Bolts recall Koekkoek with Hedman banged up


The Tampa Bay Lightning may need some help on defense this weekend, which explains why they recalled Slater Koekkoek.

It’s unclear how hurt Victor Hedman is, but there’s definitely a risk that he won’t be able to play on Saturday, as notes.

While Hedman was obviously able to make a huge impression during the 2015 postseason, his Norris hopes were quickly dashed due to injury issues in 2014-15. It would be a big shame for that to happen again, as he drew some serious hype from the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom heading into this season.

Hedman isn’t the only guy who may be unavailable, either, as Nikita Nesterov may face a suspension for his hit from behind from Thursday (which hospitalized Curtis McKenzie).

Speaking of McKenzie:

Update: Nesterov received a two-game suspension for that hit.

At 21, Koekkoek is an interesting moment in his development.

He’s one of the Lightning’s many promising young players as the 10th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, so perhaps getting him another cup of coffee at the highest level – he’s played in three games with the Lightning – would be a good progress report of sorts.

Matt Carkner will miss a game for fighting Brian Boyle


Just moments ago, the New York Rangers lost valuable winger Carl Hagelin for three games – the most severe suspension of the 2012 season – for elbowing Daniel Alfredsson. With that in mind, Rangers fans might not be especially happy that Ottawa Senators tough guy Matt Carkner received a single game suspension for beating the daylights out of Brian Boyle.

(Slow motion doesn’t do Carkner many favors, does it?)

I’ll be honest; I’m not totally sure that the NHL’s developing an intelligible pattern with its disciplinary decisions. Does this punishment seem fair to you? Did Carkner deserve more games, no suspension or was this A-OK? How about if you look at it without thinking about Hagelin’s punishment, if possible? Share your observations in the comments.

Carl Hagelin’s Swede-on-Swede crime gets him three games


Carl Hagelin undoubtedly sent a few sad-face emoticons to Daniel Alfredsson for the elbow he delivered in Game 2 of the New York Rangers-Ottawa Rangers series, but it wasn’t enough for the NHL. Brendan Shanahan sent down a thunderous decision: the speedy Swede will sit three games for his indiscretions.

Hagelin might not be a household name just yet, but he’s been a great compliment to two marquee, expensive talents in Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik lately. His speed and tenacity have opened up some interesting possibilities for his veteran linemates, but now the Rangers must look to another avenue to be the third man on that top line.

If things go especially poorly, Hagelin could very well be done for the 2012 playoffs. Of course, the Rangers could also cruise in the next three games and give the young winger a little extra rest. Either way, it’s a significant verdict that might just be a sign that Shanahan isn’t going to stand pat for every questionable hit that comes down the pike.

(Then again, it might have been different if Gaborik was the guy throwing the ‘bow.)

So what do you think? Do you think Shanahan’s longest suspension of 2012 was too severe, just right or insufficient? Do tell.

Precedent set: Shanahan suspends Bitz two games for boarding


NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has issued his first playoff suspension, handing Vancouver’s Byron Bitz a two-game ban for boarding Kings forward Kyle Clifford on Wednesday.

Here’s the video explanation:

Bitz was given a five minute boarding major on the play and a game misconduct. Clifford left the contest, didn’t return and today the Kings announced he’d miss Game 2 with an upper-body injury.

The suspension length is notable given what Shanahan’s predecessor, Colin Campbell, handed out in the first round of last year’s playoffs.  Campbell issued three suspensions — Jarret Stoll got one game for boarding Ian White, Bobby Ryan got two games for stomping Jonathan Blum and Jarkko Ruutu got a game for a late hit on Martin Erat.

It’s also a noteworthy length given what Shanahan said back in March:

“I can attest to this as a player, if you ask me if I’d rather have a four-game suspension in November than a one-game suspension in the playoffs, I’d take the four-game suspension in November.

“If you think about it, that one game in the finals is the equivalent of a 12-game suspension. … I don’t feel we’re in the punishment business, we’re in the changing player behavior business. You do that by getting a player’s attention.”

By that math, Byron Bitz just got an eight-game suspension.

Blackhawks react to Duncan Keith’s suspension


For some, Duncan Keith’s five-game suspension seems like the least the NHL could do about a flagrant elbow on Daniel Sedin. That being said, the decision delivers a harsh blow to his Chicago Blackhawks teammates, who are grappling with the fact that their best defenseman won’t be available until April 5.

Patrick Sharp discussed the fallout with’s Tracey Myers:

“It’s unfortunate that Daniel got hurt. I don’t think that was Duncan’s intention,” Patrick Sharp said earlier Friday. “It’s something we’re going to have to rally behind. You never want to see guys go down, especially like that. You hate to see a guy go out like that. You never want to see guys get hurt.”

Coach Joel Quenneville hopes that the Blackhawks learn a lesson from this harsh (yet some might say lenient) punishment, preaching that the team needs to keep their cool – even against the hated Vancouver Canucks.

“Every game we’ve seen, whether it’s a playoff game or regular-season game, you have to control your emotions and make sure you think,” Quenneville said. “There are certain switches that are just reactionary and in the moment of the game. That’s something we’ll always focus on moving forward. Whether it’s Vancouver or anybody, we need to be smart.”

Something tells me if you shot Keith up with some of the “Kill Bill” truth serum, even he would admit that the elbow wasn’t smart.

On the bright side for Keith and Chicago, he’ll have two regular season games to “wise up” before the playoffs begin.

Here’s video of the reactions, if you’re not much for reading quotes and such: