NHL News & Notes: Kreider, Maple Leafs & More

In today’s News & Notes, Chris Kreider has been fined, a pair of Toronto Maple Leafs forwards missed practice and Cam Ward is healthy and returning to the Chicago Blackhawks.

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

Chris Kreider Fined

A day after being ejected for an elbow to the head of Vancouver Canucks’ forward Elias Pettersson, Kreider has been fined $5,000. This fine is the maximum permitted under the CBA.

Chris Kreider Rangers
Chris Kreider has been fined $5,000, New York Rangers, Mar. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Given the severity of the elbow, it’s surprising that the New York Rangers’ star didn’t get any form of suspension for this incident. In recent weeks alone we’ve seen multiple players of star-caliber get suspended for incidents, including Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Jakub Voracek, Kreider may not be happy with the $5,000 fine but in the end, he got off light as the punishment certainly didn’t fit the crime based on precedent.

In 70 games this season, Kreider has scored 26 goals and 49 points and is on pace to set career-high marks in every statistical category.

Two Maple Leafs Forwards Miss Practice

Both Zach Hyman and Kasperi Kapanen were absent from Maple Leafs’ practice Thursday.

Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman
Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

Hyman is dealing with the flu and was a late scratch for the Maple Leafs game on Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Maple Leafs do expect to have him back in their lineup when the team takes on the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

For Kapanen, the injury is more severe as the 22-year-old is suffering from a concussion and has missed the team’s last two games as a result. Both players are crucial to the Maple Leafs lineup and their absence from the lineup on any given night is impactful. Missing both at the same time is less than ideal which makes Hyman’s status as likely to play Friday a good one for the Maple Leafs.

In 68 games this season, Kapanen has scored 19 goals and 42 points. In 59 games, the 26-year-old Hyman has scored 16 goals and 32 points.

Cam Ward Returns

The Chicago Blackhawks are getting a veteran boost to their goaltending depth as Ward is reportedly ready to play according to Mark Lazerus. Ward has been out of the lineup since hurting his knee against the San Jose Sharks on March 3. In his place, Collin Delia has taken the reigns as the team’s backup for Corey Crawford. The latter was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs to make room for Ward.

Cam Ward
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 16: Cam Ward #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks knocks the puck away against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center on February 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Though Ward provides veteran experience to the Blackhawks lineup, he’s had a very rough season in his first year with the team. The 35-year-old has gone 14-11-4 this season and his peripherals aren’t much better as he’s carrying a 3.72 goals-against average and .893 save percentage.

Ward had a solid stretch of play from Jan. 22 until Feb. 14 (five starts) where he recorded save percentages ranging from .926 up to .956. Since then, however, Ward has failed to record a save percentage better than .886 in his next five starts.