- On Friday the NHL suspended Trevor Gillies 10 games for his latest head-shot incident. And frankly, it’s not enough. The league continues to fail at ‘sending a message.’ 10 games is a slap on the wrist for Gillies, who obviously didn’t learn from his actions that February night against Pittsburgh in which he concussed Eric Tangradi, proceeding to taunt him from the runway.
If Colin Campbell and the league wanted to send a message, Gillies needed to be suspended for the rest of the season. I’ll admit his hit on Cal Clutterbuck this week was not as forceful as the one to Tangradi. But at the same time, it was Gillies’ first game back from his nine-game suspension, plus the intent was there. What did he learn from that slap on the wrist? Nothing. What makes you believe he’ll learn anything this time around?
There is no place in the game for Gillies’ actions in the last month. Actually, there is no place in the NHL for the goon himself.
- I don’t think there is any doubt that Jonathan Toews has pushed himself into the Hart Trophy mix. No one else in the league is making as good a case right now for the MVP as Toews is. He has points in 15 of the last 17 games; in that time he has 10 goals, 17 assists and a plus-15 rating. Chicago is currently riding an eight-game win streak, due in large part to their captain’s torrid stretch.
- While we’re on the topic of awards, someone is going to be left out of a deserved nomination in the Calder Trophy race. Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture, Corey Crawford and Michael Grabner have all had Calder-worthy campaigns. One won’t be heading to Las Vegas this summer.
- Ilya Kovalchuk is on some quite of run. His overtime goal on Friday gave the $100 million man his sixth game-winning tally in the last 12 games (and 9 for the season). That is the most he has ever had in one season. Kovy collected 21 points and a minus-30 rating in his first 40 games this year. But since Jan. 9, he has 13 goals and 25 points in 23 games.
- Could Saturday’s comeback win over Detroit be a turning point for the Coyotes? Dave Tippett’s squad had lost five straight going into that game and trailed 4-1 after 40 minutes. But Phoenix found a spark and came all the way back to win 5-4 in a shootout. When it looked like things were about to unravel in the desert, their resiliency has come through in a big way.
- During Friday’s Devils-Penguins game, Pittsburgh announcers Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey could not let go of the David Steckel hit on Sidney Crosby in the Winter Classic. Now, I know those two are usually biased as much as any other broadcast team in the league. However, they really went overboard with Steckel.
So much so that when the Devils newcomer collided at center ice with Pens forward Chris Conner, Steigerwald pointed out that Steckel now knows what it feels like to get run into ‘accidentally’; Steigerwald went on to mention that he hoped that Steckel got the worst of the collision. I understand they don’t want to see another Penguin get hurt, but that’s not something that needs to be said on-air.
- Speaking of Pittsburgh – wouldn’t a Penguins-Bruins playoff series be fantastic? Not only do you have the obviously storyline of Matt Cooke vs. Boston, but all four of their games this year have been rugged, hard-fought and decided late in the third period or overtime. A possible series may have to occur in the second round or later, unless Pittsburgh slides down to the six or seven seed.
- Other playoff series I’d really like to see this spring: Detroit-San Jose, Chicago-Los Angeles and, of course, Boston-Montreal.
- Yesterday it was announced that Colorado’s Peter Mueller would be shut down for the remainder of the season with a concussion that was suffered in the preseason. While it’s not a surprise, it just goes to show you – again – how serious they are. 19 players are currently sidelined in the NHL with a concussion.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.