SLAP SHOTS: Andrei Kovalev, an all star in the Deutsch Elite League, is Belarus’ offensive go to guy . . . Belarus, formerly of the Soviet Union, surprisingly made it to the quarterfinals and cheap authentic jerseys
finished seventh in its only Olympic showing in Nagano . . . 19 year veteran Oleg Mikulchik, brought up in the USSR hockey system, is the Belarussians leader . . . Belarus doesn’t have any NHL players . . . This will be the first ever Olympic action for Ukraine, whose athletes helped the Unified team win gold in 1992. Like Belarus, Ukraine was part of the Soviet hockey empire for all those years . . . Scoring might be a problem, but defense should be a strength for Ukraine. Veterans Yevgen Alipov and Oleg Sinkov bolster the blue line . . . Ukraine’s Andrei Sryubko was with Utah in 1999 2000.

SLAP SHOTS: Once Slovakia gets all of its NHL players, watch out, Slovakia could compete with the big boys. Kings star Zigmund Palffy and Senators’ Marian Hossa . . . Two former Utah Grizzlies Vladimir Orszagh and Rastislav Pavlikovsky Slovakia . . . . As an independent nation, Slovakia has been in two Winter Games (10th in 1998 and sixth in ’94) . . . Slovakian D Zdeno Chara, who stands 6 foot 9, is the biggest player in Olympic history . . . If and when it gets its three NHL players Capitals’ standout goalie Olaf Kolzig and Oilers’ Jochen Hecht and Sharks’ Marco Strum Germany could give plenty of teams a scare . . . Jan Benda is Germany’s top non NHL scorer . . . As one Germany, the country has been in 11 Olympic tourneys, going 24 44 5 with a bronze medal in 1932.

SLAP SHOTS: Austria has competed in 11 Olympic tournaments (13 42 7 record) with a best ever fifth place finish in 1928 . . . Austria was 0 2 2 for 14th at Nagano . . . Utah Grizzlies defenseman Andre Lakos is on the Austrian team, which has no NHLers . . . Two Christophs Koenig and Brandner are top offensive threats, while goalie Claus Dalpiaz has been a member of 13 Austrian national teams . This will be the third Olympics for Latvia, which competed in 1994 and ’36 . . . . Latvia’s speedy forwards Artis Abols and Aleksandrs Belavskis are lethal playmakers . . . Another former Grizz player, Viktors Ignatjevs, is a defensive force . . . Latvia will be boosted when Carolina Hurricanes goalie Arturs Irbe can join the team . . . Latvia won the Final Qualification Tournament last year in Klagenfurt, Austria to qualify for these Winter Games.

SLAP SHOTS: Switzerland is playing in the Olympics for the first time in a decade (last in Albertville, 1992). The Swiss won bronze medals in 1928 and ’48 and are 22 39 3 in Olympic action . . . . Having NHL goalie David Aebischer, Patrick Roy’s backup, for the entire run will be a huge plus for Switzerland. The Colorado Avalanche allowed him to come a week before the league let its other players participate . . . Swiss defenseman Mark Streit played for the Grizzlies in 1999 2000 . . . The French took 11th in Nagano, scoring five goals in each of their victories but getting shut out in their two losses. Overall, France is 10 29 1 and has finished as high as fifth twice (1920 and ’24) in the Olympics . Offense is France’s strength, though the team boasts no NHL guys . . . Scoring threats are Anthony Mortas, Richard Aimonetto, Stephane Barin and Philippe Bozon . . . French goalie Cristobal Huet was the Swiss National League goalie of the year the past two seasons.


ARLINGTON Yu Darvish waited four years and came back from “Tommy John” ligament replacement surgery to get his second major league postseason start Friday at Globe Life Park.

He breezed through the first inning, needing only eight pitches, but his undoing began soon after, with a leadoff second inning walk that preceded a two run homer by Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

That was just the first of four home runs allowed by Darvish, tying a MLB postseason discount jerseys
record. It happened seven times previously, but the most recent was by 37 year old Rick Reed of Minnesota against Oakland in the 2002 ALDS.

