Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond retires; let’s watch that fight one more time

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TSN’s BarDown points out that former NHL enforcer Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond recently announced his retirement from hockey during the weekend.

He did so in a strange three-part message that initially made it seem like he wasn’t thanking anyone.

Instead, it was sort of a neater, politer form of an award acceptance speech. “PL3” simply didn’t want to forget anyone:

The budding real estate agent noted his journeyman experience:

Forgive referring to him as Letourneau-Leblond, as it seems like he’s merely going by Pierre-Luc Leblond these days (so … “PL2, then?”). The extra-long name is simply how many of us remember him, along with that deeply absurd fight he once had with Cam Janssen.

You can see it in the video above this headline; they threw punches for multiple minutes, eventually running out of gas. Being that Janssen was a former New Jersey Devils enforcer and PL2/3 was their current one, the bout almost had the feel of a rite of passage.

That fight is part of his legacy, as is a ridiculous fight card at Hockey Fights. Some quick notes there:

  • He fought 29 times in the QMJHL in 2003-04 and then 28 times the next season.
  • In 2005-06, he fought 13 times in the AHL and 13 times in the UHL.
  • Leblond’s final NHL fight came in 2014-15 (though it was a pre-season game, if you’re a stickler). Fittingly, Bobby Farnham also received a penalty during that exchange; Leblond exchanged a fun barb or two with Farnham following his retirement announcement.
  • As you can see, Leblond was a multi-tasker. That included squeezing in three NHL fights and 20 AHL fights in 2008-09 and one NHL fight and 26 in the AHL in 2010-11.

As far as NHL play goes, Leblond finishes with 41 regular-season games, 101 penalty minutes accrued, and three assists. he also played in five postseason games, all during the Devils’ 2010 run.

He will be remembered, in part, by the fight that was almost as long as his name.

(H/T to Rotoworld by way of Reddit.)

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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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

caufield surgery
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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

matty beniers
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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.