A couple things to clean up on this practice day before another big game tomorrow.
-So Corey Crawford isn’t going to play tomorrow due to something called an “off-ice” injury. Which could be anything. What’s curious is if it’s off-ice was it during team activity? And if not was it doing something he should be disciplined for, a la Josh Harding? Of course, we’ll never find this out because the Hawks aren’t talking. If they won’t tell you what an injury is when it happens during the game they’re certainly not going to tell you if it happens away from it.
But it’s weird, no? Here we have Crow who was very good last weekend in California, goes away for two days, and now he’s hurt? Was he actually hurt in L.A. and the Hawks didn’t want to face questions about why he was playing? We know, or can at least safely assume, that he missed time earlier in the year with a concussion. Did he have a recurrence of that? That would be something the Hawks would hide, though they’re calling it lower body. Someone’s going to have to dig on this one, because it’s kind of not above board.
That leaves Antti Raanta starting tomorrow, which against the Blues isn’t a good thing. Especially when you throw in that he hasn’t played in like three weeks. Raanta has always struggled with teams that get a lot of traffic that he gets caught up in and can’t stand up to. He gave up a softie last time as well as getting pushed into the net for the winning goal. The Hawks will have to be at their defensive best, and it’s not like the Canadiens and Predators behind that aren’t scoring a lot either. Oy.
-The Blues signed Martin Brodeur, and they say he’s going to play so the guess is he’ll split starts with Jay Gallon until Brian Elliot is healthy, and that must be a while off. Looking forward to Brodeur bitching about playing time when Elliot is healthy, though.
-And then of course the hockey world kind of blew up when Slava Voynov skated at practice today, even though he’s suspended. The NHL fined the Kings $100K for this little stunt.
On the one hand, the NHL acted swiftly and while $100K isn’t much to a team’s budget, I doubt there’s much more the league can do. They’re not going to seriously fine the Kings $1 million or something that would make a difference. This is probably the limit of what they can do. Although I wonder if this was the Stars or Panthers, and not the defending champs, what exactly the punishment would have been.
On the other, Voynov and the Kings are floating is some non-definitive abyss here. He should be suspended, and he is with pay though. The Kings had him on the cap for a while, until they bitched and moaned enough to get him off of it. So he’s still being paid, but he’s not on the cap? I don’t know if the team should be punished for his alleged actions. But there really should only be one form of relief here. Either he’s suspended without pay and the Kings get the reprieve on their payroll, or if he’s being paid they don’t. What does he lose here for getting arrested? Not playing in games? What do the Kings suffer? The loss of a player I guess but the ability to replace him? It doesn’t quite add up in my mind.
Also feels like GM Dean Lombardi was baiting the league, and might push a little farther to see how much he can get away with before the penalties do become something they notice. He’s certainly not bought himself or his team any leeway for any reinstatement of the defenseman. There also doesn’t seem to be much precedent. I can’t ever remember a team trying to have a suspended player at practice. So we’re making this up as we go.