First, defenseman Keith Ballard has been released from Regions Hospital. He suffered multiple facial fractures and a concussion when hit by Matt Martin of the Islanders last night. Doctors will wait until the swelling subsides before determining if surgery is necessary.
Second, defenseman Marco Scandella has a phone hearing tonight with the NHL following his second illegal check to the head penalty in 10 days.
Scandella caught Brock Nelson in the head late in last night's 5-4 win over the Islanders. On Nov. 29, Scandella was assessed an illegal check to T.J. Oshie's head and fined without a hearing.
Clearly, Scandella hates former Warroad High players that went to the University of North Dakota and is from Roseau, not Montreal.
Two penalties like this so close together was an all but guaranteed league discipline. Checks to the head usually result in two-game suspensions on a first offense. We shall see. A decision will be made tonight by the NHL, I am told.
Scandella flew with the Wild to San Jose, which has a storm of the century coming tomorrow, by the way. I have some serious travel problems today due to weather in the Bay Area, so if I don't make practice, I'll update the blog later after I get availability with players and coach Mike Yeo at the team hotel in San Jose -- assuming I make it out there.
The Wild has recalled Justin Falk to replace Ballard.
I am told no discipline for Martin. I think it was a needless, reckless hit, but often in this case, when a player turns to dodge a check the way Ballard did, the onus is now on him and that turn at last second is viewed as contributing to the incident and injury. I still feel it was a run and late, but the fact Martin looks to escape discipline doesn't surprise me. The league, which has the technology that I don't, says the hit was .5 seconds after Ballard gave up the puck. .7 or more is considered late, as I wrote in last month's Department of Player Safety feature here. It's also not considered a charge, I'm told, because he comes off the ice after contact and rides up Ballard.