Explaining the "too many men" penalty

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Bruins4.jpgAfter all of the “too many men” penalties we’ve seen in the playoffs,
it was inevitable that one would occur in historic fashion. The Boston
Bruins were trying their best to fight off the Flyers in the third
period of Game 7, having already given up a 3-0 lead and were close to
finishing off a monumental collapse.

Then, the team was caught
with too many men on the ice and the Flyers scored to go-ahead goal on
the ensuing power play. The first thing I thought of was the too many
men the San Jose Sharks weren’t caught with against the Red Wings
(although that was far from a deciding factor), then my next thought was
this had better not be a ticky tack call.

Was it legitimate? A
mix up involving Marc Savard and the bench led to too many men involved
in the play. There were two centers out on the ice, something a number
of the Bruins players noticed immediately.
Chad Finn of the Bruins Blog
passes along these explanations from
the Bruins:

“We had a player [Savard] with his stick
up like he wanted to make a
change, then he changed his mind,” coach Claude Julien explained. “So we
had the next center [Sobotka] jumping on”

“I saw two centermen out there, and I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ “”
Lucic said of the penalty, which happened at the 8:50 mark of the final
period. “Obviously something happened, there was a miscommunication and
we had to get off before we got caught. We got caught.”

According to the Bruins, Savard skated over for a change but didn’t
see anyone coming on so he stayed on the ice. The Bruins weren’t able to
cover up the gaffe quick enough and were caught. It certainly seems as
though a legitimate call was made, especially when this wasn’t just an
instance of a lazy change resulting in too many men actually out on the
ice. This was a mistake by the bench.

Apparently, Mark Recchi and Shawn Thornton didn’t agree with the
call, but when the coach isn’t making a stink about it generally that
means a good call was made.

“Well, I want to play a couple more years in this league so I don’t
want to bad mouth [the officials] too much,” Thornton said. “I do think
. . . I had a pretty good seat for the third period, and I was close to
where the guy was changing and I think it was very, very, very gutsy
call with seven minutes left with all of the other [expletive] that’s
going on out there.”

Of course, this loss can hardly be pinned on the penalty or the
ensuing goal. This loss was about the Bruins failing to keep the
pressure on after grabbing a big, this was about the Bruins once again
lacking the killer instinct needed to win four straight elimination
games.

Jaromir Jagr leaves game with lower body injury

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Calgary Flames forward Jaromir Jagr played just four shifts on Saturday night before exiting their game against the Minnesota Wild in the first period.

The Flames later announced that Jagr would not return with what the team is calling a lower body injury.

They had no other update.

After going through the entire summer unsigned as a free agent, Jagr finally landed a one-year deal with the Flames just before the start of the season. So far he has appeared in five games for the team recording a pair of assists.

He recorded 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) while playing in all 82 games for the Florida Panthers a year ago.

Even though he appeared in every game a year ago he still showed some signs of finally starting to slow down, and you have to assume that there is going to be some sort of an injury concern for a player that is turning 46 years old in February.

Senators top Maple Leafs but lose Bobby Ryan for a month

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The Ottawa Senators’ 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night came with a price.

After the game coach Guy Boucher confirmed that veteran forward Bobby Ryan broke his right index finger during the game and is expected to miss at least the next month.

Ryan has yet to score a goal for the Senators in eight games this season but has recorded five assists.

He fought through an injury plagued season in 2016-17 that ended with one of the worst individual stat lines of his career. He was able to salvage the season however with a tremendous postseason performance that saw him finish with 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 19 games as the Senators went all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals where they would lose in double overtime.

The Senators are off to a great start this season earning at least a point in seven of their first eight games (4-1-3).

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

The Penguins seem to have a backup goalie problem

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The Penguins worked to address one area of concern on Saturday when they acquired forward Riley Sheahan from the Detroit Red Wings.

Now they need to start working on another major area of concern — their backup goalie.

The Penguins had to know Antti Niemi was never going to step into Pittsburgh and replace what Marc-Andre Fleury gave them on the ice, but they had to be expecting a little more than what they have received thus far.

After giving up seven goals in the Penguins’ 7-1 loss in Tampa Bay on Saturday night, Niemi has now given up 16 goals in 128 minutes of hockey this season. His save percentage is a brutal .797.

In games Niemi starts the Penguins are 0-3 and have been outscored 22-6, losing games by margins of 10-1 and 7-1.

In the games he hasn’t started they are 5-0-1 and have outscored their opponents 24-17.

It would be unfair to put all of the blame on Niemi, because even with regular starter Matt Murray in net they have also had stretches where they have struggled defensively and not quite played at the level they showed the past two seasons.

Niemi has also made all of his starts in the second half of back-to-back situations against teams that were not only rested the night before, but also teams that should be among the best in the league this season (the Chicago Blackhawks, two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning).

But none of that can excuse the way Niemi himself has played thus far, either. At some point you  need your goalie to make a save no matter who your team is playing or what is happening around him. His rebound control has been shaky, he looks uncomfortable when he is making saves and it is not like he is coming off of a great performance a year ago. In 42 appearances with the Dallas Stars he finished with an .892 save percentage, one of the worst marks in the league, and was at .905 the year before. He is 34 years old and has not performed at a better than league average level (or even at a league average level) in several years.

It has to be an area of concern for the Penguins because if Murray has a flaw early in his young career it is that he has missed some time due to injury. In the past they have had Fleury there to step in. They do not have that luxury now.

Niemi is only signed for one year at $700,000 so it is not like they have a huge investment in him.

If they decide to go in another direction already (they will probably give Niemi a little bit of a longer leash, I am sure) they have Tristan Jarry in the American Hockey League, or perhaps explore a trade if they are uncomfortable with such a young duo and inexperienced backup behind Murray.

Either way, it is really difficult to see them sticking around with this sort of performance from their backup for much longer.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

WATCH LIVE: Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals

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The Washington Capitals, fresh off of a 4-3 overtime win on Friday night thanks to Alex Ovechkin‘s NHL record 20th overtime goal, return home on Saturday night to host the Florida Panthers.

After winning their first two games of the season the Capitals have stumbled a little bit over the past couple of weeks winning just two of their past six games. They are looking to win consecutive games for the first time since those back-to-back wins to open the season.

The Panthers, meanwhile, are coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night that cost them goaltender Roberto Luongo who was placed on injured reserve on Saturday afternoon.

You can catch all of the action on NBCSN. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET.

Click here to watch live.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.