In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Predators defenseman Shea Weber fined for hit on Canucks Jannik Hansen…Mikko Koivu avoids serious injury…Blues might turn to backup Brian Elliott again…The maturation of Marc-Andre Bergeron…Daniel Carcillo fitting in comfortably with the Blackhawks.
EXAMINER.COM: The NHL has fined Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber $2,500.00 for boarding Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen during the Canucks 5-1 victory over the Predators on Thursday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we can see by the video, there’s no question this was a dangerous hit by Weber, who is lucky all he’s getting is a fine, probably due to the fact Hansen wasn’t seriously injured on the play.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu realized he was lucky only to be clipped on the chin, not his neck, by the skate of teammate Dany Heatley during the Wild-Edmonton Oilers game earlier this week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former NHL forward Richard Zednik suffered a serious neck injury a couple of years ago by a nearly identical incident when clipped on the neck by the skate blade of then-teammate Olli Jokinen. Koivu is indeed fortunate he was only cut on the chin.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues may turn to backup goalie Brian Elliott for the second straight game tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers, after Elliott starred in a 3-2 overtime win on Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With starter Jaroslav Halak struggling early, Elliott could see more starts in the near future, but the Blue coaching staff must be careful not to overplay him and risk injuring him. Elliott does have experience as a starting goalie, having played in 55 games in 2009-10 with the Ottawa Senators, posting career-bests in wins (29), goals-against (2.57), save percentage (.909) and shutouts (5), but his struggles the following season saw him shipped to Colorado, who then opted not to re-sign him. Given Halak’s struggles, this could be an excellent opportunity for Elliott to prove himself again as a starter.
TAMPA BAY ONLINE: Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, long considered solely an offensive blueliner, has been improving his defensive game, as well as playing a smarter offensive one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A year ago, Bergeron’s NHL career was in doubt following knee surgery, but the Lightning took a chance, and he’s now become a key part of their blueline.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo has been fitting in well with his new team, the Chicago Blackhawks. Carcillo wants to change his image, and playing on the Blackhawks second line should help.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carcillo has been known as a pesky scrapper with a reputation as a loose cannon, but he has the skills to contribute in other ways, and if he can focus his energies, could become a Darcy Tucker-style player.