Injury a worry for Foote


Colorado Avalanche defenceman Adam Foote was slated to miss Monday’s game in Anaheim.


Colorado Avalanche defenceman Adam Foote was slated to miss Monday’s game in Anaheim.

But for a short time on Saturday night after he was hit from behind by Los Angeles Kings forward John Zeiler, he was worried about his career.

“There was a flash and there was a jolt, and it was scary for a bit,” Foote told the Denver Post. “At the end of the day, we all have families. We all have the rest of our lives to live.”

Zeiler received a boarding penalty and a game misconduct on the play and on Monday was suspended by the NHL for three games without pay.

Foote was slated to undergo further tests on Monday for potential neck or back injuries.

“I think my neck’s OK. I might have a mild jolt to the head, but I don't think I have a full concussion or anything like that,” Foote said. “I just have to stay positive, and take a day or two and get re-evaluated.”

Zeiler will be eligible to return on Dec. 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Guys have to realize when a guy is in a vulnerable situation,” Foote told the Post. “It’s obviously been a problem the last couple of years, and we have to fix that. I think what happens in (Zeiler’s) situation is you’re hungry, you want to make the club and you'll do whatever it takes. In his position, his job is to get hits and stuff like that. At the same time, though, you’ve got to know when someone is in a vulnerable situation.”

Southern discomfort for Morrison

Brendan Morrison’s move south along the Pacific Coast hasn’t been such a smooth transition.

The 33-year-old centreman, who signed as a free agent with Anaheim last summer after more than seven seasons in Vancouver, has struggled to find his old form.

Morrison, who tore ligaments in his right knee last March, has scored just two goals and two assists in 21 games since signing his one-year, $2.75-million US contract in July.

On Saturday, his lacklustre play led to his name being erased from the lineup against the Dallas Stars, marking the first time since Feb. 25, 2000, that he has been a healthy scratch.

“It doesn’t sit well,” Morrison told the Los Angeles Times. “Am I upset about it? Yeah. As an athlete, the day you aren’t upset when you’re not in the lineup is the day you shouldn’t be playing the game.

“I feel I have something to contribute to the team. It’s early in the season, but it’s time to get going and start making a difference.”

Morrison had been dropped to the fourth line on Friday against the St. Louis Blues.

“We’ve seen spurts,” coach Randy Carlyle told the Times.

“He’s a half-step off. He’s frustrated with it. He puts more pressure on himself than anybody.”

Cats fire warnings

The Florida Panthers’ front office has served notice that it will do whatever it takes to turn around the team’s fortunes.

On Saturday, tough guy Wade Belak, one of the more popular Panthers, was placed on waivers.

With just three wins in their past 12 games, the move could be just the beginning for coach Pete DeBoer and general manager Jacques Martin.

“It makes you take a look in the mirror,” centre Brett McLean told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “If it happens to someone like Wade, who has done a really good job for us this year, it could happen to anybody.”

Belak has averaged a little more than four minutes of ice time in 14 games this season. He has zero points and 25 penalty minutes.

“I think everybody here should be on notice,” DeBoer told the newspaper. “Nick Boynton's been a healthy scratch, Rusty Olesz has been a healthy scratch, Wade Belak's been waived. We're not happy and the status quo isn't good enough.”

Heading into action on Monday, the Panthers were in last place in the 30-team league with a 7-11-1 record.

Sutter won’t defend player

When New Jersey Devils coach Brent Sutter’s son, Brandon, took a questionable hit to the head last month, the coach spoke his mind.

The fact that the hit from Doug Weight came against his son was irrelevant; Sutter was speaking about how he felt.

So even though he lost defenceman Mike Mottau to a two-game suspension on Friday for an elbow on New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen, Sutter didn’t disagree with the decision.

“I can’t say much. I spoke my mind before and I’ll say it again,” Sutter told the Newark Star-Ledger.

“Players have to be able to police things themselves. There are certain things that have to be handled on the ice. There has to be more respect for players. Direct shots to the head have to be (condemned). It comes down to the players to some degree.”

Sutter also went so far as to defend Islanders forward Trent Hunter, who went after Mottau after the hit and received a 10-minute misconduct for his actions.

“Hunter sits the whole period because he sticks up for a teammate. That to me is a big problem,” Sutter noted. “You’re coming to the aid of a teammate, but you get punished. I’d expect my players to do the same thing.”

Ice chips

Tampa Bay forward Ryan Malone scored on a penalty shot on Thursday against New Jersey. It was the first time an opposing player had scored against the Devils on a penalty shot since Nov. 24, 1999, when Anaheim defenceman Fredrik Olausson connected. . . . New York Islanders left-winger Mitch Fritz took in Sunday’s Grey Cup game in Montreal. Fritz’s brother, Luke, is a six-foot-six, 310-pound offensive tackle with the Montreal Alouettes.

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