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Derick Brassard apologizes for comments he made about Columbus Blue Jackets owner

If there’s one thing that any journalist young or old should have – besides a sturdy flask for booze, of course – it’s a recording device of some kind. In fact, if you’re in the business of tracking down juicy quotes, you might as well “bug” yourself with a microphone like an undercover cop (though you should remind your subject that what they’re saying is on the record).

The reason I bring this up is that there’s a common pattern in sports interviewing. It goes a little something like this:

1. Talk show host/journalist asks question that could be harmless or could be a pot-stirring prompt.

2. Player doesn’t think about the deeper implications of what they are saying, gives a provocative quote that: a) is blown out of proportion or b) is totally kept in context because the comment is explosive.

3. Everyone heats up as the controversy boils over.

4. Player denies the comment in some way, typically saying that their comment was taken out of context or something similar.

Steps No. 2 and 4 are especially prevalent in the most recent foot-in-mouth-moment for an NHL player, as Columbus Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard made some comments about the team’s owner that he regrets. That being said, the talented but fragile forward claims that the interview was (gasp) manipulated to squeeze out the maximum amount of controversy.

This situation is typical, except for one bonus point: the interview was conducted in French. Brassard provided his side of the story to the Columbus Dispatch.

Brassard apologized profusely this morning. He could have chosen his words more carefully, Brassard agreed. But he also said the radio station misconstrued his words and inaccurately portrayed his comments when they posted them on their Web page.

“It’s not something I said that I would take back, but it’s something I would do with other words,” Brassard said. “I didn’t express myself well, and the Montreal media … they tried to get a headline of me.”

You can read more about the exact details in that Columbus Dispatch article.

The real lesson here, though, is that players don’t need to operate in a solely cliche-ridden world … but they should choose their words more carefully. My prediction is that this little bit of history will continue to repeat itself over and over again, though.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.