Eberle’s head feels ‘fine’ after Torres hit
Canuck faces discipline for rocking Oil rookie
My head’s fine . . . maybe there’s nothing there Jordan EbErlE
Jordan Eberle’s head survived Raffi Torres’s elbow Tuesday but the Vancouver Canucks winger will likely be hurting in the pocketbook after the National Hockey League home office requested a phone disciplinary hearing for today in the aftermath of the sneaky wallop.
The Edmonton Oilers rookie said he had survived harder hits before and he played on after going down for a few seconds after the Torres check late in the Oilers’ 2-0 win Tuesday at Rexall Place, but he didn’t like it.
“I thought I was vulnerable reaching for the puck and he blindsided me a bit,” said Eberle, who didn’t have any ill-effects the day after the check.
No headache, no dizziness, no sore neck or whiplash, something that often hits players afterwards. He was ready to play against the Flames on Wednesday night, nothing but a bruise on the left side of his temple, maybe from his helmet. When he was down on the ice, the Oilers’ medical staff didn’t feel he warranted a trip to a quiet room to be examined by a doctor.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a concussion. My head’s fine . . . maybe there’s nothing in there,” joked Eberle, who may not miss any of the final three games, but Torres might sit out both of the Canucks’ final two games, against Minnesota and Calgary.
Usually, a phone hearing results in a one or two-game suspension. If it’s face-to-face with the NHL’s Lord of Discipline Colin Campbell, it’s often a worse penalty for the aggressor, so Torres may dodge a bullet. The fact Eberle wasn’t injured also has a bearing on a phone or personal hearing.
While Ryan O’Marra raced in to fight Torres afterward, Calgary coach Brent Sutter feels the Torres hit caught the Oilers’ rookie in a vulnerable position.
“He’s reaching for the puck. His head’s down, but of course it’s going to be when you’re reaching, and he gets a hit from the side that he can’t see,” said Sutter.
He firmly feels players have to be more accountable for their actions; it’s changed from when he broke into the league in the early 1980s with the New York Islanders.
“I remember my first year, I caught Boston’s Rick Middleton with my elbow and he didn’t have a helmet on. Rick’s head hit the glass. Thank God, he got up and was fine, but when I got back to our bench, I was sitting between Clark Gillies and Bobby Nystrom . . . they didn’t wear helmets, either. Nothing was said, but I knew what they were thinking. I got the message (from his own teammates) not to do it again,” said Sutter.
“Next faceoff, I got waved out, lined up on the wing and Terry O’Reilly skated over and lined up beside me. He said to me, ‘Brent, I’m going to let you go on this one, but this is something you don’t do at this level,’ ’’ said Sutter. “It wasn’t something I was intentionally trying to do to Middleton, but I got him with my elbow and like I said, his head hit the glass. I respected what Terry said to me.”
Did he ever do anything to tick off O’Reilly later in his career? So he dropped his gloves?
“You kidding? I was a little smarter than that,” joked Sutter.
Jokinen gives nod
to fellow Finn
Flames centre Olli Jokinen likes what he sees in his Finnish counterpart, rookie Oilers winger Teemu Hartikainen.
“He’s from the same hometown as me. He impresses me, strong kid, protects the puck well. He wins most of his battles, a good sign for a young player. Usually, the first year playing in North America, you are a little bit weak, but he was playing against men (Finnish Elite League),” said Jokinen. “There aren’t many new, young Finnish players in the league (Hartikainen is the first one born in the 1990s to make it to the NHL).
“We need them to be impact guys,’’ said Jokinen.
Gilbert misses Battle of Alberta
Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert didn’t make the trip to Calgary, missing a second straight game with a sore back after playing 332 in a row.
Andrew Cogliano now is the team Ironman, playing his 326th straight Wednesday. He’s never missed an NHL game in his four seasons.
Taylor Chorney, who hadn’t played in a month since spraining his knee in Denver on Feb. 23, dressed in Gilbert’s spot.
He was out on the ice for a threeman optional skate (goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and winger Steve MacIntyre) Wednesday morning at the Saddledome while the rest of the squad had a team meeting.