Yesterday was a banner day for hockey in the United States, as the
U.S. team took the Canadians to the brink in an electrifying gold medal
game that wasn’t decided until overtime. For many, it was one of the
greatest hockey games they’ve ever seen which is interesting since many
were saying that about the first USA-Canada game.
But it wasn’t
just the hardcore hockey fans that enjoyed the game in the United
States. On the last day of the Olympics, the gold medal game became
became the most-watched hockey since 1980.
Lepore of Puck The Media:
According to Sports
Business Daily (reg.
required), the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Game drew an astronomical
17.6/33 overnight rating. This is up 46% from the 2002 USA/Canada
showdown, and will very likely be the highest-rated hockey game since
1980. The share means that 1 in every 3 Americans with a TV were
watching the game. This is, to put it professionally, out of this
Sunday’s game is on pace to finish as the highest rated hockey
telecast in the United States since 1980.
To put the numbers in perspective, Sunday’s game drew a higher
overnight rating than every World Series game since 2004 (including
every game of Yankees/Phillies last year), every NBA Finals telecast
since 1998, and every NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game since at
Excluding the NFL, the 17.6 overnight for the game is the
second-highest of the year for any sporting event, behind only the
Texas/Alabama BCS National Championship Game in January (18.2).
It was a triumphant day for USA hockey and hockey fans all over the
United States, as 25 million people tuned in to watch the game. Despite a
heartbreaking loss in overtime, the hope is that the NHL retains the
fans they gained for the day, building the sport even more in the U.S.
is a sport that has been working valiantly to recover from the lockout
five years ago, and yesterday’s incredible game is being talked about in
every corner of the United States. That can only be a good thing for
the NHL moving forward.
The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.
The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.
Here’s the goal:
Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.
Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.
Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.
Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.
The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.
Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.
The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.
It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.
After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.
In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.
You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.
It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:
Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:
You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.
After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.
“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.
“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”
After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.
“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”
And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.
—Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta
Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.
Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.
Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:
“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”
To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.
This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.