I spoke to Martin Hanzal
after practice on Tuesday and he told me he would definitely jump in and protect linemate Radim Vrbata
again if a situation like the one in Monday’s win over Columbus ever develops.
To recap, Columbus enforcer Jared Boll, an accomplished hockey fighter, got in Vrbata’s face moments after Vrbata scored a goal in the second period to give Phoenix a commanding 4-1 lead. Hanzal immediately jumped in to protect Vrbata, and then he and Boll scrapped.
“When you see somebody going after one of your skill players, you better protect him or at least try to protect him,” Hanzal said. “…That’s the NHL.”
After landing a few blows, Hanzal, who doesn't fight nearly as often as Boll, absorbed several of Boll’s shots to his face and had to leave the game temporarily. On Tuesday morning, Hanzal was sporting two sets of stitches across his nose.
I asked Hanzal if the cuts on his nose came as a result of the visor on his helmet hitting his face during the bout.
“I can’t remember,” Hanzal said with a smile, "but I think they came from the punches.”
|Kevin Porter |
Center Kevin Porter was planning to spend Christmas at home in Michigan with his family this year as part of a five-day break from his schedule in the American Hockey League. That plan changed abruptly after he received a call from Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving on Monday informing him that he was being recalled from the AHL and needed to get to Phoenix ASAP.
“It’s really great to be here,” Porter said after Tuesday’s practice. “It would have been nice to have a few days off and visit with my family, but it’s part of the job and that’s the way it goes. I’m very excited about being here.”
Ironically, Porter was en route to his home and on the phone with his mother talking about some last-minute Christmas plans and shopping when Treliving called. Porter said he recognized Treliving’s number right away and told his mom he’d have to call her back.
Because he couldn't fly to Phoenix immediately, Porter was able to have a pseudo holiday dinner with his family on Monday night before shipping out on Tuesday.
I can already tell new defenseman Anders Eriksson is a very upbeat and positive person, and will be a good presence in the dressing room during crunch time later in the season.
It’s also very clear that Eriksson has a sharp sense of humor; consider his nickname "Bubba” and the story behind it, which he shared on Monday. Eriksson says former teammate Chris Osgood gave it to him 14 years ago because he was having trouble seeing around Eriksson’s hefty…um…posterior whenever Eriksson would station himself in front of Osgood.
So now you know.
Thanks for reading.