Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been suspended four games for crosschecking New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller on Tuesday in Winnipeg.

In making the ruling, the NHL deemed that Byfuglien delivered a “dangerous” crosscheck with “excessive force” to a “prone” and “defenseless” Miller, who was fortunately not injured on the play.

The Jets have five games left in the regular season. Byfuglien will be eligible to return for their final game, on Apr. 11 versus Calgary.

‘Hawks land another college prospect, sign Hobey Baker finalist Kero

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Chicago has signed Michigan Tech forward and WCHA Player of the Year Tanner Kero to a two-year contract, the club announced on Thursday.

Kero, 22, is an undrafted free agent that spent the last four years with the Huskies, scoring 111 points in 153 career NCAA contests. This year, he scored 20 goals and 46 points in 41 games and was named one of the country’s 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, becoming just the third player in school history to earn that distinction.

Kero signing with Chicago is noteworthy. The ‘Hawks have had issues with acquiring/retaining prospects, thanks largely to their depth at the NHL level; the most high-profile example was 2010 first-round pick Kevin Hayes, who played out his four full years at Boston College before balking at signing with the ‘Hawks, becoming a UFA, and inking with the Rangers.

That trend now appears to be a thing of the past. Last week, Chicago beat out a host of other teams to sign Colgate’s Kyle Baun — another undrafted free agent — and, a day later, came to terms with University of Vermont d-man Michael Paliotta, who was drafted by the ‘Hawks in 2011 but rumored to be eyeing unrestricted free agency.

(Video) PHT Extra: Undisciplined Jets in danger of major late-season letdown

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We’ve touched on the Jets’ undisciplined play before. As you can see here, it’s really cost them in the goals department this season. And while Dustin Byfuglien didn’t get a penalty for crosschecking J.T. Miller, he’s going to get suspended.

Add it all up and Winnipeg may once again miss the playoffs:

Goalie nods: Slumping Elliott sits, Allen starts for Blues

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All the latest from the blue paint…

St. Louis turns to Allen

With Brian Elliott having lost four straight and the Blues winning just once in their last six, Ken Hitchcock will turn things over to Jake Allen tonight for a tilt against Calgary.

Allen — who was in goal for St. Louis’ last win, a 3-2 OT decision over Pittsburgh — could potentially throw a wrench into the Blues’ plans of Elliott being their definitive playoff starter. Elliott hasn’t played well lately, going 1-3-1 with a .902 save percentage over his last five games, and Hitchcock did leave the door open slightly when asked if Ellliott could be usurped as the postseason No. 1.

“Obviously if [Elliott] doesn’t play well at all, then we’ve got to reassess it like any team does,” he explained, per the Post-Dispatch.

As for Allen, he’s gunning for his 20th win tonight and is coming off two pretty solid performances, stopping 24 of 26 shots in the aforementioned win over Pittsburgh, and 23 of 25 in a 2-1 OT loss to Detroit on Mar. 22.

For Calgary, Jonas Hiller will start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Isles at Jackets: Jaroslav Halak vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Caps at Habs: Braden Holtby vs. Carey Price

Bolts at Sens: Ben Bishop vs. Andrew Hammond

Bruins at Wings: (No Boston starter yet) vs. Petr Mrazek

‘Canes at Panthers: Anton Khudobin vs. Roberto Luongo

Rangers at Wild: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Devan Dubnyk

Canucks at ‘Hawks: (No Vancouver starter yet) vs. Corey Crawford

Oilers at Kings: No starters for either team yet.