Steven Stamkos, Steve Downie

Mike Weaver boards Steven Stamkos, media instantly reacts

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Traditionally, a Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers game might not get a lot of attention on a busy Saturday night in the NHL. But when the leading goal scorer in the NHL leaves the ice shaken up after a marginal play against the boards, it has a way of getting everyone’s attention pretty quickly.

Within minutes, we saw three different people from three different places with three different perspectives. Here are the knee-jerk reactions from three members of the hockey media:

From Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune

“Hold your breath, Stamkos went hard into the boards after hit from behind by Weaver, skating awkwardly, right let hit hard”

From George Richards of the Miami Herald

“Mike Weaver elbows Steven Stamkos into boards; Steven seems to be OK”

From Jeff Marek of CBC sports

“Can’t believe that Weaver hit was called boarding. Can’t hit from behind, now from the side shoulder-to-shoulder is bad? I quit.”

Stamkos was visibly shaken up on the play, but stayed on the bench and was back on the ice for the last bit of the ensuing power play. But it’s certainly interesting to see how different people can see the same play in such different ways. Was it a board? Was it clean? Was it from the side? Was it between the numbers? Was it an elbow?

For the record, it certainly looked like the officials got it right when they gave Mike Weaver two minutes for boarding. It wasn’t a suspension worthy board and nothing that would warrant a fine, but certainly a check from behind. If anything, I agree with Jeff Marek’s point of view when he says the line is getting blurred between a good check and people flipping out over any check where a player staggers to the bench. No one wants to see a player injured and thankfully Stamkos looks like he just needed a few minutes on the bench, but it’s almost Pavlovian when a player is hit into the boards and struggles to get off the ice. It’s a fast, tough game played by fast, tough players–and no one is looking to change that.

Sometimes it’s difficult to make the distinction between a simple two minute penalty and a huge penalty that deserves supplemental discipline. This is going to come with the territory.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…