NHL News & Notes: Backes, Byfuglien & More

In today’s News & Notes, David Backes has a hearing for a high hit, Dustin Byfuglien has been fined by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety and Charlie McAvoy has been placed on the injured reserve.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Price, Chara & More

Backes has Hearing for Hit to Head

The Boston Bruins will likely be without Backes for the near future as the veteran forward is set to have a hearing for an illegal check to the head of Blake Coleman. The hit occurred late in a losing effort game and would shake Coleman up as a result.

Boston Bruins' David Backes
Boston Bruins’ David Backes (42) takes a shot as Toronto Maple Leafs’ Kasperi Kapanen (24) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Backes has had his fair share of bad luck in recent seasons in regards to injuries and even a suspension for interference on Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen. As a result of the suspension occurring in the last 18 months, the 34-year-old will likely find himself suspended once again with a more severe penalty this time around.

Backes has turned his season around as of late, scoring two goals and seven points in 13 games in December after scoring only one goal and three points in his previous 20 contests, giving him three goals and 10 total points on the season.

Byfuglien Fined for Slash

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has fined Byfuglien $2,500 for a slash on Calgary Flames’ forward Johnny Gaudreau. The slash occurred late in the third period of the Flames 4-1 victory over the Jets on Thursday and likely came as a result of frustration both from the scoreboard and from the fact that Gaudreau had deked around Byfuglien to score to complete his hat-trick.

Dustin Byfuglien - Winnipeg Jets
Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets, Mar. 10, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It was a careless and senseless act that could have resulted in a serious injury. Fortunately, the Flames’ star forward said that he was “fine” after the game which should allow Flames’ fans to breathe a sigh of relief.

In 31 games this season, Byfuglien has scored four goals and 28 points.

McAvoy Placed on Injured Reserve

One step forward, two steps back. Just when the Bruins thought they would be getting close to a fully healthy and active roster with the returns of Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, Jake DeBrusk and of course, Patrice Bergeron to their lineup in recent days, they were dealt even more bad hands.

McAvoy would miss the Bruins first game back after the holiday break and was placed on the injured reserve just one day later. There is still a distinct possibility that he can suit up for the upcoming Winter Classic game against the Chicago Blackhawks, but this has to be discouraging and demoralizing for head coach Bruce Cassidy.

McAvoy is a legitimate top-pairing defender already in his career and though the Bruins are deep on defense on the left side, their right-handed depth leaves a lot to be desired. That’s why this injury hurts so much.

In 17 games this season, McAvoy has scored one goal and 11 points while averaging 21:01 of ice time.

In addition to McAvoy’s injury, the Bruins will also be without Brad Marchand against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday after the star left winger took a hit up high late in the Bruins game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Brad Marchand Bruins
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins, Dec. 2, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Marchand has scored 12 goals and 41 points in 38 games this season and is well on his way to his third-consecutive season over 80 points if he can maintain this pace.

Quick Hits

  • Jake Guentzel has signed a five-year contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Carey Price and his wife welcomed their new baby to the world Friday morning
  • Jake Dotchin (Anaheim Ducks) and Valentin Zykov (Edmonton Oilers)  have been placed on waivers.
  • Michal Cajkovsky (Carolina Hurricanes), Joonas Lyytinen (Nashville Predators) have been placed on unconditional waivers.