Jimmy Howard takes on Sidney Crosby

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Last night’s game between the Red Wings and Penguins felt like it was
played between two teams that have battled in the Stanley Cup finals in
two straight seasons. It was intense, it was emotional and in the end
it got a bit out of hand. (Video
here
)

As time expired in Detroit’s 3-1 win, Sidney Crosby took the faceoff
and immediately began to cross check Henrik Zetterberg. Again and again
as the seconds ticked down, he went after Zetterberg who was trying to
actually play defense.

As expected, the Red Wings weren’t too happy. Zetterberg went right
after Crosby, Bertuzzi got a couple of requisite shots in and then Jimmy
Howard stepped in and did his part. Here are some good quotes from both
sides on the incident, via
Ansar Khan of MLive.com
:

Jimmy Howard – “Just helping out a teammate, that’s all. It’s
become quite the rivalry, and we stick together out there. He does that
stuff all the time. Somehow he gets away with it. Z doesn’t take any of
that. He went right back at him, and I stepped in there, too.”

Sidney Crosby – “I don’t know what [Howard] was doing. It was
one of those things, a couple guys battling at the end. I knew the
linesman was in there. I don’t know whether (Howard) wanted a free
shot, but I don’t think it was any place for him to be.”

Henrik Zetterberg – “I don’t know if he gets away with it. He
plays with a lot of emotion, a lot of heart. Sometimes, it comes out
the wrong way. I might be doing the same thing if (the score) were the
other way. I saw Jimmy coming in with his glove and Crosby wasn’t there
anymore.”

Of all of these, I love Zetterberg’s reaction the
best. He could have come off the ice, spouting how Crosby is spoiled, a
dirty player and how never penalized, yadda, yadda, yadda. Instead, he
talked of Crosby’s competitiveness and the intense — and professional –
rivalry that has built between the two players. Personally, I prefer
that sort of rivalry over one that is built through hate and discontent.
But that’s just me.

As far as Crosby’s take on Howard’s reaction:
What did he expect to happen?

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.