Canucks’ Gudbranson to have hearing for boarding Bruins’ Vatrano

Vancouver Canucks blue-liner Erik Gudbranson will have a hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety regarding his hit from behind on Boston Bruins pivot Frank Vatrano.

Here is a clip of the play in question:

Gudbranson was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct on the play. As for Vatrano, he left the contest for a short time, but was later seen on the Bruins' bench.

No official update on his status was provided at the time.

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Ranking the best rookie performances from Thursday night

Much like the rest of professional North American sports, hockey is quickly becoming a "young man's game." And, after the outstanding performances from a crop of rookies Thursday night, that growing trend is becoming more evident with each passing game.

Due to the volume of stellar showings - three players got their first career NHL goals - we thought it was fitting to put together a list, ranking all of the solo standouts.

Here's Thursday's best rookie performances:

No. 6 - Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Yamamoto may still be waiting for his first NHL goal, but that isn't stopping him from fitting right in playing on Connor McDavid's wing. The diminutive rook has impressed so far and he continued that progression Thursday night.

While his assist on Patrick Maroon's goal was nice, it was Yamamoto's skating and patience with the puck that impressed the most.

The Oilers have been looking for someone to slot in on McDavid's line, and by the looks of it, Yamamoto is fitting the bill quite nicely. The rookie has three points in five games to start his career.

No. 5 - Matthew Barzal, New York Islanders

Potentially the most underrated rookie on this list, Barzal had one of the nicer goals of the night with this beauty play against the Ottawa Senators.

Barzal, 20, also threw three shots on net and logged a respectable 18:03 of ice time, sixth-most among Islanders forwards.

The goal was Barzal's first of his career, but if he keeps rushing the puck like that, expect a lot more from the former first-round draft pick.

No. 4 - Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning

Apparently, scoring his first career NHL goal wasn't enough for Sergachev on this night, as the 19-year-old rearguard provided all the offense Tampa Bay would need by netting two goals.

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Sergachev was acquired in the offseason for Jonathan Drouin in a much-talked about trade with the Montreal Canadiens, which, as of now, has worked out very well in the Lightning's favor - in eight games so far this season, Sergachev has two goals and four assists.

Regardless, the young Russian's offensive performance Thursday night was outstanding, earning him the fourth spot on this list.

No. 3 - Alex Kerfoot, Colorado Avalanche

Another rookie forward having a huge night was Kerfoot, as the Avalanche pivot had a three-point game, including two goals.

Kerfoot was arguably Colorado's best player Thursday, continuing his hot start to the campaign. The 23-year-old Vancouver native now has five points in eight games.

No. 2 - Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils

They may not have been pretty, but a two-goal night is still something to be proud of. Especially if you're a teenager and they were the first two tallies of your career.

Such was the case for Hischier, as he scored two goals and added an assist in the winning effort for New Jersey.

Hischier and the first-place Devils have been one of the better stories to start the year, as the rookie phenom now has seven points in as many games.

No. 1 - Anders Bjork, Boston Bruins

Bjork scored twice, added an assist, and finished as the game's second star while only logging 12:29 of ice time - not too shabby for a guy who was drafted 146th overall by the Bruins in 2014.

Here's a look at his second goal of the night:

Boston may have been dealt a raw hand to start the year, as the team is dealing with injuries to multiple key players, but if depth guys like Bjork can continue to produce, the Bruins could be in the mix for one of the final two Eastern Conference playoff spots when April rolls around.

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3 things we learned from Bergeron’s season debut

Patrice Bergeron's season debut came not a day too soon for the Boston Bruins.

After beginning the season with a record of 2-3-0 without Bergeron in the lineup, the Bruins welcomed him back from an undisclosed lower-body injury for Thursday's game against the Vancouver Canucks

On a day it was announced goaltender Tuukka Rask will be sidelined with a concussion, this club needed a boost, and Bergeron brought just that in a 6-3 win.

Here are three things we learned from his season debut.

Sparking the offense

In just shy of 21 minutes of ice time, Bergeron recorded one goal and three assists with six shots on goal. The four-point performance was the fourth of his career and second of 2017, according to Hockey Reference.

Two points came on the power play while two came at even strength, and the Bruins certainly seemed energized by his presence on the ice.

Locking down the defense

Bergeron won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward last season, an award he's taken home in three of the past four years. And as one might expect, his defensive acumen was on full display against the Canucks.

Bergeron was credited with a takeaway without once giving away the puck, and, according to, he recorded a Corsi For rating of 65.96 in all situations (61.54 at even strength), meaning he was on the ice for many more shot attempts by the Bruins than from the Canucks.

He was on the ice for a power-play goal scored by Thomas Vanek, but we'll give him a pass because Vanek always scores against the Bruins.

Boosting Bjork

In recent years, Bergeron has played a big part in helping David Pastrnak reach star status for the Bruins. And on Thursday, he similarly helped elevate the game of promising rookie forward Anders Bjork.

Bjork - who bumped Rask in practice to cause his concussion - was boosted by the best game of his young career, scoring two goals and adding an assist. Bergeron drew the primary assist on Bjork's first goal, and the two later teamed up to assist on a goal by Brad Marchand.

All in all, Bergeron's debut could not have gone any better, and the Bruins will need his A-game in order to challenge for a playoff spot once again this season.

