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Chris Kunitz ejected after elbow to head

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It sure feels like there’s been a lot of game misconducts for dastardly things this weekend.

The latest comes on Sunday night after Chicago Blackhawks forward Chris Kunitz got his elbow up into the face of Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic in the second period.

Here’s the tape:

Kunitz was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct.

Hamonic was bloodied on the play and had to leave the game to get fixed up. He was able to return later in the period.

The ordeal proved costly for the Blackhawks, who surrendered two goals on the ensuing penalty.

Other ejections this weekend include:


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Report: Isles, Hickey closing in three-year pact around $6.5M

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Sounds as though the New York Islanders are close to a deal with pending RFA blueliner Thomas Hickey.

Per Newsday’s sources, the contract extension is believed to be of the three-year variety, with Hickey pulling down “in the range of” $6.5 million total — a cap hit of around $2.16M.

For Hickey, 26, it’s a nice bump from the $675,000 he netted annually on his last deal.

The former Kings first-rounder was claimed off waivers by the Isles prior to the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign and has been a steady lineup presence ever since; he’s appeared in 82 and 81 games in consecutive seasons and both set and matched a career-high in points, with 22 each year.

Getting Hickey locked in was fairly important for the Isles, as they dealt away Griffin Reinhart at the draft and don’t expect to return Lubomir Visnovsky.

That puts Hickey in a top-six defensive group with Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy, Calvin De Haan and Brian Strait, with youngsters like Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield looking to make the leap.

PHT Morning Skate: Lightning, Stamkos feel better prepared for Habs

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

After being swept in first round of last spring’s playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens, Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning feel they’re better prepared for this year’s rematch.

“We weren’t ready to play at that level. We had a lot of young guys,” Stamkos said per The Associated Press. “We have another year under our belt. Now we have a series win, and a Game 7 win under our belt. Guys get more confidence.” (AP)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $15,000 league for Thursday’s NHL games. It’s just $3 to join and first place wins $1,400. Starts tonight at 7:30pm ET. Play Now!

Having won just three bronze medals in the past 20 years at the World Hockey Championship, Ken Campbell writes it’s time for the Americans to pay a little more attention to the international competition. (The Hockey News)

A St. Louis Blues fan won an unfortunate radio contest. Prior to the Blues being eliminated in the first round, a fan had a St. Louis Blues 2015 Stanley Cup champions tattoo paid for by 105.7 the Point. (Bar Down)

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson made good on his bet with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi following the Canucks first round loss to the Flames. (Yahoo)

With it being Thursday, here’s a little throwback highlight pack. The pack features Stamkos, Michael Del Zotto, Alex Pietrangelo, Jordan Eberle, Travis Hamonic, Martin Jones and Tyler Johnson participating at the 2000 Super Novice Brick Hockey Tournament at Edmonton’s West Edmonton Mall.

Hamonic suffered torn MCL on Scuderi hit, no surgery required

The day after the Isles were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, news finally started to surface about their injured players — specifically, defenseman Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic, who missed the entire Washington series with an undisclosed ailment, revelaed he suffered a torn MCL on a hit from Pittsburgh’s Rob Scuderi in the second-to-last game of the regular season (as pictured).

That was Hamonic’s last hockey-related activity of the year though, per Newsday, the tear didn’t require surgery — in fact, Hamonic was holding out hope of a Round 2 return, should the Isles have won Monday’s Game 7.

There’s no denying Hamonic was missed. The 24-year-old averaged nearly 22 minutes per night this season and broke out offensively, scoring a career-high 33 points in 71 games. Hamonic was also largely assigned the task of defending Alex Ovechkin during the Isles’ regular-season tilts against the Caps, a job that fell to Johnny Boychuk instead.

Boychuk fared well against Ovechkin but, with injuries also hitting blueliners Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky, the Hamonic ailment was even more pronounced. On Monday, the Isles were forced to play AHL recall Scott Mayfield and little-used Matt Donovan a combined 26:24 against Washington.

Is Grabner among the Isles’ walking wounded?

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The Islanders came into their Round 1 series against Washington without the services of defenseman Travis Hamonic, and have since lost Lubomir Visnovsky and Calvin de Haan to injuries.

Now, Michael Grabner could be on the shelf as well.

After appearing in the first two games of the series, Grabner was dropped from the lineup for Game 3 and reported as a healthy scratch — but, according to a report from Austrian news outlet Laola 1, Grabner suffered a groin injury, possibly a hernia, that may require offseason surgery.

The speedy winger has a history of these problems. He underwent sports hernia surgery at the beginning of this year, a procedure that sidelined him for all of October and November (it’s worth noting, however, that surgery was done on Grabner’s left side; the Laola 1 report says this latest injury is on the right.)

The 27-year-old returned to the Isles early December and went on to score eight goals and 13 points in 34 games, and had an assist in his first playoff appearance — a 4-1 Game 1 victory in which Grabner played nearly 13 minutes.

New York is back in action on Saturday at Nassau, trailing the Caps 3-2 in the series and facing elimination for the first time. It seems highly unlikely that Grabner will draw back into the lineup.