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Was Carolina’s Tim Gleason wrong to drop the gloves with Toronto’s Nikolai Kulemin?

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When fights break out in the NHL usually there’s a protocol for how things go down. Guys will shove each other, words will be exchanged and usually an agreement on dropping the gloves goes down. During last night’s game between Carolina and Toronto the unspoken language of fighting (read: smashing gloves into each others faces) didn’t seem to send the same message between Carolina’s experienced fighting machine Tim Gleason and Toronto’s newbie to pugilism Nikolai Kulemin.

Kulemin and Gleason got entangled near the bench at the end of the first period and Kulemin started shoving Gleason including catching him with a couple of gloved shots to the face. In Tim Gleason’s world, punching a guy in the face, glove or no glove, means it’s “go” time. Gleason grabbed Kulemin and paired off to fight with his gloves seemingly peeling off. One uppercut on the nose later, Kulemin was down on the ice and Gleason had won yet another fight. (See video here)

After the game, opinions differed on how things went down. AM 640’s Jonas Siegel got the lowdown from the Toronto room that saw a difference of opinion all around. Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur was none too pleased with Gleason.

“It was a cheap shot,” said an infuriated Clarke MacArthur, who registered his first official NHL fight with Chad Larose earlier in the period.

“I don’t know if he’s smart enough—probably not—but he should know that Kulemin’s not a fighter. I think Kulie just went in there to stick up for teammates and Gleason obviously isn’t that smart. Kulie didn’t drop his gloves and he gets suckered like that.

“I was disgusted with that. There’s certain matchups on the ice. I don’t care what he says. You know when you’re in the right matchup. Kulemin’s never been a guy to fight and Gleason does it a lot. He knows better than that.”

It’s fair to saw that Gleason probably didn’t get a good look at the number or name of the guy that was busy punching his own face and therefore had no idea that Kulemin was a total novice when it comes to fighting. Leafs coach Ron Wilson took a decidedly different look at things though.

“They were in a fight and he got it right in the face,” said Wilson, who coached Gleason with Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics last February. “The appropriate action happened. It wasn’t a sucker-punch or anything like that. Kulie was throwing punches with his gloves on and then Gleason dropped his gloves and beat him to the punch.”

As you may have seen in the video the interesting part of the whole mess was that Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf stood by the scene and did nothing to respond to Gleason. Very odd. It’s strange to see players and coach differ so wildly in their take on things as you’ll almost always see the coach get very indignant and at least verbally stick up for his player even if they’re in the wrong. In this case, Wilson’s stand is either oddly refreshing or completely infuriating depending on your thoughts on him as a Leafs fan.

Was Gleason wrong in this situation? We’re inclined to think he isn’t. After all, he’s a guy with a fighting past and when you enter his world and you start acting the way Kulemin did giving him the physical means of saying “let’s go” that’s the language he speaks. Lost in translation here is that Kulemin got way in over his head and paid for it in doing so. If Kulemin isn’t intent on fighting a guy next time, mixing it up with someone more his speed would be wiser.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.