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Laich after signing with Kings: ‘Don’t ever give up on your dreams’

"Resiliency rules the world."

That was the message tweeted out by Brooks Laich after he signed a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

The veteran forward had been skating with the club following a professional tryout in training camp, and signed after a spot on the roster opened up due an injury suffered by Jeff Carter.

Laich's contract is two-way in nature, meaning he could end up in the AHL at some point later this season. For now, though, he appears set to play in his first NHL game since April 9, 2016 as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, to whom he was traded that season by the Washington Capitals.

The 34-year-old scored one goal and added eight assists in 27 games for Toronto's AHL club last season.

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Gionta, Malone among U.S. Olympic hopefuls named for Deutschland Cup

Former NHLers Brian Gionta and Ryan Malone are among the players named to Team USA's roster for the upcoming Deutschland Cup.

The tournament, which takes place in Germany in November, will be used as a scouting opportunity for Team USA to piece together its lineup that will compete in Pyeongchang as part of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

"The Deutschland Cup for us is a little bit to find some separation of these guys, whether that's pure pace of play or performance," Team USA general manager Jim Johannson told Stephen Whyno of the The Associated Press.

In April, the NHL announced it would not make the trip to the next Olympics after attending the previous five Games, beginning in Nagano, Japan in 1998. With NHL players unavailable, competing nations have been left to build their rosters with players toiling in Europe, minor leaguers on AHL-only contracts, and college and junior players.

Gionta, 38, remains an unsigned free agent, but has been practicing with the Rochester Americans, the Buffalo Sabres' minor-league club, in preparation for the Olympics.

Malone, 37, secured a spot with the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate in Iowa after failing to land a job with the big-league club out of training camp. Malone last skated in the NHL in 2015.

Here's the full roster:

Position Player Team (League) Home State
F Ryan Stoa Spartak (KHL) Minnesota
F Mark Arcobello Bern (Swiss-A) Connecticut
F Chad Kolarik Mannheim (DEL) Pennsylvania
F Andy Miele Malmo (SHL) Michigan
F Brian O'Neill Jokerit (KHL) Pennsylvania
F Brian Gionta Free Agent New York
F Jim Slater Fribourg-Gotteron (Swiss-A) Michigan 
F Dan Sexton Nizhnekamsk (KHL) Minnesota
F Broc Little Davos (Swiss-A) Arizona
F Sean Backman Berlin (DEL) New York
F Drew Shore Zurich (Swiss-A) Colorado
F Ryan Malone Iowa (AHL) Pennsylvania
F Ryan Lasch Frolunda (SHL) California
F Robbie Earl Biel (Swiss-A) Illinois
F Garrett Roe EV (Swiss-A) Virginia
D Chad Billins Linkopings (SHL) Michigan
D Bobby Sanguinetti Lugano (Swiss-A) New Jersey
D Tom Gilbert Nuremberg (DEL) Minnesota
D Ryan Gunderson Brynas (SHL) Pennsylvania
D Noah Welch Malmo (SHL) Massachusetts
D Matt Gilroy Jokerit (KHL) New York
D Jonathan Blum Vladivostok (KHL) California
D Matt Donovan Frolunda (SHL) Oklahoma
D Mark Stuart Mannheim (DEL) Minnesota
D Dylan Reese HV71 (SHL) Pennsylvania
D Mike Lundin Jokerit (KHL) Minnesota
G Ryan Zapolski Jokerit (KHL) Pennsylvania
G Brandon Maxwell Mlada Boleslav (Czech) Canadian
G David Leggio Munich (DEL) New York

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Bruins’ Bergeron makes season debut vs. Canucks

On the heels of losing their No. 1 goalie to a concussion, the Boston Bruins have their top centerman back in the lineup, as Patrice Bergeron is making his 2017-18 debut Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Related: Bruins' Rask diagnosed with concussion

Bergeron, who underwent offseason hernia surgery, had been dealing with a lower-body injury that had kept him out of action for the start of this season.

Forward David Backes also makes his 2017-18 debut Thursday, as the forward has finally recovered from a bout of diverticulitis.

While the Bruins have struggled out of the gate, the return of Bergeron and Backes are two big additions to Boston's forward group and will go a long way in helping the Bruins turn their season around.

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Kings sign Forbort to 2-year extension

The Los Angeles Kings have signed defenseman Derek Forbort to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Thursday.

The deal carries a cap hit worth $2.525 million per season.

Forbort has appeared in all six games this year, picking up two assists. The 25-year-old finished last season with 18 points in 82 games.

The Kings selected Forbort with the 15th pick in the 2010 draft. The native of Duluth, Minn., made his NHL debut with the Kings in 2015.

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Bruins’ Rask diagnosed with concussion

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has been diagnosed with a concussion and will receive treatment as outlined by the NHL's protocols, the team announced Thursday.

Rask suffered the concussion when he was bumped by teammate Anders Bjork during practice on Wednesday, and no timetable has been set for his return due to the nature of the injury.

The Bruins already announced Anton Khudobin will start Thursday against Vancouver, and Zane McIntyre has been recalled from AHL Providence to serve as backup.

Losing Rask after waiving Malcolm Subban earlier this season will put Boston's goaltending depth to the test for the immediate future.

Rask posted a record of 1-3-0 with a .882 save percentage prior to the injury, while Khudobin stopped 38 of 40 shots for a win in his lone appearance this season.

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