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NHL Notebook: Flames’ Jacob Markstrom reportedly approved trade to Devils and Morgan Rielly suspended for five games for exacting ‘retribution’ on Senators’ Ridly Greig

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
2 months ago
As trade talks around the league continue to percolate, the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils have reportedly been talking about a massive move that could send goaltender Jacob Markstrom out east.
Late last week and into the weekend, the two sides had been talking about a deal centred around Markstrom, but according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, those fizzled out due to potential salary constraints.
But on Tuesday, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli was on the Morning Cuppa Hockey show and reported talks had gotten so advanced that he thinks Markstrom waived his no-movement clause to head to New Jersey.
I think the Devils and Flames were pretty far down the track on Markstrom’s deal. I think it did get to his level to approve it, I think there were no issues there, and I think somehow, somewhere along the way, that trade was scuttled. Don’t know how, don’t know why, but they were pretty close to nailing it down. You would’ve seen Jacob Markstrom become a New Jersey Devil I think at some point last week.
Again, I don’t know what happened, but there was a lot going on and I guess the next thing for me when it comes to answering the Markstrom question, is one: Can this be revisited? Probably not based on the way it played out. And two: Now what? Is there another team that would be willing to step up and pay what would be a pretty significant price in order for Calgary to reshape their goaltending scenario. They have to do it anyway, because they have (Dustin) Wolf.
For New Jersey, the key part of getting Markstrom is not just that he’s played really well, but that he has term. What New Jersey needs, really more than anything, is stability. They need to nail down their goalie situation, and just set it and forget it, not talk about it the next couple years. That’s what Markstrom would’ve provided, and that’s why he’s such an attractive option. How many other teams are really in the market for that kind of term?
Markstrom, 34, has had an excellent season in Calgary, posting a 17-14-2 record, .916 save percentage and 2.5 GAA. He’s saved 32.6 goals above expected, according to Evolving Hockey, the highest number in the entire league. Markstrom has undoubtedly won the Flames a number of games this year, and for a team that is selling off assets, that’s not always the best thing.

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Five games for Rielly

After days of discourse, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has finally ruled on Morgan Rielly’s cross check to Ridly Greig, suspending the Leafs defenceman for five games.
The incident leading to the ban happened on Saturday night, when Greig took a slapshot into an empty Leafs net with seconds left on the board. None too happy, Rielly raced after Greig, laying a crosscheck to the rookie’s head, something the league called “an intentional, forceful strike to an opponent’s head, using the stick as a weapon to exact retribution well after a goal has been scored.”
While Rielly was offered an in-person hearing in New York, he was unable to attend due to a storm in the area.
“It is important to note that there are a number of factors that separate this play from other crosschecking violations elevating the incident to merit this level of supplemental discipline,” the league said in a video describing the suspension. “This is not a case of two players mutually jousting where both players could reasonably suspect escalating contact or for both player’s sticks to come up high.
“This is also not an inadvertent or accidental use of the stick while leveraging for body position or for other hockey purposes. This play occurs well after the goal is scored, late in the game with the score out of reach, and for the sole purpose of retribution.
“While we recognize Rielly’s argument that his stick does make some contact with Greig’s body before striking Greig in the head, this is not a case in which a stick is raised to an excusable level is significantly deflected up and into the head and neck area.
“Rielly pursues Greig for sometime, and has sufficient opportunity to engage him in a different manner, or ensure this crosscheck is delivered solely to the body. Instead, fully in control of this play at all times, Rielly chooses to raise his stick to the level of Greig’s head and neck, approaching from the side and delivering a forceful strike to the face with his stick well after the goal is scored.
“In short, this is not a hockey play. This is an intentional, forceful strike to an opponent’s head, using the stick as a weapon to exact retribution well after a goal has been scored.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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