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Edmonton Oilers forward Boyd Gordon (USA TODAY)

Edmonton Oilers forward Boyd Gordon


Duhatschek: The Oilers continue to search for an identity Add to ...

This part is true. GMs can complain all they want about how a lot of the hits earning suspensions now would have passed muster before – and they’d be correct. It’d be a fun exercise to see discipline chief Brendan Shanahan review about a dozen of Scott Stevens’s hits from the 1990s to see if they would result in discipline now.

The point is, with concussion awareness increasing, the NHL is trying to shift the line and weed out the headhunters - the players who are only employed because of their ability to launch predatory hits at unsuspecting opponents. The number of truly bad apples is extremely low, but the entire league takes on the brunt of negative publicity every time a John Scott launches himself at a Louie Eriksson and gets a seven-game suspension as a result.

Regier, meanwhile, thinks some time outside of the spotlight will do Kaleta some good: “I really believe he can change. He’s 27 and he has the ability to do that and be an effective player in the NHL.”

THIS AND THAT: The Los Angeles Kings will be without Jeff Carter for a couple of weeks, with an undisclosed lower body injury, which gave them a chance to call up two of the premier prospects, Tyler Toffoli and Linden Vey. Toffoli played in Saturday’s loss to the Nashville Predators, but not without enduring a roundabout travel day to L.A. on Friday, the result of the closure of LAX because of a shooting. Under the circumstances, coach Darryl Sutter thought Toffoli played pretty well in his first outing. Toffoli had a cameo with the Kings last year, but Sutter is old-school when it comes to player development, and prefers to see the youngsters in the organization putting in time in the minor leagues … Calgary made a goaltending switch on the weekend, putting back-up Joey MacDonald on waivers after a bad outing in Friday night’s loss to his ex-team, the Red Wings. Instead, the Flames called up Reto Berra from their minor-league affiliate in Abbotsford and gave him the start in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. Talk about a baptism under fire. For the immediate future, the Flames will go with Berra and Kari Ramo between the pipes. Calgary has fallen off after a fast start, but it is largely a function of poor goaltending and injuries to two key players, defenceman Mark Giordano and forward Lee Stempniak. Berra came over from the St. Louis Blues in the Jay Bouwmeester trade. Flames’ coach Bob Hartley likes him, and had a chance to see him play close up in the Swiss league two years ago.

AND FINALLY: New York Rangers’ prospect Chris Kreider failed to make the team out of training camp, but he was recalled after injuries sidelined two other top-six forwards, Rick Nash (concussion) and Ryan Callahan (broken thumb). Coach Alain Vigneault put Kreider and Mats Zuccarello on a line with Derek Stepan and it paid dividends Saturday, when Stepan scored a hat trick and his linemates earned assists on all three goals. Those were Stepan’s first goals of the season – and his second career hat trick. The first came in his NHL debut. The Rangers are slowly emerging from their early-season slow start, having won four of the past five to raise their record to 6-7. The fact that the Rangers play in the NHL’s poorest division, the Metropolitan, is keeping them very much alive in the playoff race … Phoenix has had a couple of real clunkers so far this season, but overall, the Coyotes are 10-3-2, which represents their best start since the 2000-01 season. Phoenix has won four in a row and has points in 11 of their past 12 games. Mike Smith, a candidate for Canada’s Olympic team in net, had another strong night, stopping 48 shots against the San Jose Sharks Saturday in a game they eventually won in a shootout.

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