Trotz calls accusations against Caps ‘ridiculous’

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Barry Trotz thinks it’s “ridiculous” that anyone would accuse the Washington Capitals of intentionally injuring Sidney Crosby.

He called that sort of commentary “noise.”

“It’s like a car accident,” the Caps’ head coach told reporters this morning. “You have your side how it happened, and the other person will have his side.”

Trotz was obviously talking about that column by Rob Rossi, a Pittsburgh reporter who wrote that:

1. Alex Ovechkin should be suspended for the rest of the playoffs for his slash on Crosby.

2. Matt Niskanen should be suspended for the rest of the second round for his crosscheck on Crosby.

3. After losing the first two games of the series in Washington, the Capitals got together and hatched a plan to take out Crosby. That plan came together last night in Pittsburgh.

It was quite the take.

Oh, and it was Rossi in last night’s post-game press conference who sarcastically asked Trotz if Ovechkin’s slash was a “hockey play,” the same phrase Trotz had used to describe Niskanen’s check on Crosby.

Trotz responded by calling it a “terrible question.”

As everyone knows by now, Ovechkin was not penalized on the play, and Niskanen will not be suspended.

The one thing we don’t yet know is when Crosby will be back. Game 4 goes tomorrow in Pittsburgh. The Pens lead the Caps, 2-1.

As for Rossi, he went on TSN 1050 (Toronto) radio this morning to defend his column.

“I think you have to take it in the prism of I’ve covered a lot concussion-related incidents in my time around the Penguins since Sidney Crosby came into the league,” Rossi said. “I have been consistent, whether it’s Matt Cooke or whether it’s Chris Kunitz, Alex Ovechkin, I err on the side of severe discipline even if it’s accidental or incidental contact because I just don’t think this league or these teams take head injuries seriously.”

But Rossi also seemed to walk back his accusation that the Caps’ meeting following Game 2 was about taking out Crosby. (“If they say it wasn’t about eliminating Crosby, the Capitals are liars,” Rossi wrote.)

“What was discussed in that meeting, I don’t know,” Rossi told TSN 1050. “I never claimed to have intel about what the meeting was about. Obviously, the job of a columnist is to be provocative. That’s what I was going for there.”

Related: Capitals, Penguins reflect on Crosby’s ‘gut-wrenching’ injury

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.