Tuesday night was a rough night to be Jamie Benn.
Besides the elbow from Shane Doan that got the Phoenix Coyotes captain suspended three games, the Dallas Stars forward got ridden into the boards hard at least twice more, including a nasty-looking hit from Antoine Vermette in overtime that sent him down the tunnel briefly.
But he told reporters he was "Feeling fine, normal," after Wednesday's optional practice, and there are no signs he should miss tonight's game against the Vancouver Canucks.
To his credit, Doan issued a statement apologizing for the hit.
"I accept the NHL's decision and ruling,'' Doan said. ``I am thankful that Jamie Benn was not hurt on the play. I recognize how bad it looked but there was no intent to injure him. Jamie Benn is a class act and I appreciate how he handled everything. I apologize to the NHL, my teammates and our fans for missing the next 3 games as we continue to fight for a playoff spot.''
Personally, I didn't and still don't see Doan as a dirty player in the vein of the Bryan Marchment or The Artist Formerly Known As Matt Cooke who were out to end players' careers. To me, he's like Brenden Morrow in that when he gets frustrated, he's liable to do something stupid and illegal, and 1-2 times a year, that stupid crosses the line into dangerous. But I like my players with a physical edge, and I guess occasional stupidity is the price you pay for that. I'm glad he's apologized, for what it's worth.
After the jump, more on tonight's game against the Canucks, reaction to the Doan suspension and the Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks went a little bit bananas.
- Austin Smith was officially signed to a two-year entry level contract on Wednesday in addition to his current professional tryout contract. We knew it was coming, but it's nice to see all the I's dotted and T's crossed. Happy birthday to me. [DallasStars.com]
- With the addition of Smith and Jack Campbell, the Texas Stars are going to look pretty different in the near future. Here's what the previous group has been up to recently. [ESPN Dallas]
- Let me count my problems with this article. For one, if what you're doing is patently illegal (be that carrying the stick above your shoulders or sticking out a head-high extended elbow), it doesn't matter if the other dude cuts at the last moment. And if you think Jamie Benn embellished an elbow to the face, you've obviously never taken an elbow to the face. I do agree with them on one thing though - Shane Doan has bad timing. [Arizona Sports]
- Coyotes general manager Don Maloney was not impressed with the "hysteria" about the hit, but Dave Tippett seems to be taking the whole thing in stride. [Arizona Republic]
- Both of the major mainstream hockey blogs out there had takes on the Doan/Benn incident on their podcasts yesterday. Puck Daddy gets to it about a third of the way through their podcast while it's the first topic on Backhand Shelf. Justin Bourne also brings up an interesting question - what was Shane Doan trying to do with Brenden Morrow immediately afterward? [Puck Daddy/Backhand Shelf]
- I'm not sure why the author of this article about Loui Eriksson decided the best people to compare/contrast him to were Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin, but it is a nice piece on the understated greatness of Eriksson regardless. [The Province]
Evgeni Nabokov, who last year wanted absolutely nothing to do with the New York Islanders, signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract extension with the team. [NHL.com]
- It's been hard to count on the Minnesota Wild for help on the scoreboard watching front recently, but they will get reinforcements for tonight's game against the Calgary Flames as Mikko Koivu returns yet again. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- Not only am I a little put off by the light Graham James sentence to begin with, I am even less impressed that he could be out of prison as soon as this fall. [CBC]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: The Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks played an.... interesting game on Wednesday. The Hawks won 2-1 in overtime, but the real storyline was the sheer number of silly, borderline and blatantly dirty hits in the game. This post from Puck Daddy has video of two of them, both involving Daniel Sedin and Duncan Keith. It does not cover an alleged Alex Burrows kneeing incident. [Puck Daddy]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Henrik Sedin was not happy with Keith in that game. No word yet on the status of Daniel Sedin for tonight's game. [Vancouver Sun]
- Around the Pacific Division: Of all the teams in the league, it was the Anaheim Ducks who handed the St. Louis Blues their first defeat of the season when the Blues scored at least three goals. [Los Angeles Times]
- The few, the proud, the hockey hugs. [Puck Daddy]
- You know Jamie Benn is feeling okay when he's wearing his traditional backwards-facing hat. I'm seriously going to start making a list of the players on this team who don't wear hats for interviews. Also, the unintentional comedy factor of this interview, at least for me, is pretty high as Benn is clearly not about to say anything compelling about the hit or the game no matter how many ways he's asked.