RALEIGH, N.C. -- Forget the fact that Tyler Myers scored his first two goals of the season Wednesday against New Jersey. It was his strong physical presence that accounted for what ranks as perhaps his best game of the season, and it came on the heels of his first career healthy scratch Monday in Montreal.
So It certainly would have been a downer to get suspended for his third-period hit on Devils forward Dainius Zubrus. Myers got a phone call from NHL disclipline czar Brendan Shanahan Thursday afternoon but was relieved to learn he was not getting suspended for the hit.
"He just wanted to discuss what my thoughts were on it," Myers said after today''s pregame skate in the RBC Center. "I can really tell he's trying to inform all the players, tell them what it a legal hit, what's an illegal hit. It's a thin line, pretty tough but it was a good conversation. There was contact with the head but there was contact with the body. If it had been a more lateral hit and just contact to the head, then there would have been a hearing and most likely a suspension."
At 6-8, of course, Myers is going to be more prone to hitting opponents in the head. It's something he said he's dealt with his entire hockey career.
"It's definitely tough," said coach Lindy Ruff. "We've obviously challenged him to be a little more phsycial and I thought he was physical in the game. I thought he played a great game, the way he needs to play as a big man. It will be tough. There are situations the way his body his, his elbows are head-high and that makes it tougher on a big man."
In roster notes, T.J. Brennan is here on an emergency basis but is not expected to play. With Mike Weber and Cody McCormick out, Ruff didn't want to be left without an extra defenseman or forward in case of a sudden illness or an injury today. Jochen Hecht is getting very close to returning, as Ruff said today he is now in the "day-to-day" category. Tyler Ennis, who is still skating in a red (non-contact) jersey is in the "every-other-day" category, the coach joked.
Here comments from Myers and Ruff on the NHL ruling and tonight's game against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes below.