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Monday, November 17, 2008

NHL News from Around the League - November 17th

Having former Penguin Rick Tocchet behind the bench didn't help the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they lost their first game of the post-Barry Melrose era. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Lightning 3-2. Apparently having former Penguins Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Adam Hall and Mark Recchi didn't help either.

Another former Penguin, and current Boston Bruin, Andrew Ference will be out of action for up to eight weeks with a broken leg. The injury occurred when Ference took a slapshot to the leg from Andrei Markov of the Canadiens.

The Atlanta Thrashers had their 5-game winning streak snapped last night as they lost 4-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki is 11-0 against the Trashers in his career. Simon Gagne had a goal and two assists in the win.

Gagne also spoke out in favour of eliminating shots to the head. Gagne said: "We have to do something about it. (Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren) told me, 'You guys have to start talking about it. It's not going to come from the officials or the league, it has to come from the players.'" Gagne missed all of last season with post-concussion syndrome. Gagne's comments coincided with a memo posted in every NHL locker room om Friday. The memo read:

"Recently, we have had two (2) supplemental discipline incidents involving direct elbow blows to the head. This is a play that we have been trying to remove from our game for a number of years. In one case there was no injury and in the other incident the elbowed Player received a concussion. Both Players delivering the elbows had never before been involved in supplemental discipline.

"We cannot and will not tolerate blows to the head that are deliberate, avoidable and illegal. Furthermore, both the history and status of the offender (first time versus repeat) and the nature of the injury caused (if any) will be taken into consideration as they have been in the past. The length of suspensions for illegal blows to the head will be increased if these incidents persist across the League. Taking steps to maintain the safest on-ice environment possible for the Players remains our most important priority."

On the "All Habs Game" front, it appears that several thousand all-star votes (as many as 20,000 in some cases) were stripped from Canadiens players by the NHL. The Habs still lead all positions in the East by huge margins. The Detroit Red Wings are leading in 4 out of 6 positions in the West. Sidney Crosby has the most votes out of non-Montreal players in the East as of the time this post was written.

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