Sports

What we learned in the NHL: Dennis Wideman's appeal of suspension will be heard Wednesday

What we learned over the past week in the NHL:

• Dennis Wideman's appeal of his 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson will be heard Wednesday in New York. A key issue: whether a concussion Wideman suffered on a previous play should lessen his punishment because it might have affected his judgment when he cross-checked the unsuspecting official.

The concussion spotter on duty reportedly told the Calgary bench Wideman showed signs of a concussion but Wideman insisted on continuing. That's a huge flaw in the system.

Concussion spotters should be trained medical personnel, and any player they identify as possibly having a concussion should be obligated to follow concussion protocol. If Commissioner Gary Bettman reduces the punishment but it's still more than six games, Wideman can appeal to a neutral arbitrator.

• The Minnesota Wild continues to sink. General Manager Chuck Fletcher said last week that Coach Mike Yeo's job is safe, but the team plunged further out of a West wild-card spot with a 4-1 loss at St. Louis on Saturday, a game in which it allowed the Blues to score three power-play goals. The Wild is 0-4-1 in its last five and 1-9-1 in its last 11, with no end in sight to its woes.

• Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins has come alive after a slow start. He extended his points streak to 11 games Monday and has 12 goals and 22 points in that span. He also passed 900 career points, needing the 11th-fewest games (677) to get there.

• Edmonton's Connor McDavid has picked up where he left off before he broke his collarbone in November. Last year's No. 1 draft pick has two goals and six points in four games since his return, including a highlight-reel goal against Columbus.

But the Oilers were outscored, 13-2, by Montreal and the New York Islanders on Saturday and Sunday, highlighting how far they still are from being a playoff team because of their play in net and on defense. McDavid, 19, has seven goals and 18 points in 17 games.

• Monday was a big day for the Winnipeg Jets, who signed defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year extension with an average annual value of $7.6 million. He will be 31 next month, but he's the heart of that team because of his size, skill, and scoring from the back line. Look for the Jets to trade potential unrestricted free-agent winger Andrew Ladd before the Feb. 29 deadline.

• Washington winger Alexander Ovechkin on Sunday became the third player to score 30 goals in each of his first 11 NHL seasons. Mike Gartner (15) and Wayne Gretzky (13) also did so.

• New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh was ruled out indefinitely because of a concussion he suffered when he was punched by Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds on Saturday.

• St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (knee) will be out at least three weeks. He ranked fourth in time on ice at 26 minutes 40 seconds per game.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on February 09, 2016, in the Sports section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "WHAT WE LEARNED" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
71°