Dany Heatley and Brad Marchand to have disciplinary hearings over separate cheap shots

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With what’s going on at the GM meetings regarding the burning league issue regarding concussions and the institution of a new concussion protocol, it only makes sense that last night’s action on the ice saw more than a few incidents worthy of attention from the league. Boston’s Brad Marchand and San Jose’s Dany Heatley each have hearings scheduled with the NHL tomorrow regarding their reckless and dangerous hits.

It started off with Boston’s Brad Marchand delivering a textbook blindside shot to the head of Columbus’ R.J. Umberger (video). Marchand skated in from behind Umberger as he was skating through the neutral zone, sticking out his elbow connecting with the back of Umberger’s head. If ever there was a prime example for the brand of hit that Rule 48 (and common sense) intends to eliminate it’s this one and Marchand’s date with the league shows that they intend to do something about that. Marchand’s hit should likely earn him a three-game suspension from the league as similar hits this season have done.

Heatley’s chicken wing elbow to the face of Dallas agitator Steve Ott earned Heatley a meeting with the NHL and had Ott plenty steamed after last night’s game. Today he wasn’t any happier and Working The Corners’ Mark Emmons got Ott’s thoughts on what went down in last night’s game. If you missed it, Heatley’s elbow wasn’t the only one that caught Dallas’ ire as two hits from Douglas Murray delivered to Loui Eriksson and Tomas Vincour also got the ire of the team.

On what kind of hit crosses the line: “If you’re targeting a guy’s head, that’s my big issue. There’s no room for that. But if you hit a guy with a good, clean hit and he gets a head problem from that . . . that’s part of our game. I definitely don’t want to see hitting or fighting out of the game. Our game is what it is, and it’s a tough, tough game.”

On seeing players injured: “The worst part of the game is seeing a guy laying down on the ice and getting stretchered off. And nobody wants to be in that situation. So something has to be done.”

If it sounds a little backwards having Steve Ott, a player with a checkered past of his own sounding off on these sorts of plays, Ott’s well aware of where he’s coming from on these matters.

“I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because, yes, I do have a past myself. I’ve been suspended and everything else. But there’s still a time and place for it all. Players still have to put an onus on each other, and you gotta draw the line somewhere.”

Give Ott some respect here as he gets where he’s coming from and understands that it comes off screwy having him be the voice of reason. If nothing else, the rest of Emmons’ article shows that Ott is starting to change his tune. Whether he’s honest about it or not remains to be seen in how he plays.

These two hits give the NHL an opportunity to, again, send a message that these kinds of hits won’t be tolerated. They’ve fanned on these opportunities in the past but now with the GM meetings wrapping up and hits to the head being in such focus, as well as Colin Campbell and Mike Murphy’s ability to mete out punishment, you wonder if now they’ll find a way to act out on their power to set an example.

The Buzzer: History for Lundqvist; Blood from McDavid

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Three Stars

1. Jonathan Marchessault

The Golden Knights have been pretty hot lately (now eight wins in their last 10 games), but Marchessault isn’t having the easiest time. Heading into Saturday, he only had a goal and an assist in his last 10 contests.

Marchessault broke out during Vegas’ lopsided win against the Penguins, generated his second career hat trick. He’s the second Golden Knights player to generate a hat trick, with William Karlsson providing the other two.

This gives Marchessault 17 goals and 34 points in 50 games this season.

2. Steven Stamkos

Stamkos extended his point streak to six games with two goals and an assist, giving him three goals and seven assists for 10 points during that span.

This gives Stamkos 26 goals in 2018-19, one short of last season’s total.

3. Tyson Barrie

The Avalanche lit up the Kings on Saturday, and Barrie played into that, collecting three assists. Barrie now has five assists in his last three games.

It’s quite the season so far for the underrated offensive defenseman, as he has 37 points in 44 games. The Avs blueliner was quite impressive last season, too, as his 57 points came in just 68 contests last season.

Barrie’s 37 points ties him for eighth among defensemen with Keith Yandle, even though Barrie’s missed some time with injuries.

Rough, eventful night for the Oilers

Connor McDavid wasn’t just on the losing end of a game against the Flames, he was also left bloodied on Saturday.