Darvish is 30 and ostensibly in the prime of his career, though he’s now 0 2 with a 5.40 ERA in two career postseason starts.

“It’s not like I was feeling bad,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “But I wasn’t feeling super good, either. And baseball, like in the regular season, you look back and things like this happen.”

In the postseason, however, pitching mistakes are magnified. Such was the case in Friday’s fifth inning, after Texas had pulled within 2 1 in the bottom of the fourth.

During a 16 pitch span in the fifth, Darvish allowed solo home runs by Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and Edwin Encarnacion. Prior to Friday, the most home runs Darvish had allowed in a game was three.

“What it boils down to is a thin margin in these type of games,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Four home runs and four unexecuted pitches.”

Toronto got only five hits during Darvish’s five innings, but on a day in which the Rangers outhit the Blue Jays 13 6 and left 13 runners on base, the home runs were the difference.

The second inning home run by Tulowitzki came on a 2 0 count. The others occurred on 2 1 counts. Naturally, all four home run pitches were fastballs because Darvish couldn’t afford to fall further behind in the count.

“He looked pretty good the first couple innings,” Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. “Started missing some spots. We got beat by the homer today, and homers are pretty much mistake pitches.”

The Blue Jays didn’t face Darvish during the regular season, and Darvish missed all of 2015 because of the Tommy John surgery. Toronto’s unfamiliarity with him figured to an advantage for Darvish.

“We all know how talented he is,” said Tulowitzki, whose only previous at bat against Darvish occurred in the 2014 All Star Game. “He’s got good stuff. You see all those strikeouts.

“It was nice to get on top of him early, especially on the road.”

Darvish said he thought he had decent command of his slider, and he felt good about his mechanics. But when you tie a record for home runs allowed in a playoff game and do so in only five innings of work postgame self analysis seems like a good idea.

“Me and Lucroy, we need to talk,” Darvish said, through the interpreter. “Maybe we went too much on the fastballs today.”

Perhaps Darvish and Lucroy can learn from Game 2. Problem is, in order for Darvish to pitch again in this series, the Rangers must win Games 3 and 4 in Toronto, possibly leaving Game 5 in Darvish’s hands.

In all probability, though, Darvish will have to wait at least another year for career playoff start No. 3.


What does it mean to live up to a contract?Does it vary by player? By team? By city? Or by a player’s contract itself? While all those questions are relative, theclosest answer would be to perform and produce at NHL standards for the type ofsalary you make.With a new contract comes new expectations. These expectations are based off of the money a player makes and the production level of players making a similar salary.The Winnipeg Jets’ major move this offseason was re signing top forward Evander Kane to a six year contract worth a total of $31.5 million that’s a good$5.25 million per year. Compare that contract with other players of his caliber around the league and you will see that Kane is a very valued player.The most critical element of a new contract is the price tag.Kane is coming off of a solid 30 goal season and was due for a raise. Looking at the length and dollar amount of Kane’s new contract, it’s not far fetched to give a player like Kane that type of deal.The only thing that changes are revised expectations.Kane is a solid goal scorer and can contribute in the assists and points categories, as well. His repertoire includes many different skills and abilities. He contributes in ways such as on ice leadership, a physically gifted ability to play tough, and an ability to play in all zones.As you can see, Kane isn’t all about the offense.I established that Kane’s contract was worth it at the initial signing, but now he has to live up to it. And the question remains, can he in fact live up to his contract? Without giving a distinct answer, I can say that he has more than enough talent to play even beyond his contract.When a player, any player, is making over $5 million a year, then the most important aspect of their game has to be goals and points.The criticism usually stems from how well a player is contributing to the offense. Let’s face it, as important as role players are for a team, they probably make a quarter of what superstars make.Kane is not a role player. He is the superstar of the Jets organization.Kane will give the Jets energy; he’ll make a few big hits and probably even drop the gloves a half dozen times a season. His blazing fast, breakaway speed will excite the fans every time he takes a shift. He’ll do all that and more, but his contractual expectations won’t recognize all that.In order for Kane to live up to his contract, he would have to score about 30 goals each season at the very minimum, something he’s more than capable of doing. The 40 goal potential is there. Not only can Kane live up to his contract, he can surpass expectations and play beyond it.Today, we over exaggerate the whole idea of a player “living up to his contract.”The base we go from is how other players of the same level are producing. We go into grave detail to try and find any minor blemish as to why a player is overpaid, overrated or simply not worth it.Contract signings are all relative based on a franchise’s state alone. One franchise may not have made the same signing as another. As far as the Jets signing Kane to his recent contract, it’s perfectly fine and more than fair value.It was hockey jerseys form china
well worth it for both parties.Instead of nitpicking minor details and trying to be contract judges, just let Kane play. All he has to do is produce at a respectable level. Another 30 goal season would be just fine. That same pace for the next five years would have him in great standing with his contract.


