Monday Musings: Violent weekend before NHL governors meet | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: Violent weekend before NHL governors meet

Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 | 08:00 AM

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Medical staff attends to Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik after an altercation with Shawn Thornton of the Bruins on Dec. 7. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Medical staff attends to Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik after an altercation with Shawn Thornton of the Bruins on Dec. 7. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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This week's Monday musings deal with a difficult weekend on the ice, NHL board of governors meeting and Jarome Iginla's return to Calgary.

Some Monday morning musings from the NHL and the rest of the hockey world to prepare you for the upcoming week:

  • The NHL board of governors meetings will take place in Pebble Beach, Calif., on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Boston Bruins veteran Jarome Iginla will return to Calgary to play the Flames on Tuesday for the first game there since he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Mar. 28.
  • Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Briere will travel back to Philadelphia to play the Flyers on Thursday for the first time since his former team bought him out last summer.
  • The Canadian junior team will open its 25-player selection camp in Toronto on Thursday.
  • The Bruins will visit Vancouver to clash with the Canucks on Saturday. It will be Boston's first game in Vancouver since they won the Stanley Cup there on June 15, 2011.

Troubling weekend

The stupid stuff settled down after a busy opening month for NHL chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan and his office. But the unnecessary roughness returned with an upsetting thud over the weekend. Not all were dirty hits, but the game lost a long list of players over the past three days.

  • Boston's Loui Eriksson suffered his second concussion of the season when he was hit by Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik on Saturday. 
  • Orpik subsequently was knocked unconscious by Bruins fourth-liner Shawn Thornton in a one-sided assault. Orpik was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to hospital, but released in time to accompany his teammates home to Pittsburgh.
  • Boston centre Chris Kelly suffered a broken right fibula and will miss four to six weeks as the result of a slash from Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis.
  • New York Rangers defenceman Marc Staal, who missed significant time last season with an eye/head injury, was hit in the chin by the shoulder of New Jersey Devils rookie Reid Boucher and left the game on Saturday. Staal did not play on Sunday.
  • The Flyers announced that veteran Vincent Lecavalier will miss the next month with a non-displaced fracture in his back. They did not elaborate on how the injury occurred, but it apparently happened in a game against the Nashville Predators a week ago.
  • Even in the QMJHL, Halifax Mooseheads star Jonathan Drouin was hit from behind by Adam Erne of the Quebec Remparts in a game on Friday. Drouin has a concussion and has been listed as out indefinitely by his team. He was expected to play a huge role for Canada at the world juniors later this month.

Meanwhile, Shanahan has a few dates with players. Thornton has an in-person hearing. Pittsburgh's James Neal has a phone hearing after his nasty knee to the head of Boston forward Brad Marchand, who was able to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf also has a hearing for his hit from behind on Boston rookie defenceman Kevan Miller, who left Sunday's game, won 5-2 by the Bruins, but is not expected to miss any time.

There are no easy solutions here. The speed and size of the players, coupled with what some perceive a lack of respect problem among the NHL brethren, has infected the game for several seasons now and the incidents haven't seemed to diminish.

It will be interesting to see if what transpired this past weekend will be discussed in Pebble Beach among the so-called leaders of the game with any fervour or if they will continue to bury their collective heads in the nearby sand. 

Salary cap

At the board of governors' December get-togethers, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his lieutenants like to give the 30 ownership groups an idea of how high the salary cap will rise in the following season.

This gives owners and general managers an idea of what they can spend in either signing current players to extensions or what they can take on in salary in trades. The salary cap for 2014-15 is expected to rise to just under $70 million from $64.3 million this year.

The NHL's lucrative 12-year, $5.2-billion Canadian media rights deal with Rogers Communications does not begin until next season. Therefore, the massive windfall for the owners and players won't affect the salary cap until 2015-16.

The Rogers deal will be ratified at Pebble Beach. Also discussed will be updates from the league on details of its participation in the Sochi Olympics, the concussion lawsuit from a group of retired players as well as future regular-season games in Europe and a possible comeback for the World Cup of Hockey. 

Iggy's return

The immediate impact of the Iginla trade last spring has been an 18-24-4 record to the Calgary Flames without their classy captain. But it will be years before we know what impact the Flames got in return in prospects Kenny Agostino, Ben Hanowski and the first-round pick who became Morgan Klimchuk.

At this point, it appears the 18-year-old Klimchuk has the most upside. The Regina Pats left wing scored 36 goals and 76 points in 72 games in junior last year and is off to decent start this season with 12 goals and 29 points in 26 games. The feeling is the native of Calgary has potential to be a top-six forward in the NHL.

Hanowski, a 23-year-old right wing, played five games for the Flames after his career concluded at St. Cloud State last April. He scored in his debut, but this season has been exclusively with the Flames' AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, B.C., having scored nine goals and 20 points in 26 games for the Heat.

Agostino, a gritty hard-nosed forward, has a chance to be a top-nine forward with the Flames. He's in his senior year at Yale University, a team nationally ranked No. 8. The 21-year-old Agostino started slowly, but heated up over the weekend with two goals in two games, including a late-game tying goal versus Harvard on Saturday.

California Dreamin'

The Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007 and the Los Angeles Kings won in 2012. Last spring, all three California-based NHL teams made it to the playoffs in the same season for the second time in three years. On Sunday evening, Los Angeles native Kevan Miller, the 26-year-old Bruins defenceman, scored his first NHL goal.

But what are the chances the top three teams in the league will be the Ducks, Kings and San Jose Sharks? With the NHL season at the 30-game mark, Anaheim is tied for first with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks are in third, despite a three-game losing streak. The Kings are tied for fourth with Boston, just three points back of Chicago and Anaheim.

Canadian Olympic goalies

Each week, we rank the top contenders for the three goalkeeper spots on the Canadian Olympic team based on their play to date:

1. Carey Price (Montreal) - He has checked in with seven wins in a row and clearly is the favourite to be No. 1 right now for the Canadian team.

3. Josh Harding (Minnesota) - The inspirational story continues to get better. He knocked off two of the top teams in Chicago and San Jose last week.

3. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver) - He reeled off three consecutive wins last week and stopped an impressive 95 of 99 shots. 

4. Corey Crawford (Chicago) - The Stanley Cup winner leads all Canadian goalies in wins with 17 this fall, but lost back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild last week.

5. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh) - He saw his three-game win streak end with a dodgy 18-save effort in a 3-2 loss in Boston on Saturday.

By the Numbers

13 - Consecutive game point streak for Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf. He has 10 goals, including three game-winners, and 20 points in this impressive run.

1 - Ranking on the Flames' all-time list for Iginla in games played (1,219), goals (570), points (1,095) and game-winning goals (83).

1 - Times since Apr. 18, 2006, that the Detroit Red Wings were missing both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg from the lineup at the same time (last Wednesday).

395 - Regular season and playoff victories for the Red Wings between last Wednesday and Apr. 18, 2006. That's the most in the NHL. Pittsburgh was second at 392 followed by San Jose (384), Vancouver and Chicago (both at 361).

285 - Career victories for Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who signed a seven-year, $59.5-million extension last week. No other goalie has as many wins since Lundqvist made his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2005.

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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