As much as I’d prefer to stop talking about dirty hits/blindside hits/questionable hits altogether, I’m sure many of you want to stay informed about them. College hockey apparently has its fair share of problems too, judging by the one game suspension North Dakota Sioux (and Maple Leafs prospect) Matt Fratin received for his hit on Minnesota’s Kevin Wehrs.
We actually touched on the Fratin hit briefly yesterday but didn’t devote an entire post to it. Now seems like a good time to bring it to light. Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy posted video of the hit, along with a little background on Frattin and the decision to suspend him.
Frattin, you may recall, has had a checkered past year at North Dakota. In July, he was arrested, along with Washington Capitals prospect Joe Finley(notes) for “throwing cups, plates, a kitchen table and a lawnmower onto a Grand Forks street” in the middle of the night. He was given a 10-day suspended sentence and put on probation for the incident. Weeks later, Frattin was dismissed from the hockey team after being arrested and charged with a DUI. On December 30th, he was reinstated to the team by North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol and acquitted of the DUI charge in early February.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod told North Dakota that the league felt the hit warranted supplemental punishment aside from the five-minute major, but declined to specify any exact reasoning for the one-game suspension, saying: “I don’t want to get into specific things. There were a number of factors that went into it, though. It wasn’t one single thing.” Herald reporter Brad Elliott Schlossman posted three screen caps of the hit on his blog showing Frattin’s skate remaining on the ice as the hit was being delivered, but the amount of distance he traveled skating towards Wehrs is what drew the “charging” call.
It’s hits like these that occasionally make it difficult to accept the moral conundrum of being a hockey fan. The speed and inherent violence of the game can no doubt be exciting, but reconciling the fact that these are human beings putting their health on the line is difficult. Especially when the players involved aren’t even paid to do so professionally.
From what I’ve read, Wehrs didn’t play the rest of the game so hopefully he didn’t suffer any major injuries.
The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.
(Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)
The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.
It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.
Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.
Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?
The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.
Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).
Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.
Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.
That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.
Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.
Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you. stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.
Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.
Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.
You have to love when sports deliver on – if not exceed – the hype.
The second period of Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals has been brilliant and nasty, possibly more than many hockey fans dreamed.
It began with the Penguins getting the big edge; Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the span of 52 seconds and Braden Holtby needed to make some tough stops to keep it at 2-0.
MORE: Video of Crosby’s hot start
That put a damper on the great crowd at the Verizon Center for a bit, but the Capitals ended up responding.
Part of that was a physical response, with Dmitry Orlov delivering a big hit on Tom Kuhnhackl and John Carlson absolutely leveling Evgeni Malkin. The narrative got almost too obvious moments later, as Alex Ovechkin fired a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-1.
Fleury made a tough stop or two of his own once it was 2-1, so while the pace is picking up, the two goalies seem like they’re alert to the challenge as well.
There was plenty of nastiness with 18.9 seconds remaining in the second, setting the stage for what could be a thrilling third period … and maybe more?
Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins came roaring out of the gate to start the second period after a 0-0 opening frame against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.
Crosby scored two goals in just 52 seconds to give the Penguins a sudden 2-0 lead. One feels some pity for any fans who didn’t get to their seats just to start the frame … though in the likely event that they are Capitals fans, they might have been spared.
To Braden Holtby‘s credit, he made a couple tough saves moments later to keep it 2-0. It’s been a hectic first few minutes of the second after that relatively mundane first 20 minutes, so hang on tight.
Check out video above; you can also watch the pair of goals in the GIF combo below: