Inside the Evgeni Malkin-Rick Nash fight

malkinvsnash.jpg(Image via Nicole Shuster, originally found at The Pensblog.)

During the Calgary Flames magical playoff run that brought them within one win of a Stanley Cup, Jarome Iginla made a name for himself by scoring a ton of the team’s goals but also made waves by fighting just about anyone. It was a rare moment in which a star player acquitted himself nicely in the field of fisticuffs.

While this bout is far from Cam Janssen’s two and a half minute long fight, Evgeni Makin and Rick Nash dropped the gloves in last night’s 3-1 Penguins win. (Watch the video here.)

Almost 91 percent of Hockey’s readers gave Malkin the “win” while 4.5 percent chose “draw” and the remaining 4.5 percent somehow thought Nash won the battle.

The Pensblog put up some interesting stills of the fight as they were waiting for video footage. Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy provided a little write-up of the fight while the Columbus Dispatch’s Puck-Rakers Blog provided some interesting context that might explain why it happened in the first place.

Nash showed leadership throughout the game including a big open-ice hit on Malkin in the second period. The line of Nash, Derick Brassard and Voracek held its own against the Makin, Crosby and Brett Sterling. The Jackets’ trio combined for six shots and was on the ice for a goal for each team. Malkin got the best of Nash in the fight as he managed to pull the captain’s jersey over his head. “I don’t know if that was left over from the Olympics, but you don’t see that often,” Arniel said of two star fighting.

Nash said Malkin slashed him repeatedly during faceoffs. Malkin is a competitor, and you’ve got to believe open-ice hit didn’t sit well with the big Russian.

Said Nash: That’s part of the game. You battle with one player all night and sometimes it ends up in a fight.”

Interesting stuff there. Too bad the Penguins and Blue Jackets play in different conferences, because it sounds like the two teams could develop an interesting mini-rivalry. Again, if you want to see the video, click here.

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”

Sutter: Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

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Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.

The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.

“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”

“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”

Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.

“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”

The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…