Here are my top three stories from Sunday in the NHL:
1. Ference Banned- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, who has been outspoken about player safety and headshots in the past, was suspended three games yesterday for boarding New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Saturday. Ference was critical of team-mate Daniel Paille‘s hit last season that resulted in a four game suspension, and since then has been involved in a couple of questionable hits of his own, including a “no-look” elbow on Montreal Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in last season’s playoffs. The elbow was not penalized or supplementary discipline enforced, so this is his first offence in terms of assessing discipline on this occasion.
2. Hartnell A Natural – The Philadelphia Flyers, playing without newly injured Daniel Briere, Zac Rinaldo and Jaromir Jagr in addition to their pre-existing injuries, gutted out a point in a 6-5 OT loss to the Boston Bruins. The highlight for the Flyers was Scott Hartnell‘s second period natural hat trick that brought the Flyers from a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 lead. All three goals were remarkably similar in nature, snap shots from just inside the hash marks near the middle of the ice. The Bruins might want to cover him in that area next time they meet.
3. Ovechkin Hearing for Questionable Hit – Alex Ovechkin will have a hearing this morning with the NHL player safety department after his hit on Zbynek Michalek yesterday. Ovechkin finished his hit in the corner on the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman, arguably leaving his feet in the process, and finishing the hit fairly high. This will be an interesting case as it is really the first superstar, who has a track record for questionable hits, to be called on the carpet for his actions. If the league wants to show that all players are equal, look for a 2-3 game suspension for this hit. Otherwise, if a fine or nothing is issued, it will spark debate about whether stars get special treatment and further calls into question Brendan Shanahan and company, and their treatment of player safety.
You be the judge: