The NHL is expected to revise its eligibility criteria for the All-Star ballot, writes Ken Campbell of The Hockey News. There was plenty of debate over the controversial push made to get enforcer John Scott into the game and was further fueled by the fact that he played while suiting up with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps (minor league affiliate of Montreal) and was not on an NHL roster.
In particular, the league plans to add the criterion that to be eligible to participate, the player must be a ‘bona fide NHL player’. While there is some ambiguity as to what that exactly is intended to mean, at the very least it would suggest that someone suiting up in the minor leagues like Scott was last year would not be eligible to play. There could also be minimums for games played, ice time, etc to further reduce the likelihood of another write-in campaign like Scott’s was last year or in the past with defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick.
As it turned out, there was a happy ending to Scott’s controversial appearance at All-Star Weekend as he scored twice and was voted as the MVP. The whole adventure resulted in a screenplay being written to chronicle the event but it would appear that something like that won’t be permitted to happen again with this planned change.
The official ballot should be released sometime in mid-November.
Elsewhere around the league:
- The New Jersey Devils are expected to keep center Pavel Zacha through the first of two key deadlines for junior aged players, Andrew Gross of Fire and Ice reports. The 19 year old has played in eight games so far this season while recording three assists. He has seen his ice time jump in recent games, playing over 15 minutes in each of his last four outings. Once he plays in his tenth game, he will burn the first year of his entry-level contract. The next key deadline for Zacha will be the 40 game mark – if he is on New Jersey’s roster for 40 games, he will accrue one season towards unrestricted free agency.
- Toronto has placed defenseman Matt Hunwick on injured reserve with a lower body injury according to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail (Twitter link). Hunwick has missed the last three games and it’s likely that his IR stint will be backdated retroactive to his last game played on October 25th. The 31 year old has seen his role drop considerably in the early going this season; his average ice time (16:59) is down by over five and a half minutes per game compared to last season (22:34).
- Columbus activated goaltender Joonas Korpisalo off of season-opening injured reserve and have assigned him to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland, the team announced. Korpisalo has been out since the start of the season with a groin injury. He led the team in wins, GAA, and SV% last season after getting into 31 games with the Blue Jackets. Once he’s back in game shape, he’ll try to make a push to supplant Curtis McElhinney as the backup to Sergei Bobrovsky.