Bettman and the media go toe to toe

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Last night we shared some thoughts from Gary Bettman as quoted by
Dave Lozo of NHL.com, that came from a press conference held before last
night’s Kings and Canucks game. It turns out, as expected, we didn’t
exactly get the full story of what went down.

Turns out there was
some back and forth between Bettman and the Vancouver media, who seem to
be perpetuating this ‘conspiracy’ talk and are determined to uncover
the truth behind the mysterious decision that waived off a goal by
Daniel Sedin. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun shares the back and forth; here’s a snippet:

Q: Has the so-called DVD that was sent to teams, has that
actually changed the rules? Because in the rules, it says there has to
be a distinct kicking motion. Now, apparently, there does not have to
be?

Bettman: Well, I’m going to take issue with your
characterization of a “so-called DVD.” The DVD exists. Whether or not
you’ve seen it or are aware of it doesn’t make it “so-called.” Secondly,
all the rules, obviously, have to be interpreted, standards have to be
applied. And this is something that was reviewed with the general
managers.

I can’t believe that I’m siding with the
NHL and Gary Bettman on this one, but as I’ve covered numerous times the
past few days, the league has already established precedent that there
doesn’t not have to be a ‘distinct kicking motion’ for a goal to be
disallowed. This has happened multiple times in the past few years and
each time the NHL has explained that intentional or not, ‘distinct
kicking motion’ or not, if a puck is propelled into the net by a skate
by anything other than a deflection they’ll call off the goal.

Now,
should the NHL clarify the rule book so that the rest of us aren’t as
confused? Absolutely, and the NHL should also make public the DVD that
was sent to teams. The media and the fans are calling conspiracy, while
we’ve yet to hear any of the players or the Canucks officials cry bloody
murder (although Alain Vigneault wasn’t happy with the call after the
game). Perhaps this is because they’ve remembered this DVD that
clarified this rule, along with others.

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.

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.