Patrik Laine was driven from Saturday’s game after taking a huge open-ice check from Buffalo’s Jake McCabe.
The hit came late in the third period when Mark Scheifele fed the 18-year-old Finn in transition. After McCabe lined up the rookie, Scheifele jumped McCabe and a real donnybrook broke out between the 10 skaters on the ice.
Laine left the game and did not return. After the game, coach Paul Maurice didn’t offer anything in the way of an update on Laine’s health. However, he was seen living the building on his own.
Though the rookie of the year candidate left the game, there wasn’t much debate about whether or not the hit was clean. “It looked OK,” Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler told NHL.com. “Caught him in a bad spot and, like I said, hoping for the best.”
“As clean as you can get,” said Buffalo’s Brian Gionta. “Obviously you don’t want to see anyone get hurt. I don’t care if he’s on your team or not.”
Laine wasn’t the only one who came out of the hit with battle wounds. Between the hit and the ensuing fight, McCabe looked a little rough after the game as well.
The bad blood between the two sides didn’t dissipate after that line brawl. The Sabres scored three goals in the third period to win the game. In the closing moments, it was clear the frustration was getting to the Jets as Dustin Byfuglien took a few shots at goaltender Robin Lehner, who isn’t known for his even temperament and ability to back down from a fight.
Rainy Day Classic
While the 2017 Winter Classic was almost ruined by rain, the AHL Outdoor Classic wasn’t quite as lucky. The game between the Bakersfield Condors (affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers) and the Ontario Reign (affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) was played in heavy rain throughout the game.
It was ugly.
It was raining so much that the ice looked as though it was shimmering and sprays of water accompanied every pass and shot.
At times, the puck was displacing so much water it looked a bit like the old FoxTrax glowing puck.
With a two-goal third period rally, Bakersfield ultimately came back and won the game on an overtime goal from Griffin Reinhart.
It might not rise to the same heights, but they shouldn’t feel bad about playing in the rain. The best performers thrive in the rain.
Prince and Reinhart are basically interchangeable now.
Odds & Ends
– American hero Troy Terry returned to the University of Denver from Team USA on Saturday for a game against Arizona State. He kept the hot streak going by scoring two goals and three assists in a 6-1 win.
– Joe Pavelski put up a pair of points Saturday to reach the 600-point milestone.
– Anton Rodin became the second player and first forward to suit up in a game this season and finish having played 0:00. He didn’t get a single shift. The only other player to have this dubious honor was Adam Clendening on Nov. 13.
– The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled Michael Bournival and Erik Condra from the AHL.
– The KHL has announced the 2017 KHL All-Star Game roster. It includes names familiar to NHL fans like Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jonathan Cheechoo, Ilya Sorokin, Linus Omark, former Flyers defenseman Evgeny Medvedev, and former Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka. It will also feature Dallas Stars prospect Valeri Nichushkin and Minnesota Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov.
– This young man is a big ‘Hawks fan and decided to pull his tooth out with a slap shot. It worked.