Beverly Hills Cop with Eddy Murphy featured a song by Glenn Frey, “The Heat is On” in 1984, and it must be ringing in Leafs head coach Ron Wilson’s head over and over.All of Leafs Nation are looking to Wilson to lead this young team to a season that can be considered a success which would be least challenging for a playoff berth and getting out of the basement of the NHL in my estimation.Is Wilson’s system more suited for hockey matching the era of the movie than the modern NHL?Granted Wilson has had success in the past with “his” system, but as the game changes has his coaching style changed with it?Wilson’s penalty killing units were one of the best in the western conference while with the San Jose Sharks, but the Leafs have been in the bottom five, yet showed improvement near the end of last season.Now that general manager Brian Burke has given him a solid defense core and sturdy goalies between the pipes who will have a full training camp and preseason together will we see continued improvement?Last season after sniper Phil Kessel was added to the line up he became the featured trigger man on the power play, but teams caught onto that pretty quick.Now with some new faces with goal scoring prowess including Kris Versteeg and Nazem Kadri if he cracks the lineup, along with Kessel and some players that want to prove their worth, in Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski, how will Wilson utilize them?Has Wilson revamped his special teams to suit the players he has or will he try and shove a square peg in a round hole again?He mentioned in the first preseason game that he wanted to see more puck movement on the power play between his defensemen and the announcers were saying that they haven’t worked on special teams in camp yetThe two defensemen were Tomas Kaberle and newly appointed Captain Dion Phaneuf, who in my mind should be able to work the puck back and forth on the blue line without much practice, they’ve only been doing it since they were five!Granted the other three players on the ice have to draw some attention from the penalty killers.Wilson’s penalty killing strategy seemed to be again a non aggressive box keeping the play to the outside. For this to be effective when the puck does end up around the crease the players that collapse have to knock down the bodies in front where jerseys for cheap
they outnumber the forwards.They have the big bodies to make this work but the players have to buy in and be ready to be physical night in and night out.Mike Brown stood out in the first preseason game against Ottawa and should be a real spark plug for the Leafs every time he steps on the ice, hopefully Wilson can work his skill set in effectively.I would prefer to see an aggressive penalty kill forcing the play, as the passive style Wilson implements finds players flat footed and out of position.I believe this team will improve, that’s a given, and though that’s not saying much because of how poor they were last year albeit while going through a ton of changes.There is as therealways are high expectations amongst Leafs Nation that I pray are not met by disappointment this year and I will hold Mr. Wilson personally accountable because on paper once finalized this team should compete.All in all the heat is squarely on Wilson, because if this team doesn’t begin to show improvement Burke will have to extinguish Wilson’s contract or all eyes pitchforks and torches will turn on Burke!


Ah, the wizard was at it again. Steve Yzerman, even when backed into a corner with a struggling team, was able to find some way around one of his biggest problems at the deadline: the upcoming expansion draft. Maybe the rogue is a more fitting class for Yzerman now that he’s once again stretched his general manager muscles and evaded trouble.

But, enough of the Dungeons and Dragons references. The Lightning were clear sellers this deadline, dealing young defenseman Nikita Nesterov last month and Ben Bishop to the Kings in a stunning move. It didn’t end there, when Tampa Bay had no qualms with jettisoning veteran Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula without breaking a sweat.

