Hey, it’s Dan Mount and I’m here with the Saturday NHL headlines. I usually do them on Friday, but I wanted to wait until the Shawn Thornton suspension came down so I can give my take on it. If you want to add your thoughts on it, leave comments below. You can also reach me on Twitter @DanMountSports or via email at [email protected].
I’ll try to get you a schedule of games that I may be live tweeting. I’ll try to get some of the Hockey Night in Canada games in the next couple of weeks.
Thornton hears a suspension
It finally happened today as Boston Bruin Shawn Thornton got suspended 15 games for his actions against Brooks Orpik last weekend. I commented earlier in the week about the situation and I was expecting a big time suspension. This sort of garbage doesn’t belong in the sport.
For those who didn’t see the hit. Here is a link to the video.
Thornton has apologized for his actions like I said in the Monday NHL headlines. However, that isn’t good enough. CBC analyst Don Cherry was really ticked off about what Thornton did. He said that he “he felt bad for Orpik.”
I know that Orpik is a little bit of a pest and rubs people the wrong way, but there’s a course of action to be taken against a guy like him. Orpik made a high, but clean hit on Loui Ericksson and the Bruins took exception to it. The game got really chippy in a hurry and got pushed over the edge after James Neal kneed a prone Brad Marchand. (Who Thornton should’ve gone after instead of Orpik.
My take is that it was the appropriate length. The NHL delayed announcing the suspension, but the league wanted to cover itself legally when they came down with the penalty. First, the NHLPA can appeal anything longer than five games and also the league wants to cover itself if Orpik files an eventual lawsuit for any head injuries. Crime and punishment isn’t as cut-and-dry as it used to be. Let’s hope that Thornton never pulls something like this again and Brooks Orpik can get back to playing.
Feaster goes down in Flames
The other shoe finally dropped in Calgary as the Flames fired General Manager Jay Feaster earlier in the week. The move was seemingly in the works as the club hired Brian Burke as president of hockey operations. The writing was on the wall when the hire was made as the ownership created the position so Burke could fire Feaster. (Although Burke denied this in his introductory press conference earlier in the summer.)
The Calgary Flames haven’t had a lot of success over the last few seasons. (The Flames last made the playoffs in 2008-09.) Calgary has stumbled along after making the Stanley Cup Final in 2003-04, where it lost to Tampa Bay. Since then, the Flames have only flirted with making the postseason in 2010-11 and 11-12.
There was little surprise this season that the team was in desperate need of a rebuild. Experts had them being historically bad and contending for the top pick. (I had them finishing dead last in the Pacific Division and I warned of Brian Burke taking over in preview.) The team is mixed with young, unproven players and guys that are at the end of their careers.
The Flames tried to get as much as they could from the two main holdovers of the Stanley Cup finalist team in Jarome Iginla and Mikka Kiprusoff. They two would always give a maximum effort, but the two were nearing the end of the road. (Kipper did retire at the end of last season and Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh at the deadline.)
Feaster was hired by the Flames as an assistant general manager in 2010 before ascending to the GM spot permanently in May 2011. Feaster had done all he could to try and trim the dead weight from the roster, but he made some questionable decisions in his drafts. He picked the unproven Mark Jankowski instead of Tomas Hertl and Oill Maata among others.
He also had the unrealistic expectations of being told to make the playoffs this season with a pretty depleted roster. Feaster has got some picks and found some good late round players, but he was living on borrowed time when Burke took over. The only potential for this club to become an even bigger train wreck than it already has been.
Here are some games to watch this week.
Philadelphia at Washington, 3 p.m. ET, NHLN, Comcast Philly and Mid-Atlantic: The Flyers have rallied under Craig Berube and take on hated rival Alex Ovechkin.
Los Angeles at Chicago, 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports West, WGN: Western Conference final rematch and possible playoff preview.
Toronto at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ET, NHLN, RDS, Rogers Ontario, ROOT Pittsburgh: The Leafs get Joffrey Lupul back, but face Sid and the Pens.
It’s that time of the week where I take a look at the best, worst and what the heck of the week.
(Second) worst star
We all know about the Thornton thing. Zac Rinaldo of Philly gets featured for his actions against Antoine Roussel of Dallas.
Who blew up the Death Star?
Check out this weird scene from the Red Wings-Panthers game. The glass broke and the maintenance crew left the protective glass cover on and this is the view.
That’s it for this week. See you all next week.
Dan Mount is an NHL and college football writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.