After a week hiatus, Bertuzzdays are back. In case you are new, every Tuesday on Pro Hockey Talk we vote on the ‘bad boy’ of the NHL from the previous week. It can be a player, coach, owner, official…we have no limits. But if they’ve angered anyone, we’ll vote on them.
1. Andrew Alberts. The Canucks defenseman raised the ire of Kings fans for his boarding of Fredrik Modin. Alberts left his feet, and pasted Modin face first into the boards in a classic boarding incident. Fans around hockey seemed to get even more incensed when he was not handed any extra discipline by the NHL. You can see video of the hit here.
2. Johnny Boychuk. This is an interesting case, because Boychuk didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. But he did whine about a hit by Tyler Myers after game 1, in which Myers caught Boychuk with his head down with a big hit that left him a bit dazed. Last night, Boychuk laid out a big, open ice hit of his own on the Sabres’ Matt Ellis. It was a clean, hard hit but it caught Ellis completely unaware. So which is it? Is it fine for him to lay out those hits, but not take them?
3. Mike Murphy. Canucks fans will appreciate this one, but it’s not just because of his perceived bias for the Kings. No, Murphy has caused all sorts of confusion amongst hockey fans today after his ‘explanation’ on why Daniel Sedin’s goal was ruled a kick. He says that while it wasn’t a “distinct kicking motion” as the rules call for, an amendment to the rule that exists on some mysterious DVD clearly shows this sort of goal would not be allowed. Let’s see this supposed DVD, Mr. Murphy.
4. Habs fans. Listen, we get it. You are emotional, and you have one of the most electric venues in the NHL to play hockey. But that doesn’t excuse you from being completely classless at times. Booing the U.S. anthem? Relentlessly booing your own team? Almost bringing your goaltender to tears? Good job. And for those Canadiens fans that do not fall under this umbrella, we apologize.
PHT Morning Skate: Joel Armia scored an amazing shorthanded goal you’ll have to see to believe
—Joel Armia has developed into a very useful player for the Winnipeg Jets, and on Tuesday night, he scored an incredible end-to-end goal that you won’t want to miss. He fought off one New Jersey Devil then got around two others before scoring this beautiful shorthanded goal. (Top)
–The Score breaks down the best “bang for your buck” contracts on each Canadian team. It’s not shocking to see Senators goalie Mike Condon on this list. The second-year netminder has been with three teams this season, but he’s come through in a big way for the Senators, and he only makes $575,000. (The Score)
–Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” blog touched on some advice David Poile had for the Golden Knights now that the Oakland Raiders will be moving to Vegas. “You have to do your own thing. We created our ‘Predator Way.’ The Smashville idea and name. In-game entertainment fitting the market. Those things worked.” Friedman also wrote about Ken Hitchcock possibly returning to Dallas, and much more. (Sportsnet)
–Brampton Thunder forward Laura Stacey is the great-granddaughter of hall-of-fame defenseman King Clancy. Recently, Stacey decided she wanted to do a little digging into her great-grandfather’s career, and it really allowed her to get an appreciation for everything he accomplished. “Now I understand how hard he worked, how passionate and determined he was to be the best. Yes, it was a different era, but I can only imagine how hard he had to work to get where he was. As I get older, it makes it more special in that I know more the kind of guy he was.” (Canadian Press)
–The Montreal Canadiens have had some incredible defensemen come through their organization, but last night, Andrei Markov was able to reach an impressive milestone. By picking up an assist in a 4-1 win over Dallas, he tied Guy Lapointe for second in points by a defenseman in franchise history. Larry Robinson’s mark is pretty safe.
With assist, Andrei Markov ties Guy Lapointe in all-time points by a defenceman with the #Canadiens (572)- 2nd only to Larry Robinson (883)
The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.
For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.
The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch when they failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).
New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.
This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.
There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, maybe.
On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.
The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.
In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.
The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong regular seasons, even as memories of their Cup win start to fade into the distance. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.
Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to defend Craig Anderson following his blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).
Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.
More Boucher on Anderson: 'For all the saves he’s made this year, and all the times he’s made us win a game, he gave us a point tonight.'