Yzerman’s biggest move, however, came in the Filppula trade that brought Mark Streit briefly into the fold before he packaged him to the Penguins for a fourth round pick in 2018. Suddenly, the Lightning’s cap space has room to breathe and they’ve avoided cheap authentic jerseys
having to protect Filppula’s no move clause in the expansion draft at the behest of one of their younger, more talented forwards.

On the flip side, the Capitals landed the biggest trade deadline piece in Kevin Shattenkirk, who makes their power play somehow even more deadly. In doing so, they gave up less than some teams gave up for worse players, and basically made it clear that they believe this is their year. Now, come back down and look at this quote from Montreal’s general manager, Marc Bergevin.

“I had good reports from Kirk Muller. Grit. Sandpaper. Bergevin basically hits the old school hockey trifecta with “grit,” “sandpaper,” and everyone’s favorite word: “intangibles.”

The deadline was actually a mixed bag for the Canadiens. They flipped a younger, still developing defenseman in Greg Pateryn for Jordie Benn. They forced the Oilers’ hand and got the better of their two defensemen on the market in Brandon Davidson.

However, the Canadiens gave up a sixth round pick for Ott, who has six points on the year. They also added size in Dwight King and Andreas Martinsen, who between them have just 22 points this season. Where the Canadiens needed to add depth scoring, they only added fourth line bruisers who won’t impact their Stanley Cup chances. Quite the disappointing haul.

Our friends at Blueshirt Banter argued that it’s wise that the Rangers didn’t make a panic move for an unrestricted free agent, but it’s still quite the disappointment to come up almost empty handed when the Capitals and Penguins got marginally better.

As for the Islanders, their radio silence at the trade deadline is mystifying. They apparently had bidders for Jaroslav Halak, former starter turned AHL goaltender, but those fell through because of salary. Other than that, Garth Snow made no move to assist the Islanders, who are ONE POINT out of a Wild Card spot. New York has been playing much better after the firing of Jack Capuano, but there’s clear weaknesses on the team that could have been filled at the deadline.

Cody Franson and Dmitry Kulikov stayed put, though there were rumors the Bruins were interested in the latter but were deterred by his injury history. Their other two remaining unrestricted free agents in goaltender Anders Nilsson and forward Brian Gionta were unmoved. Even Evander Kane survived the deadline, though that might not be a bad thing in the long run.


What do you need to know about last night’s big stories? Joe McDonald gives us his take on the biggest and best. This is where we say, “Morning, Joe.”

Give us more Florida: If the hockey gods have a sense of drama, they will make sure the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers finally play each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. Fans would go crazy to see two Florida teams play and the players would dig into that rivalry as well. On Monday, the Panthers defeated the Lightning 3 1. Reilly Smith scored the winner in the waning minutes of regulation and goaltender Roberto Luongo finished with 34 saves to snap a personal four game losing skid. These two teams will battle for Atlantic Division supremacy all season. The win by the Panthers (6 6 1) over the Lightning (7 5 1) should be exactly what they needed to push them in the right direction. The Panthers have been getting contributions from forward Vincent Trocheck, who has six goals and two assists for eight points in 13 games. Adding Jonathan Marchessault during the offseason was huge: the former Lightning forward is leading the Panthers with seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 13 games. But Florida needs more contributions throughout the lineup to set up this playoff matchup. Make it happen, hockey gods.

Rask and roll: There’s no way anyone would have predicted Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask would be 7 1 0 with a 1.74 goals against average and a .941 save percentage, along with two shutouts, to start the season. Monday night, he made 32 saves to help the Bruins to a 4 0 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Rask will have to be Boston’s best player if the Bruins want to erase two seasons of misery and return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Rask won the Vezina Trophy for the 2013 14 season; he’s at his best when he’s getting help from the defense in front of him, which hasn’t been the case in the previous two seasons. And when you watch Rask this season, it almost appears as if he doesn’t care in that he’s just so calm and fundamentally sound that he makes it look easy. But burnout is a concern; he shouldn’t play more than 60 games this season. That’s a problem for the Bruins, as backup Anton Khudobin is sidelined with an upper body injury and the goaltending depth hasn’t been sound behind Rask. He has been outstanding so far and he will need to continue to be consistent if the Bruins are to return to the postseason.

