Taylor Hall

Garbutt back in hot water, has hearing for Byfuglien slew-foot

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Ryan Garbutt’s string of disciplinary issues continues.

The Dallas forward, who’s been heavily scrutinized over the last two seasons for his reckless play, has a disciplinary hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety following his slewfoot on Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien last night, the league announced.

Garbutt twice tangled with Jets players on Tuesday evening. The first instance came in the second period on goalie Michael Hutchinson; the second (and potentially punishable) incident on Byfuglien occurred in the final frame.

Watch both here:

Garbutt received goalie interference and tripping minors on those plays, which likely drew the ire of head coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff has been highly critical of Garbutt’s undisciplined play this season and, really, his play dating back to last year as well.

“It’s something he has a tough time with,” Ruff said of Garbutt’s issues, per the Dallas Morning News. “We had a tough time with it last year, but I thought we were making some headway.

“I feel like I’m losing a bit of ground again.”

In ’13-14, Garbutt was suspended five games for charging then-Anaheim forward Dustin Penner; then fined during Dallas’ opening-round playoff series for spearing Ducks winger Corey Perry in the groin.

This year, Garbutt received a two-game suspension for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall and, over the weekened, knocked Montreal defenseman Mike Weaver (concussion) out of action with a hit along the boards at American Airlines.

Habs lose Weaver (concussion) after Garbutt hit

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Montreal defenseman Mike Weaver has been diagnosed with a concussion, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed on Monday.

Weaver, who’d appeared in 26 of the Habs’ 29 games this year, was injured early in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Dallas on this hit from Stars forward Ryan Garbutt:

Weaver left the game immediately and didn’t return. Garbutt wasn’t penalized on the play, but has been something of a controversial figure this season — he was suspended two games earlier in the year for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall, and drew the ire of head coach Lindy Ruff for his oft-undisciplined style of play.

As for Weaver, he’ll presumably be out for Tuesday’s tilt against the Canucks, meaning that Bryan Allen — who was scratched against the Stars on Saturday — will likely draw back into the lineup.

Oilers end 11-game losing streak with first Western win

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Going into tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks, the Edmonton Oilers hadn’t won since Nov. 9, they hadn’t earned a home win since Oct. 27, they hadn’t beaten a Western Conference team this season, and they had the worst record in the NHL. Three of those four things are no longer true as Edmonton managed to scrape together a 2-1 victory.

For just the 10th time in 27 games this season, the Oilers were able to get on the board first thanks to a power-play goal from Nail Yakupov. The 2012 first overall pick got his first point since Nov. 11 and eighth overall this season.

Tye McGinn evened the contest just over two minutes later, but David Perron scored what would become the game-winning goal midway through the third period.

Naturally its hard to be optimistic about Edmonton just because its no longer in the midst of one of the worst losing streaks since 2009, especially given the Oilers’ failures over the last nine seasons. Even still, this offers them an opportunity to grow.

“It’s great to get a win, and especially a win where we thought we deserved two points. Now we have to carry it over,” Taylor Hall said, per the Oilers’ Twitter feed.

“This doesn’t mean a lot if we’re not going to stick to it. We have to replicate that kind of effort night after night,” winning goaltender Ben Scrivens added.

This was just the first of three meetings between these squads scheduled for December. Edmonton and San Jose will also battle on Tuesday and the 18th.

Ruff angry, fed up with Garbutt’s lack of discipline

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Lindy Ruff has seen just about enough of Ryan Garbutt’s antics.

Garbutt, one of Dallas’ two in-house pests (along with Antoine Roussel), was punished by his head coach during Thursday’s loss to Detroit for — surprise! — some undisciplined play.

From Stars Inside Edge:

The Stars went on their first power play of the game late in the period, but towards the end of it Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt took a slashing penalty, which put the Red Wings hot power play on the job. Detroit took advantage. Pavel Datsyuk grabbed the puck in the slot and backhanded it past [Jussi] Rynnas at 18:52 of the period.

Ruff was not happy with Garbutt, who didn’t see the ice in the second period.

“It was a tough penalty. I don’t think I played him at all in the second period,” Ruff said. “We talked about the discipline. That discipline hurt us in the game. I told him I don’t want anymore. To that point, I thought we were controlling a good part of the game.”

Not a new theme. Over the last season and a bit, Garbutt has compiled himself a pretty serious rap sheet; he’s been suspended twice — once for kneeing, once for charging — for a grand total of seven games, and was fined during last year’s playoffs for spearing Corey Perry in the groin.

Ruff, clearly, is not a fan of Garbutt’s antics.

The head coach made this abundantly clear last month, admonishing Garbutt’s “reckless” knee-on-knee hit against Taylor Hall, which resulted in a two-game banishment.

“It’s something he has a tough time with,” Ruff said of Garbutt’s disciplinary issues, per the Dallas Morning News. “We had a tough time with it last year, but I thought we were making some headway.

“I feel like I’m losing a bit of ground again.”

Ruff’s slow burn over Garbutt’s undisciplined play came to a head last night, when he gave the gritty forward just 5:02 of total ice time (none in the second period, 1:59 in the third). It was enough for veteran Stars beat writer Mike Heika to ask the question — will Dallas be forced to healthy scratch Garbutt to really get the message through?

We won’t have to wait long to find out. Dallas is back in action on Saturday against Montreal, where it’ll look to snap its current four-game losing streak.

Columnist: If the Oilers lose tonight, Eakins will be fired

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Yesterday on TSN’s Insider Trading segment (video), reporter Darren Dreger said it’s “going to have to get a lot worse” for the already-in-pretty-bad-shape Edmonton Oilers before GM Craig MacTavish fires head coach Dallas Eakins.

And that’s consistent with what’s been reported elsewhere, that MacTavish is working the phones and will opt to make a trade before Eakins is relieved of his duties.

Still, with the Oilers on a 10-game losing streak, at least one Edmonton-based columnist believes a loss tonight in Winnipeg will lead to a change behind the bench.

From Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

My suspicion is that he will be let go after a loss on Wednesday in Winnipeg, and MacTavish will take over behind the bench with assistant Craig Ramsay. Eakins was never ready for this job, and like his predecessors, has let the young players run amok, with leashes so long that the rank and file players simmer every time they suffer another minus on yet another egregious Taylor Hall giveaway.

Perhaps Spector is just playing a hunch. After all, the Oilers have three days off following tonight’s game, i.e. plenty of time for a press conference before Sunday’s home date against San Jose. If there was ever a time to fire Eakins, this week would be it. The team doesn’t have another real break in the schedule until Christmas.

It also may be worth mentioning that the Oilers were reportedly “preparing to make a coaching change” in late October, only for the club to temporarily right the ship and, at least according to the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons, save Eakins’ job.

You can choose yourself who to believe in all this.

The bottom line is, no matter how forcefully MacTavish has stood behind Eakins in the past, and no matter how much players like Hall have voiced their support for the embattled coach, and, of course, no matter how tantalizing the prospect of drafting Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel may seem, it just can’t keep going on like this. Either the team starts winning, or the GM makes a significant trade, or there’s a coaching change.

Edmonton, by the way, will enter tonight’s game with an 0-12-3 record against Western Conference opponents.