Washington (27-12-3) at Montreal (24-10-6), 7:00 pm EST
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- One day after having their winning streak
snapped, the Washington Capitals will try to deal a similar fate
to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens will aim for their fourth straight win when they
square off against the Capitals on Saturday.
Montreal, which is 8-1-1 over its previous 10 contests, has
managed to keep winning without All-Star goaltender Carey Price,
who has been sidelined since December 30 with a lower body
Jaroslav Halak filled in nicely Thursday, making 30 saves in a
6-2 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 23-year-old Czech may have a tougher time against All-Star
Alex Ovechkin, who is tied for the NHL lead with 27 goals this
The reigning Hart Trophy winner, Ovechkin unleashed 12 shots on
goal but failed to score as the Capitals had their season-long,
seven-game winning streak snapped Friday with a 3-0 loss to the
Columbus Blue Jackets.
Washington, which has beaten the Canadiens in their two meetings
this season, has still won 12 of its last 14 contests.
Philip Larsen got knocked unconscious, the Canucks retailiated without knowing what happened, and they could have hurt their teammate even worse in the process.
The incident was horrific. We can all agree on that.
Tuesday night in New Jersey, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Philip Larsen skated behind his net to retrieve a puck. He had no idea Devils left winger Taylor Hall was pursuing the same puck. They collided heavily. Larsen bashed his head on the ice and was knocked out cold.
It was a scary scene, undoubtedly, one that understandably evoked a ton of emotion from Larsen's teammates. It was hardly a surprise to see a flurry of Vancouver players swarm Hall and make him fight.
It was a shame, however, for multiple reasons. First off, the hit wasn't dirty. It wasn't even a deliberate bodycheck. Hall leaned back on his skates to slow his momentum and held out his arms as if protecting himself from imminent impact. It was more of a crash than a bonecrushing hit. We can debate whether Larsen's head was the principal point of contact – I don't believe it was at all – but it's irrelevant when assessing Hall's guilt. There was no intent there. He won't be disciplined by the NHL for an accident.
And yet, thanks to the sport's culture of immediate and forceful vengeance, Hall had to fight anyway. In the spur of the moment, in the heat of elite competition, players are simply too jacked up to take a breath and assess the situation. They see a comrade fall and, in mere milliseconds, seek and destroy whoever caused the harm.
“You always have a problem with a hit when one of your guys gets hit hard," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins told the Vancouver Province's Jason Botchford after the the game. "It doesn’t matter if it’s a clean hit. You have a problem when a guy gets hit that hard. I think all coaches would.”
The ironic thing about this tough-guy mentality is that it could end up pushing one of the toughest things about hockey out of the game: good, clean hits. If the swarm mentality goes on much longer, the only guys willing to lay opponents out with big hits will be those ready and willing to drop the gloves right afterward. Sooner or later players might decide it's not worth sitting five minutes and/or risking injury just to put a lick on a guy. And, in Hall's case, he wasn't even trying to drill Larsen.
Will we ever stop seeing players attacked after clean hits? I doubt it. The revenge assault is a crime of passion, a snap decision. But maybe, just maybe, the Canucks and players all over the world can learn a bit from what happened right after Larsen got hit. Watch:
The first instinct, sadly, is not to help Larsen, but to destroy Hall. Center Michael Chaput immediately starts a fight. That causes a pileup of players from both teams – all around the unconscious Larsen. It's downright disturbing to see him getting kicked in the head by his own teammates’ skates. Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom tries to box out Larsen and keep him safe. Markus Granlund tries as well but has to step over and onto Larsen in the process. It’s a miracle Larsen wasn’t cut. None of that would've happened had Chaput thought of Larsen first.
The ugly scene is a reminder that, right after a teammate takes a massive hit, the first priority should be to protect him. The best way to do that isn't to attack his attacker. It's to attend to the teammate first. There's plenty of time to review what happened and take down the perpetrator's number for later in the game. That's what jumbo-tron replays are for. And, in cases like Hall's, the violence would be averted altogether if players watched the replay and realized it was an accident.
Sadly, the idea is a pipe dream, and I don’t expect players to learn from Larsen's fate anytime soon. But we can always hope.
A young Washington Capitals fan took part in the Mites On Ice intermission game, and he delivered one of the best goal celebrations you’ll see this season.
For all the shoot the puck, obstacle courses and human bowling there is to be found during intermissions, it’s hard for anything to really top watching a bunch of kids who are new to the game rip around the ice in an intermission scrimmage.