Trouba trade coming: The Jacob Trouba standoff with the Winnipeg Jets has been resolved for now. At 6 foot 3, 202 pounds, Trouba is a big, tough, mobile and skilled defenseman. He has a huge shot and a nasty streak, a cornerstone as a right handed blueliner. But staying away from the team will affect his cheap authentic jerseys
standing in the dressing room with his teammates. Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche went through the same thing before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. Trouba, 22, signed a two year contract with the Jets worth $2.5 million this season and $3.5 million next season. If he hadn’t signed by Dec. 1, he would have been ineligible to play this season. While the ink dries on his new contract, let’s say this: He will be traded this season. Sure, his talents fit well on Winnipeg’s blue line, but the damage has been done. He asked for a trade in September and now that he has a bridge deal, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will get the most out of Trouba before the next contract.


DETROIT The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t the first two teams that come to mind when you think of fighting and hatred. But having played 10 Stanley Cup playoff games against each other in the past two years, those words might apply heading into Tuesday night’s Game 4.

“We don like each other,” Lightning forward Cedric Paquette. don’t have goons; we don’t fight as much as other teams in the league. That’s playoffs. We don’t like each other. That’s playoff hockey.”

Lightning forward Brian Boyle tested the willpower of Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader by pulling out the chicken move when Abdelkader wouldn’t fight at the end of Game 3. Facing a possible suspension, Abdelkader was smart to pass, but it will be interesting to see whether any of those hostilities carry into Game 4.

“[Boyle] can do whatever he wants,” said Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. “Abby, why would he go? The game is over. Why would he take a chance or get injured? It’s one thing if you come in to protect your own guys this was just he wanted to get Abby. There’s no sense. I think Abby made a smart play even though I know he wanted to stand up for himself. . The team goes first and your own pride goes last.”

The Lightning were seeking retribution for Abdelkader’s pummeling of winger Mike Blunden in Game 2.

Matching the desperation of a team facing a 3 0 deficit can be difficult, and the Lightning didn’t match Red Wings’ will to win in Game 3. With that wake up call making it clear the Red Wings are willing to make this a series if the Lightning allow it, Tampa Bay needs a big response in Game 4. There a huge difference heading home with a 3 1 series lead or a tied series that threatens to go the distance. The Lightning need much more intensity and desperation than they showed in Game 3.

Tampa Bay also needs to test goalie Petr Mrazek more than Game 3. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill took a risk turning to a goalie who wasn’t particularly good down the stretch in a must win game. In Game 3, it didn matter who was in goal, the Red Wings were so strong in terms of possessing the puck and spent significant time on the power play.

That can continue if the Lightning want to reclaim control of this series again. Mrazek has to be tested.

“We have to shoot pucks,” Paquette said. “I don think we shot the puck enough last game. We have to get traffic in front of him and move east west.”The wholesale authentic nhl jerseys
Red Wings and Lightning might want to work in a power play goal. It was glossed over because Detroit won Game 3 but the Red Wings power play almost blew a major opportunity.

Overall, Detroit is at just 5.9 percent converting in the playoffs. The good news for the Red Wings is that the Lightning are at just 7.1 percent. The Washington Capitals scored more power play goals against the Flyers in the third period on Monday than the Lighting and Red Wings have combined in the playoffs. The team that gets going first on the power play will have a significant edge.

a matter of sticking with it, Red Wings defenseman Mike Green said. talk about it today like we did, make a few minor adjustments. But other than that, we stick with what works. not from a lack of opportunity. The Lightning and Red Wings have combined for 215 penalty minutes in this series, most in the NHL. By comparison, the Ducks and Predators have combined for 30.


