Flyers Claude Giroux and Ilya Bryzgalov sidelined, Bruins Zdeno Chara suffers leg injury, the Blackhawks “fantastic four”, Stars call-up goalie wins first start, Oilers Andy Sutton receives a lengthy suspension, Blues edge Sharks, concerns hockey enforcer cards glorify violence, and another pundit calls for an end to hockey fights.

 

Giroux suffers head injury.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers leading scorer Claude Giroux and starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov suffered injuries during their club’s 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Giroux suffered a head injury when he was accidentally kneed in the head by teammate Wayne Simmonds,  while Bryzgalov left the game with a “lower body” injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Paul Holmgren expects to have more information available today. If Bryzgalov is out for any amount of time, they can turn to backup Sergei Bobrovsky. Losing Giroux, however, would be more serious, as he’s been far and away their best player, as well as an early candidate for the Hart Trophy so far this season.

BOSTON.COM: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was forced to leave yesterday’s Bruins-Blue Jackets tilt with what appeared to be a knee injury. Following the game it was reported Chara was walking without any apparent discomfort, and will be re-evaluated back in Boston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Chara, who’s been having one of his best seasons,  for a significant period would be a serious blow for the Bruins defense.

SUNTIMES.COM: A look at the impressive performance so far this season of the Chicago Blackhawks “fantastic four”: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re the main reason the Blackhawks must be considered Stanley Cup contenders this season. When they’re playing at their current level, the Blackhawks are a very dangerous team.

STARTELEGRAM.COM: Call-up Richard Bachman won his first start for the Dallas Stars, making 26 saves in a 2-1 victory over the LA Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The win snapped the Stars two-game losing skid, while the Kings have lost four in a row.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues ground out a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks in the first game Blues forward David Perron has played against the Sharks since Joe Thornton’s blindside hit sidelined for nearly a year with a concussion. Perron got a measure of revenge, setting up the game’s only goal.

KUKLA’S KORNER: NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan yesterday announced Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended for eight games.

CBC.CA: “Do blood-spattered enforcer cards glorify violence?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Do bears crap in the woods?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks calls for the NHL to ban fighting in the wake of a study of the brain of the late Derek Boogaard, which found he suffered from “a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe fighting, especially those “staged” bouts between enforcers, no longer belongs in the game, but I also acknowledge fights remains a popular part of the game, and why the league refuses to impose an outright ban. My opposition to fights isn’t because I’m a bleeding heart pansy who hates violence. I’ve enjoyed my share of hockey fights since I starting watching the game over forty years ago, but in recent years have reached the conclusion fighting has become an unnecessary sideshow, which hurts the quality of the product. 

 As more information about head trauma from fighting and other blows to the head comes to light, specifically about the effects of that trauma upon the brain, we could see the NHL take steps to reduce fighting, though I doubt we’ll see a ban. That would take a dramatic, horrifying incident, like a player being killed from a punch in a hockey fight, to force the NHL to do that, and even then, there would be huge resistance.