Joni Pitkanen

Blackhawks’ Dan Carcillo out vs. Stars


The Chicago Blackhawks will be without the services of Dan Carcillo tonight when they play host to the Dallas Stars.

Carcillo is considered suspended until his in-person hearing.

Since he was offered an in-person hearing, Carcillo is due for a suspension of at least six games.

The 29-year-old has a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his cross-check on Jets’ forward Mathieu Perreault on Friday.

Here is a look at the play in question:

Joakim Nordstrom replaces Carcillo in the Blackhawks’ lineup tonight.

Carcillo has had several run-ins with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Last May he was suspended 10 games for abuse of an official – that suspension was reduced to six games after an appeal.

In October 2011, Carcillo was suspended two games for a hit on Hurricanes’ defenseman Joni Pitkanen.

‘Canes re-sign Hainsey: three years, $8 million


The Carolina Hurricanes originally signed Ron Hainsey as a stopgap following the loss of Joni Pitkanen.

Turns out that stopgap worked pretty well.

On Tuesday, the ‘Canes re-upped with Hainsey on a three-year, $8 million deal. It’s a nice bump from the one-year, $2 million deal he played on last season — he’ll get $3M in salary this year, $2.5M in 2015-16 and 2016-17 — and a cap-friendly contract ($2.83M annually) for Carolina as well.

Hainsey, 33, proved to be a valuable contributor for the ‘Canes last season, one of just two players to appear in all 82 games. He had four goals and 15 points while averaging over 21 minutes a night and finishing second on the team in blocked shots, with 124.

Though it’s not the flashiest of moves, re-upping with Hainsey is the first significant one from new GM Ron Francis and has to be seen as a reasonably good one. The ability to keep a productive d-man free agent at a reasonable price is no easy feat, especially in a weak market where several veterans are looking to cash in.

It is, as Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish said, “a good year to be a UFA.”


Frustrated Muller rips ‘Canes: ‘Losing is for losers’


The Carolina Hurricanes are primed to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season — the second under head coach Kirk Muller — and, on Monday, Muller voiced his frustration about the lack of winning.

From the Raleigh News & Observer:

At the end of the team practice at Raleigh Center Ice, Muller gathered his players around him on the ice for a few words. He was loud and his message clear.

Muller talked of “wanting guys who want to make a difference.” He said “losing is for losers” and that too many of the players were cheating and “playing their own way.”

Too many, he said, were “playing for the scoresheet” and worried about getting theirs. Some were more worried about new contracts, he said, and others about somehow holding on and playing another year in NHL.

Carolina has been one of the NHL’s biggest disappointments over the last two seasons, especially given all the money GM Jim Rutherford has spent on talent acquisition. Nearly $130 million was committed to the Jordan Staal, Alex Semin and Jeff Skinner trio and while all three have had their moments, it hasn’t been enough to keep the ‘Canes in the playoff hunt.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the players Muller suggested were playing for new deals.

Carolina only has 13 players under contract for next season, and has decisions to make on a number of key UFAs — including veteran defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Ron Hainsey, and veteran forwards Manny Malhotra and Radek Dvorak.

There are also a number of RFAs the team will need to decide on as well: Jiri Tlusty, Andrei Loktionov, Drayson Bowman, Nathan Gerbe, Brett Bellemore and, most importantly, Olympic defenseman Justin Faulk, who figures to be in line for a sizable raise on the $840,000 he made this season.

For all the players with uncertain futures, one thing is clear — Muller and the ‘Canes are using the final few games of this season as an audition for next year and beyond.

“We’re moving forward,” Muller said. “If you want to fit in, show it. Do it with work. I don’t want guys who don’t show up, who have bad body language. We’re going to practice hard, we’re going to play hard and we’re going to win games.”

Pitkanen says he’s ‘making progress’ and still hopes to resume career

We’re not exactly sure what prompted this, but here’s a statement from Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who hasn’t played since Apr. 2, 2013, when he shattered his heel in a game against Washington:

“I’ve been working with Raleigh Orthopaedic throughout this season with the hope of returning to play hockey. There is no timetable as of now, but I’ve been making progress with my rehab and it remains my goal to resume my professional hockey career. It’s been frustrating to be away from the ice, but I want to thank all of the people who have expressed support throughout the season.”

Pitkanen, 30, is a pending unrestricted free agent, so perhaps he put this statement out there in order to keep his name in teams’ minds.

Related: ‘He has a chance to play next year’

Hurricanes GM on injured Pitkanen: ‘He has a chance to play next year’


Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford is holding out hope that injured defenseman Joni Pitkanen could play again, perhaps even next season.

Pitkanen suffered a devastating heel injury in a violent crash into the boards on an icing call last April. He hasn’t played a game since, breaking his heel in eight different places.

In September, it was reported he would miss the entire 2013-14 season. But, according to the Hurricanes’ team blog Tracking the Storm, the 30-year-old Pitkanen is progressing from the days in September when he couldn’t even put weight on it.

“I talked to him just recently. He is doing better, but certainly not to the point that he could consider playing this year,” said Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford, as per Tracking the Storm.

“Now he’s at the point where he can put a little bit of weight on it.

“I think his hopes are that he continues to progress and that he has a chance to play next year.”

According to, Pitkanen is in the final year of a three-year, $13.5 million contract.