Let me begin by saying that this article is purely opinion. Although I feel I have valid points, there is no actual evidence to say that the Buffalo Bills or Buffalo Sabres as organizations are taking advantage of their fans. That being said, to Buffalo sports teams I say, please, stop taking advantage of us and give us something to cheer about.It has been 10 years since the Buffalo Bills even made the playoffs, and no major Buffalo Sports team has ever won their league championship (No, the Bills two AFL Championships do not count).We have come close time and time again and have been disappointed each and every time. Some of these disappointment are simply fate. Wide right the Music City Miracle no goal these are luck and human error plays that cannot be blamed on management.Where the blame begins is with the makeup of these teams themselves. For years, Buffalo sports teams have made poor personnel decisions. This current offseason highlights my frustrations, and the frustration of millions of Buffalonians.Going into the current NFL offseason, the Buffalo Bills were in the process of rebuilding. They were coming off a 6 10 season and had few upside players on their roster. Those few upsides include depth at running back. The Bills had two viable starting running backs to work with they just needed well everything else.So what should the bills do with their ninth overall selection? Take a quarterback to throw the ball to Lee Evans and make it less obvious that we’re going to run on every play? A lineman to block for the backs and protect or mediocre quarterbacks? A defender to plug up the holes in our defense (although I think our defense would be tops in the league if they weren’t on the field for 90 percent of the game)?No. They took a tailback. The one position we already had depth at. Ok, so since the draft is a bust, how about free agency? Did the Bills sign anybody there? Of course not. How about our new coaching staff? Who is Chan Gailey?Clearly, we cannot rely on the Bills to create excitement so let’s turn to the Sabres and the focus of the majority of my anger in Buffalo Sports.Two Words: Darcy Regier.Yes, the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, Darcy John Regier is, in my opinion, the worst administrative professional in all of sports. Dumont, and Martin Biron for little, or no, compensation.Drury and Briere, the cheap authentic jerseys
emotional and scoring leaders of the Buffalo Sabres both left in free agency in the same year. Briere was not even offered a contract. Martin Biron was, at the time, the Sabres starting goaltender and one of the best in the NHL. He was traded for a mere second round pick in the entry draft.Regier almost refuses to do anything to improve the Sabres in any way. This year alone, he let two of our best defensemen leave in free agency and replaced them with just mediocre young defensemen and the aged Rob Niedermeyer who will most likely retire soon. He resigned Patrick Lalime instead of getting Vexzina winner Ryan Miller a viable back up. Now, Miller has to play 70 plus games a year and is burnt out by the time the playoffs rolled around.He made no effort to add scoring despite the Sabres pathetic offensive efforts in 09 10.Regiers efforts as GM have been nothing short of pathetic, and this man should have been fired years ago. The only reason he hasn’t is because the owner Tom Golisano is in it for the money and Regier saves him money by never improving the team.


What do you think of players being challenged to fight after a big but clean hit?Scott Burnside: I guess I’ll never fully understand The Code. In theory shouldn’t The Code applaud a big, hard hit like the one that Jake McCabe of the Buffalo Sabres put on super rookie Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday? Instead, every hit, regardless of whether it’s a clean one or not and let’s be clear, the McCabe hit on Laine was within the rules is followed by players leaping to their teammate’s defense. It happened the moment Laine went down. Guess that’s part of The Code too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s unfortunate cheap jerseys china
that Laine was diagnosed with a concussion. But it would be refreshing to see, just once, a player take a big, clean hit and have players play on as if it these kinds of hits are part of the game. What a concept.

Joe McDonald: I understand coming to the defense of a teammate, but the idea of challenging an opponent after a good, clean hit is getting ridiculous. Hockey is a fast and physical game but it comes to a screeching halt when a player gets knocked off his skates. To the players, I say: Take the hit, suck it up and continue playing. As long as it’s a clean hit, there’s no need to retaliate. I also understand when it’s a franchise player on the receiving end of said hit, but it’s part of the game. It shouldn’t matter if it’s Nos. 99, 66, 87, 97 or any generational player. As long as it’s clean, it’s fair.

Craig Custance:I’m usually in Scott’s camp on this. No need to attack after every clean hit. But in the case of the hit on Laine, we’re talking about one of the game’s best, young players getting absolutely flattened. His teammates had a split second, not the benefit of replays, to decide what they thought of the hit, and I had no issues with them coming to his defense. Plus, if I’m the Jets, I want opposing players thinking twice before lining up Laine. So in this case, I liked the response from Winnipeg.

