Getting payback in the NHL for being wronged can happen in so many ways. For Boston fans that felt they were wronged by Penguins irritating forward Matt Cooke after his brutal blow to the head of Bruins star Marc Savard, their wont to have Cooke see justice was never truly fulfilled for them and the Bruins were left to stew and be angry about the situation.
Cooke wasn’t suspended for the hit on Savard and when the Penguins and Bruins met later that season, the Bruins not only didn’t get revenge on ice for the hit but they were also humiliated losing the game. This is where Atlanta’s Evander Kane became an accidental cult hero in Boston.
Kane’s one-punch knockout of Cooke in a fight in the final game of the season for the Thrashers became an instant hit in Boston with not just the fans but also with Bruins players. NESN’s Douglas Flynn hears Kane’s side of the story.
“I know when it happened, I got a couple phone calls from the guys,” said Kane after Thursday’s morning skate. “I know it got a lot of buzz throughout the league. It just so happened to be Matt Cooke, who did that to Marc Savard earlier on in the year. I wasn’t really looking for payback for that. It was more for myself and for my team, but I guess it worked out.”
Kane’s KO of Cooke was especially gratifying for Savard’s longtime linemate Milan Lucic.
“I know Milan Lucic pretty well, I played in junior with him [with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League in 2006-07],” said Kane. “So he sent me a text, told me what was going on in Boston. It was a fun time. Like I said, that definitely wasn’t in my mind at all, but I know it got a lot of attention and was a pretty big story.”
Boston fans rallied around video Kane’s KO like they do the replays of the Carlton Fisk home run and Bobby Orr’s magical goal against the Blues. If Kane isn’t given the warmest greeting a visiting player has ever seen in the Garden tonight we’ll be stunned. Anyone booing Kane should probably get the same kind of treatment “Waffle Man” has in Toronto.
Still, it’s weird to have a situation like this and to have it all happen purely out of coincidence. Kane was trying to fire up his team and just so happened to have karma as his corner man going into that scrap. It’s either that or just being named after the former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield really carries a lot of gravitas going into a fight.
Goalie issues continue in Boston.
With both starting netminder Tuukka Rask and back-up Anton Khudobin both out of the lineup due to injury, Malcolm Subban was recalled from the AHL and given the start Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.
But Subban, making his second career NHL start, allowed three goals on 16 shots and was pulled from the crease, giving way to his AHL teammate and fellow emergency recall Zane McIntyre.
Minnesota scored three times in the span of 5:29, which resulted in an early exit for Subban, the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Subban’s lone NHL start didn’t go well, either. He gave up three goals on six shots in 31 minutes.
For those Maple Leafs fans who once hoped Steven Stamkos would go to free agency and sign in Toronto, what transpired Tuesday will probably sting for a bit.
Playing in Toronto for the first time since he re-signed with the Lightning, opting not to test the open market and potentially signing with what is essentially his hometown team, Stamkos scored 1:19 into the contest, after getting sent in alone and beating goalie Frederik Andersen.
That one might hurt.
There was even a smattering of boos directed at Stamkos, who has never played a game for the Leafs, when he first touched the puck during Tuesday’s contest.
You’ll recall that last season, the Stamkos-to-Toronto speculation dominated headlines at times. A bit of a “circus,” indeed.
There were even ‘Sign Stamkos’ signs being handed out to fans prior to a game between the Lightning and Maple Leafs last season.
All signs pointed to it happening earlier in the day, but it is now official: Sidney Crosby is making his 2016-17 debut on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Florida Panthers.
Crosby, the captain of the Penguins and the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, missed the first six games of the season due to a concussion. He was injured during practice following the World Cup of Hockey where he led Canada to a championship. Given how much time he missed a few years ago with a concussion only missing six games a positive development for both him and the Penguins.
Crosby will open the game skating on the Penguins’ top line alongside wingers Patric Hornqvist and Scott Wilson.
Along with Crosby return to the lineup, goaltender Matt Murray is also in uniform for the Penguins for the first time this season and will serve as Marc-Andre Fleury‘s backup.
Murray, who took over the starting job in the playoffs last year when Fleury was sidelined at the start of the first round, was injured at the World Cup while playing for Team North America and has been sidelined since.
Even with the return of Crosby and Murray on Tuesday the Penguins are still missing a pretty significant player as defenseman Kris Letang remains sidelined with an upper body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. This match-up features two teams off to slow starts and looking to work their way up the standings in their respective divisions.
You can check out the action on NBCSN or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (7:30 pm ET).
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Flyers put Raffl (upper body) on IR
NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks
Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart