Wild prospect suspended two games for Grammys-related gay slur on Twitter


Minnesota Wild prospect Justin Fontaine isn’t just a little too green for the NHL.

His social media inexperience reared its ugly head this weekend, as the team handed him a two-game minor league suspension for using a gay slur in a Tweet, according to Michael Russo.

Fontaine made the offending Tweet regarding a Grammy nod for the Foo Fighters, which was then re-Tweeted by fellow teammate and Houston Aeros captain Jon DiSalvatore (screen shot via Bryan Reynolds of Hockey Wilderness).

(Warning: offensive language below.)


Fontaine was quick to apologize for the misstep:


Read more on the subject – including various responses and lessons that can be taken from it – at Hockey Wilderness, but here’s the Wild’s statement via Russo:

“Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (MSE) apologizes for the offensive slur that was posted by Justin Fontaine on Twitter last night,” the Wild said in a statement Monday night. “Fontaine has been suspended from playing in the next two games for the Houston Aeros.”

Russo points out that 12 Wild prospects and three NHL-level players (Justin Falk, Matt Kassian and Devin Setoguchi) are on Twitter. Something tells me that they’ll probably think twice before they write mean things about Dave Grohl’s meal ticket – among other subjects – in the future, then.

Zac Rinaldo will sit two games for charging


Philadelphia Flyers tough guy Zac Rinaldo is making a name for himself – just not a particularly good one. He’s already been fined twice (in the same game) and now has a two-game suspension on his record.

Brendan Shanahan & Co. decided to hand him a two-game punishment because it was a charging hit and due to that recent history, but the edge was dulled because Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson didn’t appear to suffer an injury:

The mishap will set Rinaldo back a little less than $6,000. It will also place him under the “repeat offenders” category if he fouls up again soon. Let’s face it; that’s not exactly an unthinkable possibility.

What do you think? Was the suspension sufficient, excessive or too skimpy? Do tell.

Caps want Ovechkin to be “relentless” despite suspensions


Alex Ovechkin endears himself to hockey fans because he’s just as likely to clobber someone with a big hit as he is to score a dazzling goal.

The thought was that his physical style might catch up to him, but after receiving the third suspension of his NHL career, it’s hard not to wonder if lost paychecks will soften his edges instead. The Washington Capitals certainly hope not, as GM George McPhee told Stephen Whyno.

“Yeah, we’re concerned about it, certainly. But what we want him to do when he comes back is play the way he’s always played,” McPhee said. “We want him to be relentless, we want him to score goals. We want him to be physical.”

Losing Ovechkin for three games hurts, without a doubt. That being said, this absence means he won’t play again until Feb. 4 – and that might just be a good thing.

Sure, Ovechkin is only 26-years-old, but he’s put a lot of mileage on that body over the years. For example: instead of taking a break and resting his beaten-up knee after the 2011 playoffs, he jumped right to the World Championships (and went pointless in five games).

Getting an improvised vacation might just be what Ovechkin needs to get back to that driven, relentless style again. In fact, he could even channel some of that “old” Ovechkin who was a physical force like no one else in the league.

Byers will sit three games for hit on Desjardins

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Dane Byers hasn’t done much whenever he’s gotten a cup of coffee in the NHL, but he now has two suspensions on his record. Byers received a one-game punishment in November 2009 and now has a three-game ban to deal with for his hit to the head of San Jose Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins. The suspension will cost Byers just under $9,000.

Check out Brendan Shanahan’s explanation video below and let us know: is three games sufficient, excessive or not good enough?

Francois Beauchemin avoids suspension

The Anaheim Ducks will play without a marginal player in J.F. Jacques,* but important defenseman Francois Beauchemin avoided a suspension for his hit that separated the shoulder of Columbus Blue Jackets sniper Jeff Carter. Decide for yourself if the NHL made the right decision by reviewing the video below:

* – Jacques received a three-game suspension for his check on R.J. Umberger.