Pierre-Marc Bouchard's appeal of a two-game suspension for high-sticking Matt Calvert was denied Monday by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The Minnesota Wild forward was suspended after clipping Calvert in the mouth during a faceoff in Saturday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Video appeared to show Calvert lifted Bouchard's stick and injured himself but league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan took a different view and issued a two-game ban.
"His reckless swing, regardless of where it was intended, did in fact cause an injury to an opponent," Shanahan said.
Bouchard's agent, Allan Walsh, blasting the disciplinary process while questioning the ruling.
"What message is Brendan Shanahan sending with this unwarranted suspension?," Walsh said to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "All perennial Lady Byng candidates should now be on notice that when an opponent high sticks himself in the mouth, he can expect a minimum suspension of two regular season NHL games. This result is a shameful farce for the league.
"All in all, these 20 minute disciplinary hearings are nothing more than kangaroo courts. More league effort goes into writing scripts and producing slick videos than in getting to the real facts of what occurred on the ice."
OH NO, OHLUND
Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Mattias Ohlund will have arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday.
Ohlund, who has been on injured reserve since the regular season started and hasn't been on skates since Sept. 30, will have both knees operated on. A report by the St. Petersburg Times says Lightning coach Guy Boucher confirmed that Ohlund would go under the knife and be out at least a month.
It's the second year in a row that Ohlund has missed time at the start of the season because of wonky knees. He didn't play in the first eight games in 2010-11.
"We missed him the first month and a half of the year (last season), and it looks like we're going to miss him for the first month and a half, two months of the year," Boucher told the Times. "So it hurts because what it does, we have to put (Victor) Hedman against the top lines, not that he can't do the job, he's been our best defenceman.
"All I know is we've got a guy that plays against the top lines that we don't have. And you can't replace that. It really puts a major hole in you're lineup and we've got a major hole in our lineup."
Ohlund had no goals and just five assists in 72 games last season but anchored Tampa's top defensive pairing with Hedman.
EX-SABRE JOINS JACKALS
Former Buffalo Sabres captain Craig Rivet skipped the ECHL on his way up to the NHL but that's the league he'll play in as he attempts to reboot his career.
Rivet, an unrestricted free agent who didn't get a sniff from NHL teams, signed with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL Monday. It's a long way from the ECHL to the NHL but Rivet doesn't see himself as being too good to play in the lower-level minor league.
"It's not the level, it's the competition," Rivet said on NHL.com. "I know that the competition here is still high, there's a lot of hungry guys that want to move to the next level and that's what's exciting for me. It's not like I'm coming down here and playing against guys of (no) calibre. These guys can play hockey. It's exciting for me to be here where I can further my career."
Rivet, a third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1992, has 50 goals and 187 assists in 923 games with four NHL teams.
A week after sending him back to junior, the Florida Panther signed first-round pick Jonathan Huberdeau to an entry-level contract Monday.
Huberdeau, who was returned to the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL on Oct. 3, was the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft. He had three goals in five preseason games but the Panthers decided to send the 6-foot-1, 171-pound centre back to Saint John.
"He made that an extremely tough decision for us, given his maturity as a person and his play," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen told NHL.com. "At this time, he still has some physical maturing to do and that is better suited at the junior level."
Despite being signed, Huberdeau can't play for the Panthers this season except under emergency situations.
Short on healthy defencemen, the Montreal Canadiens instead called up forward Aaron Palushaj from the Hamilton Bulldogs Monday.
Palushaj, sent to Hamilton on less than a week ago, had one goal and three assists in five preseason games with the Canadiens. He had a pair of assists in Hamilton's season-opening win over Rochester.
With forward Mike Cammalleri out for a couple weeks with a cut on his leg, Palushaj will likely be in the lineup when the Habs play Calgary Thursday.