Report: No discipline for Nathan Horton


Report: No discipline for Nathan Horton

By Joe Haggerty

BEDFORD It appears Nathan Horton -- and the Boston Bruins -- dodged a bullet Thursday afternoon.

The St. Petersburg Times reported on Twitter that Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, said there will be no punishment for either Horton or the Tampa Bay Lightning for end-of-the-game incidents after Game 6 in Tampa Wednesday night.

"Based on what I know now, I don't expect any action of any kind," Daly wrote in an e-mail to the Times Thursday.

Horton appeared to spray a Tampa Bay Lightning fan with a water bottle from the bench, and then toss the water bottle at the fan, as he stalked down the runway. The league has handed down suspensions during the playoffs in the past for water-bottle incidents with fans. Horton took a roughing penalty after engaging in a tussle with Nate Thompson at the end of regulation. That incident, and the end of the game, prompted fans to shower rally devices -- noisemakers that were handed out by the team prior to the game -- onto the ice as the players were attempting to get to the dressing room.
Versus cameras showed David Krejci getting bonked in the head area with at least a couple of the noise-making devices, and video footage compiled by Tampa Bay Lightning writer Mike Corcoran shows Horton losing his cool as he stepped off the ice. The footage is grainy and inconclusive as to exactly what happened, but it appears to show Horton spraying a hard-charging Tampa Bay fan with a water bottle, and then tossing the bottle into the stands at the excitable spectator. There was no further trouble, as security held back the fan and Horton went to the dressing room.
There is past history for NHL playoff discipline toward players or coaches in water-bottle incidents. Rangers coach John Tortorella was suspended during the 2009 playoffs for one game after spraying and then throwing a water bottle at a particularly crazed fan. It was two years ago, but in a nice piece of digging by Pro Hockey Talks Joe Yerdon, here is NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbells reasoning at the time for suspending Tortorella for a playoff game:While it is a difficult decision to suspend a coach at this point in a playoff series, it has been made clear to all of our players, coaches and other bench personnel that the National Hockey League cannot and will not tolerate any physical contact with fans. We do not take this action lightly.Wednesday's incident underscores how chaotic the atmosphere was on the St. Pete Times Forum ice at the end of the game. Handing hockey fans potential projectiles as they walk into a playoff atmosphere has proven ill-advised time and time again, but the Lighting once again stepped into a mess harboring an unsafe environment for the players on the ice.Horton got off the team plane at Hanscom Air Field along with the rest of his teammates on Thursday afternoon, but wasnt made available for comment.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains


Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while suffering from the same “general soreness” as Tuukka Rask.

*The Arizona Coyotes are suffering from growing pains that were extremely evident during a winless road trip.

*Steve Dangle is obviously jacked and pumped about his Maple Leafs, but wondering about the future of Roman Polak. But aren’t we all at this point?

*Old friends Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg both scored the victorious Islanders in a Friday night win.

*Clarke MacArthur isn’t ready to retire even as concussion issues are really starting to impact his ability to stay on the ice.

*Teemu Selanne gives fellow Finn Patrick Laine a thumbs up as he was in town for events with his former Winnipeg Jets.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details on noted Bruins killer Dale Weise getting suspended for three games after some dirty activity with the Philadelphia Flyers.

*For something completely different: Geoff Edgers has been trying to reach Bill Murray for weeks, and here’s what happened when he finally called back.


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play

BRIGHTON, Mass. – One area where the Bruins are looking for more after a mostly positive first four regular-season games: the power play.

The B’s are a downright gross 1-for-14 on the man-advantage to start the season and were 0-for-4 on Thursday night while squeaking out a last-minute win over the New Jersey Devils. The early-season 7.1 percent success rate doesn’t have them last in the NHL, but only the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames have performed at a lower PP clip.

It’s a subject that Claude Julien knew was coming from the B’s media, and so he was ready to answer for it ahead of Saturday night’s rivalry renewal with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before that question came. It is what it is. I think we had some opportunities, but we haven’t finished,” said Julien. “At the end of the day our power play is judged by whether you score or not, and I thought our second period [vs. the Devils] wasn’t great. But our third period had some really good power plays, but we didn’t manage to score.

“Where we need to get to right now [on the power play], is to find a way to finish. There’s no doubt the absence of Patrice Bergeron there brings somebody else in, and maybe there’s not as much chemistry as we’re used to. But I think with him back now we can even be better, and get a little more movement…not be so stagnant. When we struggle a bit it’s because we’re a little stagnant, and we need to get a little better there.”

Quite a bit of the struggles go back to Bergeron missing the first three games of the season and the top power-play unit missing No. 37 from his trademark bumper role at the center of the PP action. The power play remained scoreless as the unit adjusted to Bergeron's return on Thursday night, but it seemed that things started to click a little bit as that game went on.

“It’s not moving right now. We’ll just work through it. There were times last year where it let us down, and there were times last year where it helped us through some tough moments,” said Torey Krug of the PP. “Right now we’re able to play through it, but at some point this team is going to need this PP to step up and score some goals. We rely on that, and the guys on the power play take a lot of pride in it.

“[Bergeron] does a lot of things for us. Instead of me having to go all the way to the other end to break the puck out where I’m losing 20 seconds and frankly it’s tiring to break the puck out, now we have him winning face-offs and we’re starting with the puck in the zone. That’s a big thing, and he collects puck like nobody else in the league. With him back on the power play it brings another important player to the forefront, but it’s a five man unit and when everything’s working out there [on the PP] we have a good unit.”

Now with Ryan Spooner expected to rejoin the B’s lineup, after being healthy scratch vs. New Jersey, that adds another dangerous power-play weapon that practiced with that unit on Saturday morning ahead of the traditional morning skate. The hope is that installing Bergeron and Spooner will help kick-start a special teams unit that’s been less than explosive, and not quite cohesive, in the first four games of the season.