NHL News: Habs’ Wideman suspended, Blue Jackets place Voracek into protocol, and Rask debuts

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Montreal Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman has been suspended 1 game by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Thursday.

Wideman’s head-butt on Bruins forward Erik Haula during the third period of the Canadiens’ 5-1 loss on Wednesday in Boston, earned him the ban. He was assessed a pair of minor penalties for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct against Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, he forfeits $3,750 which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Wideman, 32, has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 23 games this season. He has 54 points (18 goals, 36 assists) in 204 career games with the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Canadiens.

Blue Jackets place Voracek on COVID list

The Columbus Blue Jackets gained one and lost one to the COVID-19 protocol on Thursday.

Forward Jakub Voracek was placed into the NHL protocol while forward Alexandre Texier was activated from it. The 32-year-old is tied for the Blue Jackets’ points lead (25) and leads the team in assists (24).

Texier, 22, has 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 30 games. He was placed in the protocol on Jan. 7.

The Blue Jackets begin a three-game road trip Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Rask to start for Bruins

tuukka rask bruins
Feb 19, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Goaltender Tuukka Rask is set to make his long-awaited return when the Boston Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night seeking their seventh victory in eight games since the holiday break.

A free agent, Rask rejoined the Bruins on a one-year, $1 million contract on Tuesday after recovering from offseason hip surgery. The 34-year-old veteran rehabbed with the team in recent weeks and signed a minor league tryout agreement last week.

“I think the biggest motivation is to play with the group that I’ve played with my whole career and have another chance to win,” Rask said.

Rask posted a 15-5-2 record with a .913 save percentage and a 2.28 goals-against average in 24 starts last season with Boston. Rask is the Bruins’ all-time winningest goaltender, boasting a career 306-163-66 mark in 560 games over 14 seasons.

“‘Tuukks’ is obviously an incredible goalie and has been for a very long time in this league,” Marchand said. “There’s no doubt he’s going to help our team. He’s one of the best goalies in the League for the last 10, 15 years and we’re lucky he’s back again this year.”

–Field Level Media contributed to this report