Did Fisher's hit on Kaleta warrant a misconduct?

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Last night against the Buffalo Sabres late in the first period, Mike Fisher was given a five
minute major for boarding on Patrick Kaleta and then given a game
misconduct as well. It was similar to the hit by Alex Ovechkin on Brian
Campbell (of course, it’s not getting as much attention nationally) but
at the same time it wasn’t. It certainly didn’t appear on replays that
Fisher had shoved Kaleta to the boards; in fact, Fisher claims Kaleta
embellished the fall just a bit
:

“I didn’t touch him. He should be
playing soccer. I’m not going to
criticize. It’s a tough call to make if you’re a ways away. I saw the
replay and it was definitely a dive. He embarrassed himself.”

I’m
not one to completely discredit someone who falls into the boards that
hard. If Kaleta did a take dive there, it was an incredibly dumb thing to
do; he was hurt on the play and didn’t return to the game didn’t return to the game until the third period. But was this
truly a case of Fisher dangerously shoving Kaleta into the boards? Since
NHL.com doesn’t have the play on video, after the jump we go through a
series of photos to try to make the determination.

Kaleta and
Fisher were racing for the puck on an icing call, with Kaleta slowing
down directly in front of Fisher. Fisher has his hands up in a natural
position as he gets ready for what is most likely a violent crash into
the boards.

Fisher1.jpg

It’s something you see all the time, especially as two
players race to the puck. You can also see that Kaleta has the brakes
on in full, while Fisher does not. This is similar in car race, where
the car in front brakes quicker that the car on his bumper, creating a
bump and spin out.

Fisher2.jpg

So the issue at hand is whether Fisher extended
his hands out, and aided Kaleta to lose his balance and hit the boards.
This is just a split second after the first picture, as Fisher’s left
arm seems to be in almost the exact same position as before. Kaleta is
already starting to brace himself, leaning forward.

Fisher3.jpg

Kaleta loses
his balance and falls forward. He’s a good distance away from the
boards, and it’s a violent collision. It’s not something you want to
see. But Fishers left arm is still in almost the exact same position as
before. We can’t get a good look at his right, but how much of a shove
could he give him?

This really isn’t all that similar to
Ovechkin’s hit, as the players involved were in two separate positions.
Campbell and Ovechkin were racing for the puck, but Campbell came back
around and in front of Ovechkin and was then hit. Kaleta and Fisher were
racing side by side for the puck, with Kaleta getting front position on
Fisher as they braced to touch up the puck.

Fisher certainly
didn’t “hit” Kaleta, though there’s no doubt he had position directly
behind him. Should Fisher be at fault for having his hand on Kaleta’s
back, who then loses his balance and goes head first into the boards?

How
about the NHL enforce no-touch icing, like everyone wants, so that we
don’t have these type of ‘hits’ or falls any longer?

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

Stanley Cup
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After three full days without NHL action, the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks will get underway tonight. You can watch the game via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

San Jose at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)

The television broadcast of Game 1 will be on NBC. To stream the contest using the Live Extra app, click here.

We wrote a lot about this series over the weekend. If you haven’t taken a look yet, here are the relevant links:

Penguins or Sharks? PHT makes its Stanley Cup Final picks

Penguins, Sharks discuss bumpy road to Stanley Cup Final

Yes, Thornton and Marleau have been dreaming of a run like this

Sharks and DeBoer ready for Pittsburgh, ‘the fastest team in the league’

Fleury: Now’s not the time to think about future in Pittsburgh

Should Lightning trade Bishop and hand the torch to Vasilevskiy?

Pittsburgh Med: Bonino ‘fine,’ Letang MIA and Daley not ruling out a return (Update)

Matt Nieto should be available to play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

Subtle but effective offseason pushed Sharks to next level

Report: Semin will stay in KHL for 2016-17

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 11:  Alexander Semin #13 of the Montreal Canadiens skates during the NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on October 11, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-1.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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It seems there will be no NHL comeback attempt by Alex Semin. At least not in 2016-17.

Instead, Semin has inked a one-year extension with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko.

At 32 years old, Semin still could have a lot of years left in him as a professional hockey player, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played in his last NHL game. Early in his career his talent was clear and demonstrated by some great showings offensively, but he was plagued by inconsistency. In recent years though, he wasn’t so much inconsistent as he was underwhelming.

After being limited to six goals and 19 points in 57 games with Carolina in 2014-15, the one-time 40-goal scorer was bought out of his five-year, $35 million contract just two seasons into it. Montreal took a chance on him for 2015-16, but he only appeared in 15 games with the Canadiens before they put him on unconditional waivers on Dec. 9.

He’s fared better in the KHL though, with five goals and 14 points in 20 regular season games followed by another seven markers and 15 points in 23 playoff contests.

PHT Morning Skate: Predicting the 2016 Stanley Cup Final

San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski celebrates after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild duyring the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. San Jose won 4-3. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Among the 21 NHL.com and NHL Network experts offering their prediction for the Stanley Cup Final, 17 of them are choosing the San Jose Sharks. (NHL.com)

The majority of ESPN’s experts are also picking the Sharks. (ESPN.com)

For CBS Sports, Adam Gretz and Chris Peters are split on the outcome. (CBS Sports)

Tickets for the first Stanley Cup Final in San Jose appear to be going for significantly more than their Pittsburgh Penguins counterparts. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Inspired by John Scott‘s comments, here’s the start of a World Cup All-Snubs’ team. (TSN)

Peter DeBoer said that then New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello fired him from the Devils’ head coaching job late at night on Christmas. The news then broke on Dec. 26. (Tom Gulitti)

Vegas tabs Joe Pavelski as Conn Smythe frontrunner

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 21:  Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks awaits a face off against the St. Louis Blues in game four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 21, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins are Vegas favorites to win the 2016 Stanley Cup, but the odds lean toward a San Jose Sharks player capturing the Conn Smythe.

Bovada released a variety of odds on Sunday after others surfaced on Friday.

Joe Pavelski is pegged as a +400 favorite as a winner, edging some other top candidates such as Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Matt Murray.

Here’s the full list:

Pavelski +400
Crosby +500
Kessel +500
Murray +500
Logan Couture +500
Martin Jones +600
Brent Burns +700
Joe Thornton +900
Evgeni Malkin +900
Kris Letang +1400

Bovada also released prop bets, including how long the series might last. Check that out here.