Laraque-Kronwall hearing tops Hockey Night's Take 5

Laraque-Kronwall hearing, Marc Savard's return, the NHL's strongest line, Leafs scouting, and Bryan Bickell's second career goal make Hockey Night's Top 5.
Georges Laraque, seen during a practice, will have an NHL hearing Monday to review his knee-on-knee hit on Niklas Kronwall. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))
1. NHL hearing for Laraque-Kronwall hit

Montreal Canadiens forward Georges Laraque will have a hearing with NHL chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell on Monday to review his knee-on-knee hit with Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall in the first period of the Red Wings 3-2 shootout victory  in Montreal on Saturday. Kronwall will miss at least a month with a serious medial collateral ligament sprain of his left knee.

Laraque claimed there was no intent to injure Kronwall, but the Montreal player did receive a minor penalty for tripping on the play. Kronwall joins defenceman Andreas Lilja (post-concussion syndrome), centre Valtteri Filppula (broken wrist) and forwards Jason Williams (broken leg) and Johan Franzen (knee) on the Red Wings' long-term injured list. Derek Meech is expected to replace Kronwall.

2. Savard's return

Marc Savard  is expected to return to action when Boston visits the St. Louis Blues on Monday. The Bruins centre missed 15 games with a broken foot. His team managed a 7-4-4 record in his absence, but missed his presence on the power play, scoring only five times in 44 man-advantage situations. In practice on Sunday, Savard skated on a line between Marco Sturm and Byron Blitz.

3. Strong line

The hottest line in the NHL these days is Joe Thornton between Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau. With Canadian Olympic men's hockey team executive director Steve Yzerman scouting their games on Friday and Saturday, the San Jose Sharks trio combined for six goals and 13 points in a pair of victories against Philadelphia and Anaheim. Marleau was recently promoted from the Sharks second line. He replaced Joe Pavelski, now centering Ryan Clowe and Manny Malhotra on the league-leading Sharks second unit.

4. Leafs scouting

When Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff showed up at the Toronto Marlies game on Saturday afternoon and the Maple Leafs game  on Saturday evening, he didn't go unnoticed. The Blackhawks need salary cap relief and a prime candidate to be moved is defenceman Brent Sopel, who has this and another season left on his deal with a cap hit of $2.33-million. Chicago has interest in 21-year-old Toronto minor-leaguer Jiri Tlusty, who has 10 goals in 74 career NHL games.

But the Maple Leafs are not the only team on the Blackhawks' radar to make a move and Chicago is not the only team talking with Toronto. There were pro scouts from 13 different teams watching the Maple Leafs on Saturday, including scouts from Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Washington.

5. Bickell scores a second

Chicago forward Bryan Bickell  scored his first career game-winning goal in the NHL when he checked in with the game's only goal in the Blackhawks 1-0 win in Vancouver on Sunday. But the former Ottawa 67's junior from Bowmanville, Ont., appears destined to return to the minors when Marian Hossa is expected to make his debut with Chicago later this week. The 23-year-old Bickell has played the last three games on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. In 13 games with Chicago split over three seasons, Bickell has three goals.