Despite the fact that Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom seemingly deserve most of the attention after being named the 2011 NHL All-Star Game captains, today’s stories are all about Crosby, Crosby and more Sidney Crosby. Now they’re even seemingly conflicting, at least if some rumors are correct.
On one hand, there are reports that Brendan Shanahan said that Crosby “couldn’t have been more cooperative” when the two discussed how his concussion issues might affect the All-Star Game. From the sound of things, it seemed like Crosby would maintain his vanilla personality status and just try his best to get healthy enough to return. After all, Shanahan said that the respect from his peers has “never been higher.”
Yet reports are now circulating that Crosby might make a profound statement about the way the league handles concussion issues by “boycotting” the All-Star Game.
The Globe’s own David Shoalts has stirred up the punch bowl in advance of the announcement of the all-star captains today — Sidney Crosby, still out with concussion symptoms following a pair of hits that weren’t penalized and didn’t draw suspensions, may suspend himself from the festivities: The word filtering out of the Pittsburgh Penguins is that Crosby is an angry young man, angry enough to pull his considerable star presence from one of the league’s showcase events because he does not think the NHL is doing enough to protect its players. An NHL source said Crosby is not likely to tell the NHL he is withdrawing from the all-star game to protest the fact neither player who hit him on the head was suspended. However, he could easily decline and cite the need for complete recovery from a mild concussion.The source said Crosby, who showed up at the all-star game in Montreal two years ago even though he sustained a knee injury and could not play, is not inclined to do any more such favours right now.
Meanwhile Greg Wyshinski, aka Puck Daddy, seems to think that a well-timed leak from the Crosby/Penguins camp is all the protest that is going to happen: I don’t believe Crosby will miss the All-Star Game in protest. I do believe he could miss it due to injury. I also believe that when it comes to making a statement about the NHL ‘s policies, leaking this to the Globe & Mail the day before Crosby’s likely named an All-Star captain *is* the protest.
Well, this could get interesting. It’s obviously all conjecture at this point, but we’ll keep you updated on Crosby’s concussion status (and how it might affect the Pittsburgh Penguins/All-Star Game) going forward.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.