Despite the loss, Mikko Koskinen made some impressive saves. This behind-the-back bit was the odder one, while this one was more … traditional?

Consider this a 3b (or maybe 2b?) for the three stars: Mark Giordano generated a goal and two assists for three points in this one. Giordano now has an outstanding 52 points in 48 games this season, leaving him just four points behind his career-high of 56 from 2015-16.

Hey, at least Milan Lucic is heating up for the Oilers, right bummed out fans?

Oh yeah, the Zamboni also broke down, playing into the night of comic relief.

Highlights of the Night

Here’s that behind-the-back Koskinen save, to spare you a click:

Nolan Patrick really did pull a move straight out of “NHL 19,” didn’t he?

This Stamkos to Yanni Gourde goal is a lot of fun to watch.

Factoids

Up next at fifth place is Curtis “Cujo” Joseph, who’s at 454 wins. After that, it’s a steeper climb to fourth place (Roberto Luongo at 480 and counting).

Scores

ANA 3 – NJD 2
COL 7 – LAK 1
STL 3 – OTT 2
DAL 4 – WPG 2
NYR 3 – BOS 2
PHI 5 – MTL 2
TBL 6 – SJS 3
FLA 4 – NSH 2
MIN 2 – CBJ 1
VGK 7 – PIT 3
CGY 5 – EDM 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Trocheck hasn’t missed a beat for Panthers

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Vincent Trocheck wasn’t even supposed to be playing for the Florida Panthers this soon, let alone seemingly jumping right back to full-strength, as if his ankle was never fractured.

Heading into Friday, the Panthers were on a seven-game losing streak, facing a weekend that sure looked like it would set the stage for one or two additional losses.

Instead, the Panthers now have back-to-back wins, and they’ve done so against two legitimate NHL contenders.

On Friday, the Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Trocheck assisted on Mike Matheson‘s game-winning goal, posted highly impressive possession stats, three shots on goal, and seven (!) hits.

That would have already been a highly impressive effort for a player coming off a pretty traumatic injury, but Trocheck was arguably even better during Saturday’s 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators.

While his fancy stats were a little choppier, Trocheck showed up on the scoreboard even more, generating a goal and an assist. He looked awfully spry on that goal, by the way:

That breakaway score ended up being the game-winner, actually.

After generating three points in his two games back, Trocheck now has 17 points in 20 games this season.

Now, the Panthers points as a team? They’re now at 46 points in 47 games played, leaving them at least 12 points behind the Penguins (who have 58 points, and could add more against the Golden Knights during a Saturday game that’s in progress). To put things mildly, the odds are stacked high against the Panthers for a credible push toward a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Then again, the odds were also against Trocheck returning as soon as mid-January, and he’s instead making a big impact for Florida.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Ref pushing Blues’ Barbashev gives us some comic relief

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In these trying times, sometimes you just need to see a zany mishap where a hockey player loses a skate blade, and hilarity ensues.

OK, that might be highly specific, but such bits of bad luck usually do provide some real comedy. Even by those standards, this was some good stuff, as Blues forward Ivan Barbashev got a boost from an on-ice official, and it was quite a boost down the ice.

You can watch that moment in the video above this post’s headline, and likely have a nice chuckle.

The Blues ended up beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday, so Barbashev & Co. can share a bigger laugh after the game.

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Speaking of comic relief and needing a push, enjoy the Zamboni from Saturday’s Oilers game:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Bruins’ Rask helped off ice after huge collision

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Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask needed help off of the ice – and took quite a while to leave the ice – after a frightening collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil.

Moments after this post went up on Saturday, the Bruins provided an unsettling – if, sadly, not surprising – update that Rask suffered a concussion and will not return to the game.

You can see the collision (and get an idea of how long it took Rask to leave the ice) in the video above this post’s headline.

This is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break, and they won’t play again until they host the Winnipeg Jets in Boston on Jan. 29, so at least there isn’t much pressure for Rask to rush back to action too soon.

Rask began the game tied with Tiny Thompson at 252 wins, the most in Bruins’ franchise history.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.