Around the NHL: Tom Wilson suspended for six games, future first overall pick Macklin Celebrini nominated for the Hobey Baker award, and more!

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski - USA Today
Brennan Delaney
19 days ago
It’s a busy time of year.
With the post-season starting in less than a month, you know that teams will be looking to re-add players to the lineup. Moreover, there’s a fairly lengthy suspension we’ll cover, while that player’s teammate is chasing down a record.
Let’s dig into the latest edition of Around the NHL.

Tom Wilson suspended

You knew it was coming. On Wednesday, Tom Wilson swung his stick and hit Noah Gregor in the face. He showed remorse… maybe, but the National Hockey League cracked down on him regardless, giving him a six-game suspension.
This is tied for the longest suspension this season, with the other one coming from David Perron in December. Unlike Perron who had no prior history, this is Wilson’s sixth suspension of his career.
It’s sad, because he’s a physical force that is able to pot 20 goals and 50 points, similar to how Brad Marchand was prior to cleaning up his game for the most part. It also hurts the Washington Capitals, as they are in the midst of a playoff race and sit one game back of the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild card spot.

Alex Ovechkin’s chase for the goal record

In that same game, Alex Ovechkin scored twice to give him 23 goals for the season and 845 goals for his career. In the same game, Auston Matthews scored three goals to bring his total to 57 goals for the season, but that’s not important.
In the following game, a 7-6 barn burner between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals, Ovechkin scored on the power play to give him 24 goals for the season and 846 in his career. This means he’s just 49 goals shy of Wayne Gretzky’s record for most goals in a career.
There are several other things worth mentioning in this game. In overtime, Hurricanes’ netminder Pyotr Kochetkov kicked out his foot, tripping John Carlson. We’ll see if anything comes of it.
The other thing worth mentioning is that Sonny Milano scored his first career hat trick, including this fantastic goal that showcased his hand-eye coordination.

Sean Couturier returns to the lineup

Prior to Saturday’s game, Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Sean Couturier was healthy scratched for the Flyers’ two prior games, a 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
It’s a bold decision for Flyers’ head coach John Tortorella to sit the captain, but Tortorella is known for treating his players all the same regardless of where they stand in the team’s leadership. And honestly, it works, as this is not the first time Tortorella has taken a team that was supposed to be not very good to a playoff team. Columbus was another good example back in the mid 10’s.
Couturier was suffering from a back injury, as he missed all of last season as well as only playing 29 games during the 2021-22 season. The 31-year-old centre returned to the lineup in 2023-24 and has 11 goals and 36 points, and was named as the Flyers 20th captain in franchise history on Valentine’s Day 2024.

Vincent Desharnais returns from injury

The Calgary Flames’ provincial rival will be stronger on Saturday, as the Edmonton Oilers will have Vincent Desharnais return to the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Desharnais twisted his hand in a fight against Josh Manson last Saturday, missing two games that the Oilers won. Funnily enough, Manson is the son of Dave Manson, who was the Oilers assistant coach to begin the season.
It’s safe to say that Desharnais has become an important piece to the Oilers’ back-end this season, as the 27-year-old has a goal and nine points in 63 games this year while killing penalties and shutting down opposition well.
The Oilers have noticed the strides he has made and has put him on the second pairing alongside Darnell Nurse, while dropping Cody Ceci to the third pairing to play with former Calgary Flame, Brett Kulak.

Macklin Celebrini nominated for the Hobey Baker

It’s not a matter of “if”, heck, it’s not even a matter of “when” Celebrini will be picked first overall. On June 28, 2024, the team that picks first overall is pretty much guaranteed to select Macklin Celebrini.
Now, he’s no Connor Bedard, but Celebrini is still an exciting talent nonetheless. This season as a 17-year-old in the NCAA, Celebrini scored 30 goals and 58 points in 34 games with Boston University. Celebrini finished second in goals and third in points, again, he is 17. He was named as NCAA’s Player of the Year as well as their Rookie of the Year.
On top of that, Celebrini was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, the annual trophy given to the best player in the NCAA.
It’ll be interesting to see where Celebrini lands.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
Was it a legal hit? Will the NHL hand out a suspension? How does the appeal process work? Who is the heavyweight champ? Every Tuesday, Ryan Pinder & former NHLer Jay Rosehill are in your Department of Discipline. Tune in to catch their takes on some of the most scrutinized parts of hockey. Check it out and subscribe to catch the latest episodes!

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