Canucks notebook: Dale Weise, Zack Kassian face disciplinary hearings for head hits on Oiler forwards
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks could have a couple of holes to fill on their opening-night roster if a pair of disciplinary hearings scheduled for Monday don’t go their way.
Wingers Zack Kassian and Dale Weise will start their day with phone calls to the league office.
Kassian will be discussing his high stick late in the second period of Saturday night’s game in Edmonton that broke the jaw of Oilers centre Sam Gagner. Weise will answer questions about his hit to the head on Edmonton forward Taylor Hall in the first period.
TSN reported that the league had given Kassian the option of an in-person hearing, which opens the possibility of a suspension of more than five games. Kassian is expected to waive his right to appear in person and talk by phone with the league.
Beyond confirming that the hearings have been scheduled, Canuck coach John Tortorella had little else to say.
“I have no comment on it,” Tortorella said after Sunday’s practice at Rogers Arena. “We’ll see what happens in the hearings.”
Kassian received a double-minor for the hit on Gagner and said Sunday it was a complete accident.
“I was going to try and hit him and he stopped quick so then I kind of led with my shoulder, lost control and swung my stick and hit him in the face,” he said.
“The guy has a broken jaw and missing teeth. You don’t ever want to see that happen, but if you look at the replay it’s hard to purposely tomahawk and swing your stick and hit him in the face. I have to be better with my stick, but other than that we’ll wait and see for tomorrow. ... You never want to see that happen, especially in pre-season. Obviously my condolences are out to him. It happened, it’s part of the game.”
Weise declined to comment on his hit on Hall, for which he received a check to the head minor penalty. He did say he hopes his clean record will help him in Monday’s hearing.
“I haven’t even had a warning before,” he said. “I think that goes into play.”
BUMPS AND BRUISES: The injury bug caught up to the Canucks on the weekend. It started in Saturday’s game-day skate when winger David Booth tweaked his groin and left the ice after just five minutes. Booth had been scheduled to travel to Edmonton that afternoon and play in Saturday night’s game against the Oilers, but he’s now being kept off skates.
Tortorella said Booth is day to day and the team is hopeful he will be ready for the regular season.
“We are just trying to be careful,” he said. “We still have time here in our camp to try and get everybody healthy for the regular season.”
Centre Jordan Schroeder suffered a left foot injury when he blocked a Nail Yakupov shot during an Edmonton power play in the second period of Saturday night’s game. Tortorella said Schroeder is still being evaluated.
“He’s walking, sore, but he is going to be re-evaluated and we’ll see where it goes,” Tortorella said.
Schroeder was not wearing any kind of cast or protective boot when he was spotted walking through the Canuck dressing room Sunday.
Rookie winger Nicklas Jensen, who was a late replacement for Booth, was hurt in his first shift Saturday night when he was run into the boards. Tortorella had no update on his condition on Sunday.
Defenceman Dan Hamhuis, who did not play on Saturday night, was not at Sunday’s practice. Tortorella said Hamhuis was given a maintenance day.
“We’re just concerned about soreness these days,” Tortorella said. “He’s not hurt, he’s just a little stiff, so we’re just trying to err on (the side of) caution there and we gave him the day off.”
MR. BIG SHOT: Defenceman Jason Garrison and his big shot could not find a home on the Canuck power play last season. That figures to change under Tortorella.
Garrison was working on the first-unit power play in Sunday’s practice, which was devoted almost exclusively to special teams.
Garrison’s heavy shot is a potent weapon Tortorella said he intends to exploit.
“I like his mentality,” Tortorella said. “He is not looking to pass the puck, he’s looking to shoot the puck. I think that is a mentality that needs to get through our team in creating more offence that way. Garr is going to get an opportunity there.”
Others on the first-unit power play Sunday were Alex Edler, Ryan Kesler and Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, Zack Kassian, Kevin Bieksa and Yannick Weber worked on the second-unit power play.
ICE CHIPS: The Canucks assigned rookie centre Kellan Lain to the Utica Comets on Sunday. “We need for him to play,” Tortorella said. “He has had a decent camp.” ... Defencemen Yann Sauve and Patrick Mullen and winger Ben Ferriero were placed on waivers Sunday and figure to be reassigned if they clear.
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