Vote for Bertuzzday III: Shame with a Vengeance

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For the first time since I started handing out the Bertuzzday award, there isn’t really a “hot button” issue at hand. Sure, there have been some questionable (at best) hits, but not on the atom bomb scale of Matt Cooke or Alex Ovechkin’s transgressions.

That doesn’t mean that I’m just going to roll over and die on this one, gumshoes. As a matter of fact, there is still a treasure trove of boneheaded blunders this week, so check out our nominees and then cast your vote for Bertuzzday III: shame with a vengeance!

Devan Dubnyk’s intestines: This might be as close as I’ll ever get to my dream of reading an injury report that says that someone is “day-to-day with mud butt.” In case you haven’t read it already, Dubnyk is going to need to miss the Oilers’ next game with a gastrointestinal problem. I can relate to Dubes, as Taco Bell’s fresco tacos are making me feel pretty “hour-to-hour” right now.

Rocky Wirtz: Rocky seems like Einstein compared to his father “Dollar” Bill nine times out of ten, but apparently he’s not completely immune to some brain farts. As Brandon reported earlier, the Blackhawks’ owner said that Alex Ovechkin should have been given the Hammurabi Code treatment for his hit on Brian Campbell (in other words, that Ovechkin should have been suspended for the rest of the season). Easy there, Rock.

San Jose Sharks: Most weeks I’ll try to pick on one team that is particularly lost/clueless/rudderless and this week’s nomination is the Sharks. The Coyotes are a fantastic story, but San Jose’s six game free fall is still something that deserves a bit of mockery.

Vinny Prospal: The complaints that the league only looks at dirty hits if a player sustains an injury are quite justified as little was made of Prospal’s hit from behind last Sunday. Still, take a look for yourself: it’s another example of the league’s problems with reckless and unnecessarily dangerous checks.

Other: As always, there’s a chance that I missed a significant blunder. That’s why there’s always a slot to enter your own choice (just try to remember that this is a weekly award, not a lifetime achievement kind of thing).

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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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.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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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:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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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.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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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.