Image (1) chelioswavesgoodbye-thumb-250x345-17638-thumb-250x345-17639.jpg for post 15121

Will there be mixed feelings for Blackhawks fans during Chris Chelios Heritage Night?

During his earlier playing days (waits for “Paleozoic Era” jokes) with the Chicago Blackhawks, Chris Chelios claimed that he would never play for the Detroit Red Wings. Instead, he played parts of 10 seasons in the Motor City compared to nine and a half campaigns as an elite blueliner in the Windy City.

Let’s face it, sports are ultimately frivolous forms of entertainment, so throwing the term “betrayal” around is as hyperbolic as comparing athletes who fight through injuries to “warriors.”

Yet that might be a decent way of describing how Blackhawks fans felt (and feel?) about Chelios. After all, when the team announced that they would hold a heritage night in his honor (tonight as the team takes on the Red Wings), Chicago fans greeted the news with “an overwhelming amount of booing.”

The team has done a fantastic job of mending the fences with its former stars after the death of Bill Wirtz, honoring players such as Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Bob Probert and more. There were plenty of emotions flying around during those nights, but it’s hard not to wonder what kind of reaction he might receive.

Don’t forget that he definitely made a big impact on the team in the ’90s, something the team discusses.

“I’m very proud to be honored in this way by the Chicago Blackhawks organization,” said Chelios. “This will be a special night for my family and I and I’m happy to be able to share it with the great fans of the Blackhawks.”

Chelios spent nine of his 26 National Hockey League seasons in a Blackhawks uniform, collecting 487 points (92G, 395A) and 1,495 penalty minutes in 664 regular-season games from 1990 to 1999. His 1,495 career penalty minutes during the regular season are a franchise record while his 395 assists and 487 points are third-most among Chicago blueliners. Chelios holds the single season record by a Blackhawks defenseman with 58 assists in both 1992-93 and 1995-96. He also posted a point in 15 consecutive games during the 1995-96 season, a franchise record by a blueliner.

It’s understandable that Blackhawks fans hold a grudge against the great defenseman, but maybe for one night, they can remember the good times instead.

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

2 Comments

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

3 Comments

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.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

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

18 Comments

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

83 Comments

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.