And it’s even harder to top the mites game, or what Canadians know better as Timbits hockey, when the game features a goal celebration that is big-league ready, as was the case during the first intermission of Monday’s game between the Capitals and Sabres.
The first mid-period break in action between Washington and Buffalo featured the Capitals’ Mites On Ice, and, more importantly, it introduced us to one of the all-time great goal celebrations. During the action, a youngster named Micha scored on a breakaway, fell to his knees and celebrated for a full 15 seconds, hollering with excitement, pumping his arms and raising his stick above his head:
Micha definitely took some of his celebrating cues from his favorite player, Alex Ovechkin, but we wouldn’t mind seeing Ovechkin with an homage to Micha.
The Capitals would go on to win Monday’s game 3-2 in overtime, but no word on how exactly Micha celebrated Marcus Johansson’s game-winning goal.
The Coyotes are reportedly looking to move out Anthony Duclair, and that was the case as early as this past summer. Duclair was reportedly part of a trade offer Arizona made for Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
That team, apparently, was the Arizona Coyotes. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Coyotes GM John Chayka approached Flames GM Brad Treliving around the 2016 NHL Draft with an offer of young winger Anthony Duclair and a draft pick for the 23-year-old Hamilton. Dreger said the talks didn't go very far and doesn't know why this story recently resurfaced, though Burke obviously had enough.
While Burke's comments should put an end to the Hamilton trade chatter for a while, this story should further stoke conjecture over the 21-year-old Duclair's future with the Coyotes. He was thought to be a key part of their rebuilding program, with a respectable 20-goal, 44-point rookie performance last season.
Of late, however, there's talk the Coyotes could entertain offers for Duclair, who's managed only four points in 24 games this season. It was believed they wanted a good young player, preferably a center, as a return. Given their pursuit of Hamilton last summer, a promising blueliner could also fit the bill.
While the Coyotes are reportedly willing to listen to offers for winger Anthony Duclair, LeBrun claims the Senators aren't interested. That's understandable, as the Coyotes apparently seek a good young player who can help them right away. Dorion can't spare that type of player.
Another option could be Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner, who can skate at center or on the wing. The Bruins are apparently talking with several clubs. Spooner's $950K salary-cap hit is certainly enticing, plus he had a 49-point campaign in 2015-16. While Dorion's looking for someone to play on his checking lines, Ryan's injury might make him reconsider.
Bruins winger Jimmy Hayes could be another option. Garrioch reported Sunday the Bruins would like to move him, but Dorion could balk at his poor production (one goal in 23 games) and $2.3-million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Garrioch also reports Edmonton Oilers left wing Benoit Pouliot could be available. He said the Oilers weren't shopping the 30-year-old veteran, but had spoken with several clubs to gauge their interest. He also notes the New York Islanders are trying to move winger Nikolai Kulemin.
A more affordable option could be Toronto Maple Leafs center Peter Holland. With a $1.3-million cap hit for this season, the 25-year-old is reportedly on the trade block. The Sens and Leafs have a recent trade history, so perhaps this could be a move that helps both sides.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.
The Sharks did their best to decipher which member of the team was depicted in a child's drawing. Come for the reactions, stay for Dylan DeMelo's dissection of the hair.
Portrait drawing takes years of practice, a keen eye and some serious skill. Or, for any child with a handful of crayons and the back of a paper placemat at the local diner, it takes about 15 minutes while you wait for the pancakes to get placed on the table.
The best thing about a kid’s drawing, though, is that their way of sketching out what they see often comes with amazing results. Be it tiny arms and legs sticking out of one big, round head or three-fingered stick people with L-shaped feet, there’s always something hilariously unique about each drawing and almost every doodle requires some sort of explanation.
That is unless you’re the San Jose Sharks, in which case you go in blind and try your hand at guessing what — or, in this instance, who — you’re seeing. Watch as the Sharks try to determine which teammate’s photo has been drawn by a young member of their FINatical Kids Club:
The reactions off the top, especially those of Marc-Edourard Vlasic and Mikkel Boedker, are great, and Tomas Hertl’s half-laughing ask of “Who can be this?!” will crack you up. Then there’s the dissection of the “flow” by Dylan DeMelo, right down to the haircare products. But nothing about this video is better than Brenden Dillon’s unexpected self-burn.
While he’s trying to figure out who exactly the drawing is, he says that whoever is depicted in the drawing has “a face for radio.” Turns out it was you all along, Brenden. Surprise!
You’ve got give the Sharks credit where it’s due, though. Almost all of the players in the video ended up getting the drawing correct — few looked more shocked than Joe Thornton — and they all had their reasons for guessing the way they did, though most of the guesses had to do with the hair.