Flames’ GM discusses Peters’ resignation, due diligence on hiring

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Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving met with the media on Friday afternoon to discuss the resignation of coach Bill Peters.

The press conference came after it was revealed that the disgraced coach had used a racial slur against former player Akim Aliu in the American Hockey League, as well as multiple accusations of physical abuse behind the bench when he was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Aliu’s story was independently corroborated by several of his then-teammates with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs (Peters later apologized in a letter to Treliving — an apology that Aliu called misleading and insincere), while current Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said former defenseman Michal Jordan’s accusations of physical abuse “definitely happened.”

After giving a rundown on the timeline of events leading to Peters’ resignation, as well as emphasizing the organization’s desire to handle the investigation correctly and thoroughly, Treliving attempted to answer questions on a wide range of subjects, some of which he was unable (or unwilling) to answer.

Among those: He would not comment on whether or not Peters’ resignation meant that the team was no longer paying him the remainder of his contract or if there was any sort of deal made, saying only that Peters was simply no longer a member of the organization.

He also did not want to deal with hypotheticals and refused to answer directly whether or not the Flames would have fired Peters had he not resigned on Friday.

From there, a lot of the questions dealt with what the Flames knew and how much due diligence was done when they hired Peters prior to the 2017-18 season.

“Were we aware of any type of allegations? Categorically no,” Treliving said on Friday.

He was asked directly if he had spoken to former Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis as part of the hiring process, saying only that he spoke to several of Peters’ previous employers. Francis was reportedly made aware of the incidents involving Jordan and a still-unknown Hurricanes player but did not tell the team’s owner. He has yet to speak publicly on the incidents.

“The question has been raised, did we know, what do we know,” said Treliving. “We knew nothing of any nature that we have been dealing with the past few days. In terms of due diligence. You do due diligence. We do a full scrub on any hire. I did speak to previous employers of Bill.”

As a follow-up, he was asked if the team will change the way it handles future hires and the vetting process that comes with it.

“No matter how difficult the situation you go through, you have to learn from it,” he said. “There are lessons to be learned here. You always want to find out information,I think in all of us there are probably things in the past people may not be aware of. You try to do the best job you possibly can, we will make sure we continue to dig as hard as we can for anyone else.”

“I don’t know if you’re going to find out all the information, or everything in everybody’s past. You have to do the best job you possibly can. Are there things we can change and add? Sure, you look at your policies, you look at your procedures, you always have to get better. We will attempt to do that. I talked to people Bill had worked for in the past, had played for Bill in the past, people he had been in contact with.”

Treliving was also asked about what changes need to happen regarding the culture of the sport so incidents like the ones involving Aliu and Jordan no longer happen.

“I think from 10 years ago we have changed,” he said. “You evolve all the time. You have to continue to evolve. You have to continue to look and see if there are issues that can be addressed and changed. I know how we operate in terms of the culture, and values and thing we hold dear to us. That type of behavior just has no place. Is there more steps that need to be taken? I am a big believer in accountability and responsibility. We will be accountable to make sure we are doing everything we can from our standpoint, but I think lots of steps have taken throughout the hockey culture to move forward positively. We need to continue to do that.”

Related: Peters out as Flames’ coach

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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.