After the game between the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday was postponed following Jay Bouwmeester’s cardiac event on the bench, it was clear that the Blues’ schedule would be in for a shake-up in order to make up the game. With limited time left in the season – adding a 23rd game to the Blues’ schedule over the remaining 48 games of the regular season – was not going to be easy, especially when the team needed to return to Southern California despite not having any more road games scheduled against the Pacific Division. The NHL did their best to find the best time to play the game and the Blues have announced the re-worked schedule. The team will now resume their game with the Ducks on Wednesday, March 11th. Their home game against the Florida Panther that had been scheduled for March 10th has now been moved up a day to March 9th as well. St. Louis will now wrap up a road trip through New York, New Jersey, and Chicago on March 8th, return home on the 9th, fly to Anaheim for the 11th, and then head back home to face the Sharks on the 13th. It will be a busy week for sure, but likely preferable to making the game up with an extra day after the end of the regular season, as the Panthers and Bruins did two years ago. As for the postponed game itself, the league has decided to keep the points on the board but re-start with a fresh 60 minutes rather than account for the first nine minutes of play from the previous game. As such, the Blues and Ducks will begin the game at 1-1, but there will be no other changes from a typical regular season game.
- Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien has been fined $10,000 for remarks he made about the officiating in the team’s game on Saturday, the league announced. The game in question, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars, featured a number of missed penalties suffered by the Canadiens. In fact, the team did not have a single power play in the game. A frustrated Julien listed many of the missed calls in his postgame availability and called the officiating “embarrassing”. Perhaps the most incriminating line was Julien’s implication that the calls were skewed in Dallas’ favor, as he stated that Montreal “had to beat two teams.” While it fair to criticize officiating and to wish that there was more accountability for a poor job by the referees, the league is never going to tolerate such public comments, especially by a head coach. Julien had to have known that a fine was coming, so this should not come as much of a shock, fair or not.
- San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane is also unhappy with the league’s officials, both on the ice and within the Department of Player Safety. Kane was suspended three games for an elbow to the head of Winnipeg defenseman Neal Pionk on Friday. Kane spoke out on the suspension and his gripe was not with his individual penalty, but with the inconsistency of the call. “There have been countless incidents of the same nature through this season and past seasons that have gone unsuspended or (un)fined,” Kane said. “No one person can tell you what is and isn’t a suspension in today’s game, it’s a complete guess. There is a major lack of consistency with NHL Department of Player Safety… You can’t continue to give some players a pass and throw the book at others.” The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell concurs with Kane’s statement, pointing out a very recent example. Just last week, Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse hit Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy in the head with an elbow and received only a roughing minor. Not only was the hit nearly identical to that of Kane on Pionk, but it was also very similar to another hit in the same game, a check by the Bruins’ Jeremy Lauzon on the Coyotes’ Derek Stepan that earned Lauzon a two-game suspension. The inconsistency of the Department of Player Safety, as well as on-ice officials, is well-documented, but this is the first time that any player has spoken out so publicly about it. Perhaps Kane’s call to action will do more than just earn him an additional fine. He is advocating for a third party to review all questionable hits and penalties rather than the NHL, which could become a bargaining plea for the players in the next CBA if the league does not improve in this area.