After last night’s game versus the Arizona Coyotes, most in the hockey world expected Jamie Benn to be getting a call from the Department of Player Safety thanks to this questionable decision to board Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Many thought it was worthy of at least a one- or two-game suspension, given that the puck wasn’t near Ekman-Larsson at the time of the play. But the DoPS didn’t view it the same way as most of us did:
Player Safety viewed it as a 50-50 puck chase, not a typical boarding suspension where one player was tracking another. They felt it was definitely worth the boarding major which Benn got in-game, but felt it didn't rise to the level of supplemental discipline. https://t.co/0i0YP5ImKu— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 20, 2020
Honestly, it feels like Benn got away with one there. Though, this is the same department that refused to do more than fine a player for cross-checking someone in the throat. At some point, the question has to be asked whether the DoPS is truly worried about player safety — or if there are different sets of rules depending on who you are and what team you play for and the result of the play, instead of the play itself (as it should really be).
Ryan Ellis Returns To Play, Ready For ‘Open-Ice Hit’ on Corey Perry
It’s been a long road back for Ryan Ellis of the Nashville Predators. In the opening minutes of the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the Predators blueliner was hit in the head by Corey Perry. Perry was ejected, and Ellis has been dealing with a concussion since. Perry also earned a five-game suspension from the Department of Player Safety due to the play.
As Ellis gets ready to return to game action after missing 20 games, he spoke with Nashville media and said he doesn’t hold any ill-will towards Perry for the hit. He actually called it a “hockey play”, which is very questionable considering the point of contact as the head, which the league says they want to remove from the game. Ellis is circled the upcoming home-and-home the two teams will have on March 5th (in Nashville) and March 7th (in Dallas):
Ellis calls Perry’s hit on him a “hockey play” says he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward him, but does say “now I would like to get him with a big open ice hit.”— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) February 20, 2020
Good to see Ellis returning to the Predators lineup, and that first game especially will be some must-watch television down the stretch of the season here.
Joel Kiviranta Returned to AHL Texas Stars
Last night, as we were doing post-game interviews in the locker room, forward Joel Kiviranta was working with the equipment staff to pack up his gear. The Stars returned Kiviranta to the AHL this morning. There’s likely two parts to this decision.
First, Justin Dowling returned to the ice this week, feeding Joe Pavelski some pucks as he worked on net-front tips at morning skate yesterday. If he’s getting close to returning, Dallas would need to open up a roster spot for him, and Kiviranta is the natural choice to return to the AHL since he’s not subject to waivers.
Second, both the Texas Stars and Dallas Stars are in the middle of homestands. This could help Kiviranta get back into some game play, as he’s taken three straight healthy scratches. It’s not an overly burdensome travel between Cedar Park and Dallas if they want him up here for games if they get another injury to the forward corps and Dowling isn’t ready to go yet.