New Jersey Devils veteran Patrik Elias used his years of wisdom to throw an incredible deke on Montreal Canadiens netminder Dustin Tokarski in the shootout. Elias used not one, not two, but seven dekes in order to beat Tokarski, and his tally was the game-deciding goal.
In Patrik Elias' first season in the NHL, the introduction of the shootout to the league was a decade from becoming reality. That doesn't mean, however, that the 38-year-old couldn't come up with a few tricks to put up his sleeve.
Saturday night's game, which pitted Elias' New Jersey Devils against the Montreal Canadiens, went to extra time and, subsequently, a shootout, which was ended by Elias in the third round on an amazing deke. As the third shooter for the Devils, and with the game on his stick, Elias serpentined over the blueline, put on three quick dekes, moved the puck from backhand to forehand and tucked it into the yawning cage:
That's a tough one for Canadiens' netminder Dustin Tokarski, but it would have taken a superhuman effort to stop that. Watching it, you might even get deked out of your chair.
Coming into Saturday night, Elias had scored 25 shootout goals and converted on just 36 percent of his attempts. All is forgotten with an effort like this, though. As far as the Devils are concerned, this is the only shootout attempt of Elias' career that has mattered.
New Jersey has had a rough history with the shootout, losing all 13 of their skills competitions last season. This season they've gone 5-7.
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.
With Domi on IR, the Coyotes recalled center Laurent Dauphin and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo from the American Hockey League’s Tucson Roadrunners. According to McLellan, the Coyotes were able to make two recalls as Peter Holland, who was acquired in a trade with the Maple Leafs on Friday, continues to sort out his visa issues.
Dauphin and DeAngelo are expected to be in the Coyotes lineup on Saturday night when Arizona plays host to the Nashville Predators.
ECHL defenseman Anthony Calabrese is “lucky to be alive” after a “careless, reckless” hit, and Tyler Murovich, who delivered the blow, has been given a 12-game suspension as a first-time offender.
There are few plays scarier than seeing a player hit from behind and sent headfirst into the boards. That kind of play is made that much harder to watch when knowing the severity of the injury suffered.
During an ECHL contest on Nov. 24 between the Norfolk Admirals and Atlanta Gladiators, ECHL veteran Tyler Murovich delivered an incredibly dangerous shove to the back of Anthony Calabrese, a 24-year-old defenseman who’s only 12 games into his ECHL career.
The result of the hit was frightening. Calabrese was left laying face down on the ice, near motionless. The Admirals rearguard would eventually be placed on a stretcher, taken from the ice and transported to hospital.
That may seem harsh to some given that Murovich is a first-time offender, but given the severity of Calabrese’s injury, it actually seems like a somewhat light punishment.
As a result of the hit, Calabrese suffered broken C7 and T1 vertebrae. In simpler terms, he broke both his neck and his back. Oh, and he also punctured his lung. In fact, Calabrese told The Virginian-Pilot’s Jim Hodges that doctors told the young center that he’s “lucky to be alive.”
“It was a miracle, and they say I’m going to make a full recovery,” Calabrese told Hodges. “It’s going to be a long road, but I’d rather be alive than be in a wheelchair the rest of my life.”
What helped Calabrese escape with his life, he told Hodges, was advice he had gotten early in his career from a high school coach. Calabrese was taught that if he was ever going into the boards head first to lift his chin and turn to the side in an attempt to avoid taking the brunt of the impact with the top of his head.
“That’s honestly the only thing that registered in my mind when I was going in: at the last minute, pick my head up,” Calabrese told Hodges. “I remember picking my head up and turning it to the right.”
Thankfully, doctors told Calabrese that he can eventually return to the ice and that the injuries suffered from the hit won’t cost him his career. His spinal cord, he told Hodges, wasn’t damaged due to the hit. And, as hard as it may be to believe, doctors said it was the “best possible break” in a situation such as Calabrese’s.
Holland had been left in Toronto as the Maple Leafs opened a three-game western road trip in late November and has not suited up for the Leafs since Nov. 26. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward was a healthy scratch in 17 of the Leafs first 25 games this season.
In eight games, Holland has one assist and a minus-2 rating while averaging 10:43 in ice time a night. Holland is on a one-year, $1.3 million contract this season, and according to CapFriendly, is owed $881,111 for the remainder of the season.
"Peter is a big, solid centerman with good NHL experience," Coyotes general manager John Chayka said in a statement. "We look forward to having him join our team."
Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in November 2013, the Caledon, Ontario native appeared in 174 games with the Leafs, over parts of four seasons, scoring 25 goals and 63 points.
The 25-year-old also played a role in the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies reaching a seventh game of the conference finals during the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs.
For the Leafs, the move gives general manager Lou Lamoriello another contract spot to work with. Prior to the deal, Toronto had 48 contracts – two shy of the maximum of 50.
Friday’s move gives the Leafs the flexibility to sign goaltender Karri Ramo to a contract for the remainder of the season. The 30-year-old signed a professional tryout with the Marlies on Tuesday and made 33 saves in 3-2 loss to the Utica Comets on Wednesday night.
Since waiving goaltender Jhonas Enroth on Tuesday, and assigning him to the Marlies, the Leafs are looking for a suitable veteran presence behind Frederik Andersen and Ramo could fill the void.
The trade with the Coyotes also gives Lamoriello roster flexibility to activate forward Josh Leivo off non-roster injury reserve. Leivo has yet to play this season due to a lower body injury. The 23-year-old played five games with the Marlies earlier in the season as part of a conditioning assignment, but was deemed not ready to return to NHL action with the Leafs.