You have to hand it to the NHL’s DoPS, they never seem to do what you think they will when it comes to suspensions. This time, they handed Toronto’s Auston Matthews a two game ban for crosschecking Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin in the head during the Leafs 5-2 loss to the Sabres in the Heritage Classic Sunday in Hamilton. Most thought Matthews, who has no previous record of any kind (apart from his criminal record in Arizona, anyway) would get out of this with a fine, so it was a bit of a shock to see the NHL’s top goal scorer get sat for two games.
Some felt Dahlin should have gotten a fine or suspension himself for his role in the incident, but there really wasn’t anything that he did that crossed the line that far. In the end, a second straight game where Matthews’ temper was on full display has to be a bit concerning for the Leafs.
Yeah, we all get the frustration of star players not getting calls, but they need to play through it, especially in the post-season.
Full trade:— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 14, 2022
To COL: D Josh Manson
To ANA: D Drew Helleson, 2023 2nd Round Pick#NHLDucks retain half of Manson's $4.1 million AAV.
This is a good pickup for Colorado, giving them some better back end depth, and while Manson is likely just a rental for the playoffs, they definitely win this trade just on getting the Ducks to eat half his salary.
Just one game in the NHL last night, between the Arizona Coyotes and Ottawa Senators, and since neither team affects the Canucks playoff grind, we’ll move to games tonight that could impact the efforts to make the post-season.
We start with the Dallas Stars, who currently sit two points ahead of the Canucks with three games in hand. They’re in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, who will not have Auston Matthews in the lineup for this one. The Stars are 6-3-1 in their last ten, but have lost two straight.
The Anaheim Ducks are in New York to meet the Rangers tonight. They are one point behind Vancouver, who have two games in hand on the Ducks. Anaheim is struggling right now, having won just three of their last ten, and dealing away Josh Manson, they may be signalling they feel the season is slipping away from them.
Nashville is at home to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Preds are seven points up on Vancouver, currently sitting in the first Wild Card spot, and they have one game in hand right now. They’re 6-4-0 in their last ten.
A big one to watch is the Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg to take on the Jets. Vegas sits in the second Wild Card spot three points ahead of the Canucks, who have a game in hand, while the Jets are one point back of Vancouver with the same number of games played. The Golden Knights are really struggling with injuries, and are 3-7-0 in their last ten. Winnipeg is 5-3-2 in their last ten.
Edmonton plays host to the Detroit Red Wings tonight. The Oilers are three points ahead of the Canucks, sitting third in the Pacific, and have one game in hand. They’re 4-5-1 in the last ten, but have won two straight.
Los Angeles takes on Colorado, and San Jose hosts Florida, but the gap between those teams and the Canucks is too large to be concerning either way.
A bit of awesome news yesterday as the group of Canucks who skated yesterday included Elias Pettersson, currently out with an upper body injury, and Brandon Sutter. The Canucks forward has been out of the lineup all season, suffering the effects of long COVID. It was just a month ago where there was speculation that it might see him not return to playing at all, and Bruce Boudreau wondered if we would even see him return this season. While this isn’t a guarantee that he can return to the lineup, it’s fantastic to see him on the ice again. He’s one of the genuinely nice guys out there, and it would be incredible to see him get back into the lineup before this is all done. He’s on a one year deal, so even if his time as a Canuck is going to come to an end, it should be going out as a player and not having to retire because of this god-forsaken virus.