Tale of two hits: Thornton to have hearing with league, Carcillo apparently won’t be punished

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Last night was what you’d call a feisty night in the NHL. With plenty of tough hits, some bordering on illegal, the NHL offices likely spent most of the morning reviewing tapes of questionable hits. We saw a tough hit from Sharks forward Joe Thornton as he leveled Blues forwards David Perron as Thornton was exiting the penalty box. Thornton was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. As it turns out, that’s enough to get noticed by the NHL as Thornton has a phone call scheduled with the NHL this afternoon to find out if he’ll have any other punishment.

Our guess here is that Thornton getting sat down during the game should end up being punishment enough for his hit and there’s no need for a suspension here at all. If you’re looking to try and make sense of anything, Shane Doan of the Coyotes got a three-game suspension for a similar brand of hit that didn’t injure Dan Sexton of the Ducks.

Speaking of things that don’t make sense, it appears that Dan Carcillo won’t have a meeting with the NHL. Carcillo hit Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko with what appeared to be a flying elbow in the head reminiscent of something out of the WWE. Carcillo wasn’t called for a penalty and it’s not because referee Marc Joannette didn’t see it, it’s because he felt that Fedotenko could save himself some trouble and “not duck” next time.

Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull tweets that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren doesn’t expect the league to talk to Carcillo.  Now, let’s make this clear here.  If Carcillo doesn’t get any action taken against him here you can consider us completely off the bandwagon when it comes to Rule 48 regarding head shots. If hits like what Carcillo made on Fedotenko aren’t worthy of being addressed after the fact, then what’s the point? Reviewing these kinds of hits after the fact is supposed to be one of the big parts of Rule 48. Looking past a hit like this involving a guy with a past littered with questionable hits is insanity. After all, if the league isn’t going to take this sort of thing seriously, why should we?

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.