Rambunctious Edmonton Oiler winger Ben Eager has been waived and dispatched to the minors and the team’s new muscle, Steve MacIntyre, has a knee injury. So if the Vancouver Canucks are wondering who might be coming after them Saturday night, his name is Luke Gazdic.
“I know absolutely nothing about him,” said Canuck winger Dale Weise, a possible target after his hit to the head of Oiler star Taylor Hall during a pre-season game two weeks ago.
On the same night, Zack Kassian broke Sam Gagner’s jaw with a reckless high stick and he’ll be serving game five Saturday of an eight-game suspension. Weise was slapped with a three-game suspension that has been completed.
So Gazdic? Here is the scouting report on him: he is 24, from Toronto, listed at 6-3 and 240 pounds and routinely picks up more than 100 penalty minutes wherever he plays.
In his one and only NHL game — the Oilers’ 5-4 loss Tuesday to Winnipeg — Gazdic finished one assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick. He scored in the first period and fought Jets’ tough guy Chris Thorburn in the second. (In an interesting twist, Gazdic was picked up on waivers Monday from Dallas after MacIntyre was hurt trying to hit him in a pre-season game three nights earlier.)
“I don’t think there are going to be any repercussions but who knows?” Weise said following practice Friday. “I think it was fair that I had to miss the rest of the pre-season and Zack got eight games. But I guess they have a new guy there trying to earn a spot so I’m sure he’ll be looking to make a name for himself. I know he had a pretty good first game and it looks like he moves a little better than MacIntyre. We’ll see what happens.”
According to Oiler head coach Dallas Eakins, his players won’t be seeking out Weise — or Kassian when he returns.
“We’re not going to look for guys who made dumb plays,” Eakins told reporters in Edmonton. “The league handled it.”
Weise, who was assessed a two-minute penalty for his hit on Hall, did fight Mike Brown after coming out of the box.
“I answered the bell,” concluded Weise.
DANNY ON MANNY: Canuck blueliner Dan Hamhuis became good buddies with Manny Malhotra when both signed with the team in the summer of 2010. They moved into the same Vancouver neighbourhood and their families became friends.
So Hamhuis was understandably pleased when Malhotra, his career in jeopardy due to his eye injury, received a 25-game American League tryout this week with the Charlotte Checkers. The Checkers are the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. Malhotra, of course, was shut down by Canuck GM Mike Gillis nine games into the lockout shortened season, feeling Malhotra was not safe on the ice due to his impaired vision. Malhotra was on an expiring contract and became an unrestricted free agent July 5.
“Obviously I’m really excited for Manny,” said Hamhuis. “He’s worked extremely hard over these last 7-8 months to put himself in a position when the opportunity came up. I know he was hoping to get a contract. Then he was hoping for an NHL tryout. Unfortunately both of these things fell through. You have to give him a lot of credit for his perseverance. So it’s great to see that now he’s got his foot in the door.”
TWINS CORNER SUITE: From Trevor Linden’s ‘Locker Room’ to Markus Naslund’s ‘Nazzy Suite’ and Roberto Luongo’s ‘Lui Crease Club’, Vancouver’s marquee players have sponsored a suite at Rogers Arena for various charitable or unprivileged groups. The Canucks announced Friday that Daniel and Henrik Sedin have taken the torch in what they are calling ‘Sedin Corner.’
The suite holds 14 people for a game and groups selected will receive free admission, free parking plus free food and beverage.
“We’ll have some input into who comes,” Daniel explained Friday. “We’ll find some people who are well-deserving. There are a lot of hard-working people who do a lot of things in the community that kind of go unnoticed. This gives us a chance to invite them to a game.”
QUOTABLE: “No offence to anybody watching but there are ebbs and flows in the game and there are times when you need to play and times where you don’t. We didn’t get used a lot but we better be ready when we do get used.” – New Canuck centre Zac Dalpe on playing just 3:19 in the season-opening 4-1 loss Thursday to San Jose.
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