James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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A modest goal

Friday, March 22, 2013


SUSPENSIONS

 

Let’s quickly review one suspension that’s already in the books and one that’s in the making.

 

I’ll start with the latter: it’s hard to imagine Rick Nash getting away without some kind of suspension for the ugly elbow he landed on Tomas Kopecky on Thursday. I know he’s a star player and they tend to get a lot of leeway, but that was bad. As far as I know, Nash isn’t a repeat offender, so he might avoid a Corey Perry-level punishment … so maybe two games?

 

Speaking of two games, that’s how many Joffrey Lupul will sit for a questionable hit on Victor Hedman. Lupul quibbled with the description (claiming he didn’t target the head), yet he saw a suspension coming.

 

Overall, it’s been a tough season for Lupul owners. He dealt with a significant injury and saw a bit of a changing of the guard in his absence. This comes after seemingly settling in with a team after a significant run of upheaval before that.

 

It actually reminds me a lot of Kris Versteeg’s career as of late. Really, the two hold those things in common plus a) being smaller but significant parts of strong teams that eventually traded them away and b) they both have been Toronto Maple Leafs. (Yes, it’s surprisingly easy to forget Versteeg was in Toronto, but it happened.)

 

Anyway, the two have had similar bad luck after what seemed like breakout seasons. The parallels would get outright creepy if Joffrey Lupul ended up with crazy hair like Versteeg had last season, though.

 

WORRIES FOR SMITH

 

Things were already bad for the Phoenix Coyotes, who couldn’t provide any goal support in three of four games during their horrid road trip. They were back in the desert on Thursday, but things might have gotten even worse as Mike Smith got absolutely clobbered by Alexander Edler, knocking him out of the third period.

 

Keep an eye on updates about his condition. The Coyotes depend heavily on him and he’s in a contract year, so if he misses more than a week, it could be a big deal. He could very well fight through whatever he’s dealing with and miss no time.

 

Still, it’s pretty worrisome.

 

INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS

 

Sergei Gonchar suffered an undisclosed injury because the universe/the deity of your choosing seriously hates the 2013 version of the Ottawa Senators … The Lightning placed Anders Lindback (ankle) on the IR, recalled Cedrick Desjardins and signed 6-foot-8 college free agent Andrej SustrAlex Ovechkin really looked like the old Ovi last night, hitting everyone, shooting pucks like mad and scoring three points. Feel free to dream a bit even if it might be a brief flashback … P.K. Subban scored two goals last night. He’s going to make the Montreal Canadiens really pay up after the 2013-14 season … Jacob Markstrom stopped 44 out of 45 Rangers shots last night for a beauty of a win … The Dallas Stars aren’t shy about leaning heavily on Kari Lehtonen. He carried them to a 2-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings, stopping all 40 shots … Tuomo Ruutu returned to action last night. That’s quite the astounding turnaround, although he is a hockey player. Michael Grabner returned to action, too … Adios to Alex Kovalev, who officially ended his fantastic NHL career on Thursday. Not everyone thinks that you - a guy with more than 400 goals and 1,000 points - underachieved.



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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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