Corey Pronman: There is something illogical about a player acting within the rules (legal contact) and then subsequently being challenged to act outside the rules (fight and receive a major penalty). I’m sure Winnipeg players at the time would argue they thought McCabe’s hit was illegal. It’s not easy to determine this stuff at the time, given the speed of the play and amid all the emotions. The issue with unwritten codes is it’s hard to know when there’s been a violation. I think the hockey community in general needs to have a hard look at whether this is the way we want our game to operate. Based on recent rule changes at the amateur level, like the OHL for example, it might not be the case in the long term.

Pierre LeBrun: More interesting to me was the reaction from Shea Weber on Saturday night in Toronto after Zach Hyman plowed into Carey Price and the Maple Leafs winger got penalized for it. As most people know about me, I’m not a big fan of fighting but there is a time and a place. Weber tried to engage Hyman at the second period buzzer, and I don’t blame the Leafs rookie for not exactly being interested in a dance with the Montreal Man Mountain. But after Price lost his marbles on Kyle Palmieri earlier this season following being run into by the New Jersey Devils winger, no question a recycled narrative that is re emerging is the protection of goalies. There should be zero tolerance for crashing the crease.


ET). Here what to watch for:

Crosby vs. Oshie’s goals in Game 1, but Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan had zero intention of shying away from that top line matchup in Game 2.

“No, I’m not going to avoid it,” Sullivan said Saturday morning. “We don’t mind that matchup. I think Sid’s line can play against anybody and he’s done that all year long and they’ve produced. Even though they didn’t score the other night doesn’t mean they didn’t have quality chances or have a fair amount of, I think, offensive zone time. We liked a lot of what Sid’s line did, and we feel as though if they continue to play the game the way they’re playing, they’re going to end up on the score sheet.”

Crosby had an outstanding two way season; the defensive part of his game remains so underrated. You can expect a bounce back game from his line in Game 2 if indeed they are matched up again versus Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Oshie.

“We play against a lot of top lines like that and obviously their dynamic is special, they’ve got a great playmaker and a guy that doesn’t need a lot of room,” Crosby said Friday. “It’s about being aware of that, but we have to go out there and have the attitude that we can score too. That’s why you work all year on playing good defensively, playing as a unit out there, and kind of letting the offense take care of itself. I don’t think we need to change a thing. We need to make sure we’re paying attention to the right things and not giving them easy things, but they’re a good line and they’re going to get chances. We’ve got to get ours, too.”

Kunitz in?: Chris Kunitz, who left Game 1 after taking a puck to the side of the head, skated Saturday morning and Sullivan said the veteran Penguins winger would be a game time decision.

“He feeling better,” Sullivan said. “He a tough kid. He wants to play. He’ll be a game time decision. I think he was fortunate with the way that happened. It was kind of a fluke incident.”

Kunitz said Saturday morning after the skate that he felt pretty good and sounded like a guy that was expecting to play. As for getting hit by a puck while sitting on the bench, that a first for him.

“It the first time where you sitting on the bench like that,” said Kunitz. “I just tried to turn and avoid the puck and it found its way up my ear.”

Kunitz missed the rest of the game, he said, because he was undergoing the concussion testing protocol.

Wilson’s side of the story: A day after getting fined for his knee on knee hit on Connor Sheary, rugged Caps winger Tom Wilson insisted he wasn trying to injure the rookie Penguins forward.

“Honestly, on that play I wasn even going to hit him,” Wilson said Saturday morning. “That wasn my intention. I was just trying to kind of bluff cheap authentic jerseys
check him, give him a fake and kind of go to the bench and our legs got caught up. Hockey a fast game, and sometimes stuff happens that you don really intend on. I think it looked a lot worse than the outcome was. The impact really wasn that great. He was trying to get out of the way. Just kind of an unfortunate circumstance, but the league does their job. They watch pretty much all my hits, I sure. When you play the game hard, you going to get under a microscope, and you just got to make sure you playing within the rules.”