Drew Doughty admits he almost showed up late for the Olympic Gold Medal Game

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for doughty.jpgMuch like Jonathan Toews, Drew Doughty played beyond his stunningly young age (20) in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as Team Canada managed to win a gold medal. Doughty fit right in with veterans such as team captain Scott Niedermayer, so it almost seemed like his transition to the highest level of hockey was seamless.

It may have been on the ice, but when it came to getting to the game on time, he looked like … well, a teenager showing up late to work because his alarm clock malfunctioned. Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province caught up with a bashful Doughty, who admitted that he missed both of the team’s buses to the biggest game of his life.

“Who told you that,” said Doughty Saturday morning as a huge smile crept across his face meaning that denying it was pointless anyway at this point unless he thought he was dealing with a total turnip. “Yeah it’s true. I missed both busses, the early and the late but I wasn’t late. We were told we had to be at the rink two hours before the game and I got a cab over and made it on time. Not my proudest moment but it all worked out.”

There was the implication that Doughty had been out the night before hoisting a jar or two although not in Russian style. But given the way he played that day, it seems highly unlikely he had more than one or two and simply slept in for the early 12:15 p.m. start time. But given he wasn’t denying the story, the rest of it goes this way.

Getting a cab from the athletes village to what was being called Canada Hockey Place at the time left you still quite a ways from the actual rink. So he had to go through the gathering crowds and was recognized by several people trying to get near the building entrance. Upon reaching the rink, his story about being who he was met with considerable skepticism from the army of security and it wasn’t until Mike Richards was summoned from the Team Canada dressing room that Doughty made it through to get ready for the game.

Luckily (well, maybe not luckily for Team USA), Doughty was able to play in that game and did well for himself.

If the NHL participates in the Sochi Olympics in 2014, let’s hope Doughty invests in a heartier alarm clock, though. Chances are he’ll be an even more obvious choice as a blue line leader for Team Canada (if he can show up to the games, that it is).

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.