HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information from the hockey world.
1. Ovechkin’s victim could miss rest of season
Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brian Campbell may miss the remainder of the regular season with a serious shoulder injury that he suffered when pushed from behind by Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin on Sunday. Ovechkin received a five-minute major boarding penalty and a game misconduct, but said after the game that he didn’t make a dangerous move.
"It was not a hard hit," Ovechkin said. "I just pushed him. I respect everybody, but on the ice it can't be everything. We play for our team and make some hard hits and sometimes you get hurt. It's a hockey game. He fell bad, and that's probably why it looks bad."
Ovechkin did not know if he would be suspended for the hit, which led to his third game misconduct of the season.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews wants to see players take more responsibility.
"So much of that stuff going on now. It's pretty frustrating that the players don't take a stand against something like that and say we have to respect ourselves a little bit more and know it's not all about the flashy hit," Toews said. "You've got to know when there's a dangerous situation where you could really hurt somebody, and be smart about it."
2. The hunt for U.S. college free agents
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Lake Superior State defenceman Simon Gysbers to an amateur tryout and he played his first two games for the minor-league Toronto Marlies over the weekend. The six-foot-four, 185-pound Gysbers, 22, is from Richmond Hill, Ont.
The Anaheim Ducks are on the verge of signing Northeastern University defenceman Jake Newton. The six-foot-three, 205-pound freshman is 21 and from San Jancinto, Calif.
The U.S. collegiate-player free-agent period is underway as teams get knocked out on the road to the Frozen Four. Other players that have drawn NHL interest include: Jarod Palmer (age 24, 6-0, 195), a forward at Miami (Ohio) University from Fridley, Minn.; Casey Wellman (22, 6-0, 160), a forward at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst from Brentwood, Calif.; Bobby Butler (22, 6-0, 180), a forward at the University of New Hampshire from Marlborough, Mass.; and Matt Read (23, 5-11, 190), a forward at Bemidji State University from Ilderton, Ont.
3. Eberle off to Springfield
The Edmonton Oilers will promote junior standout Jordan Eberle to the Springfield Falcons of the AHL this week now that the 19-year-old has concluded his junior career with his hometown Regina Pats of the WHL. The five-foot-11, 184-pound Eberle scored a goal in the Pats' 3-1 loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday to give him 50 goals in 57 games this season, and 155 goals and 310 points in his 254 career games in the WHL, all with the Pats.
Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini remarked on the weekend while in Toronto that Eberle will not be promoted to the big club before the end of the NHL season. The kid, after all, already has been labelled the franchise’s saviour in some corners and the Oilers don’t want to place any unnecessary pressure on the teenager. There is a chance, however, that Hockey Canada could invite Eberle to play for Canada at the world championship in Germany this spring, like they did with Toews three years ago.
4. Here we go again
Last Tuesday, the Calgary Flames beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 at Joe Louis Arena to sneak past the Red Wings into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But here we are seven days later and Detroit has regained the position after the Flames had their four-game win streak halted against Vancouver on Sunday evening.
Calgary and Detroit will meet for the final time this season on Monday at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Each team has 14 games remaining. The Flames have six games at home, eight on the road and nine against teams higher than them in the standings. Detroit has a 7-7 home-away split and only five games against teams ahead of the Red Wings in the standings.
5. Post-Olympic boon for Habs
Two weeks have elapsed since Sidney Crosby’s gold-medal-clinching goal in overtime against the United States at the Vancouver Olympics. The Montreal Canadiens have put up the best record since the Olympic break at 6-1-0. The next-best are Vancouver (6-1-1), Phoenix (5-1-0), Pittsburgh (5-1-1), Washington (5-1-1) and Detroit (5-2-0). The worst teams since the break have been Dallas (1-5-1), Anaheim (1-4-1), Ottawa (1-4-1), Atlanta (2-5-1) and Tampa Bay (2-4-1).