The semifinals are in the books at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon. Sunday night in semifinal action, Team Canada brought the Swiss back to earth with a 6-1 shellacking.
In the other semifinal the U.S. used their speed and finesse to fly past Sweden 5-2, once again led by Jerry D’Amigo’s two goals. The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy caught up with the victors as they reveled in their triumph and switched their focus to the gold medal game.
Eric Semborski landed himself the opportunity of a lifetime when he strapped on the pads as an emergency backup for the Blackhawks, and now Topps has commemorated the moment with a Semborski trading card.
Eric Semborski’s dream came true when he stepped on the ice as an NHL goaltender, albeit an emergency backup, on Dec. 3, and now he’s got an incredible piece of memorabilia to show for it.
Just days after the 23-year-old made his rookie debut, trading card company Topps has unveiled the official Eric Semborski rookie card. That’s right: the 23-year-old has his very own trading card. The card is part of Topps’ NOW series, which features milestone or memorable moments and are made available shortly after the achievement.
Semborski’s stint as the Blackhawks emergency goaltender came due to regular starting netminder Corey Crawford was sent to hospital to undergo an appendectomy. The Blackhawks were scrambling to find a replacement for Crawford, and a backup for Scott Darling, when they started asking around to find an emergency amateur netminder to fill in.
Semborski, a former goaltender at Temple University, was working with children at the Flyers’ practice facility when he was called to sign on for emergency duty. Hilariously, Semborski wore a Blackhawks No. 50 jersey — which most will recognize as Crawford’s number — when he took the ice for warmup. Of the chance to stop NHL shots in warmup, Semborski said it was the best moment of his life.
Possibly the only thing that could have made the moment better was if Semborski actually got into the game and, as it turns out, that was very nearly the case. Post-game, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said that had the Flyers scored on the empty net to stretch their lead in the Saturday afternoon contest, he would have thrown Semborski into the net for the final minute of the outing.
As for the card, there’s no chance it will be worth anything near what a Connor McDavid rookie card will be worth in a decade, but it’s certainly a nice piece of merchandise for the one-day NHL netminder.
Connor McDavid didn’t mince his words when asked post-game about Brandon Manning. He called the Flyers defenseman “classless” and said Manning admitted to injuring him on purpose.
Connor McDavid has had no shortage of head-to-head battles with young stars in the game. There has been outings against Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews and more than handful per year against the Flames duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
But of all the players Connor McDavid could have had an on-ice feud with, it seems Brandon Manning is the first real rival for the Oilers phenom.
One might recall that it was during the early part of the 2015-16 campaign that Manning, a Philadelphia Flyers blueliner, got tangled up with McDavid as he looked to break in on goal, resulting in McDavid making hard contact with the boards behind the net. The impact with the boards saw McDavid break his collarbone and led to a 37-game absence for the then-rookie.
It was believed to be an unintentional act, something that simply happened as part of the game, and McDavid had even absolved Manning of any blame. That was until last night, more than 13 months after the Nov. 3, 2015 injury to McDavid..
During the Oilers’ hard-fought 6-5 defeat at the hands of the Flyers, McDavid was seen verbally jousting with Manning on a couple of occasions. The most obvious case came after a power play goal by McDavid, where he was seen skating towards Manning and shouting something in his direction.
It didn’t end there, though. Post-game, the Oilers captain went in on Manning, calling the hit that led to the broken collarbone an intentional act.
"I did all I could defending him last year in the media," McDavid said. "Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose, and he wanted to say some comments today about what went on last year. I thought it was one of the [most] classless things I've ever seen on the ice. He said some things and our guys responded accordingly. I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it on purpose' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that. Shows what kind of guy he is when he doesn’t step up and fight some of our guys.”
Shortly after McDavid commented on the incident, Manning fired back saying that he would “never intentionally hurt someone,” and added that’s not the way he plays.
"Anybody who knows me, I play a hard game,” Manning said, according to NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman. “That's the reason I'm here, that's the way I'm in the NHL. I'm not here to score goals like some of those guys. I think I play an honest game, and anyone who knows me knows I play hard and stuff happens out there."
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.
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.