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David Steckel tried to apologize for hitting Sidney Crosby at Winter Classic

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For what appeared to be an accidental hit at the time it happened has turned into the seminal moment in the NHL this year. David Steckel’s collision with Sidney Crosby at the end of the second period during the 2011 Winter Classic turned out to be the one moment from the game that still leaves people talking today thanks to the concussion problems Crosby is still facing now more than nine weeks later.

Many Pittsburgh fans have been upset about the hit since that game claiming that Steckel targeted the Pens captain. Others say that it looked to be an accidental collision. We side with those saying it was an accident but if you thought that Steckel was carrying on without a thought as to Sid’s condition, you’d be greatly mistaken as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice found out today.

“It was completely unintentional,” Steckel said. “I didn’t mean to hit him at all. I tried to get out of the way and it’s unfortunate that he’s been out for so long. It’s one of those things that’s uncertain.”

Although it was an accident, Steckel said he reached out to apologize to Crosby through Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was his AHL teammate in Hershey.

“I said, ‘Tell Sid I’m really sorry. I didn’t see him at all,’” Steckel said. “And I haven’t talked to him since.”

Of course the other side of this is whether or not you have to worry about the Penguins still holding a grudge toward Steckel for the hit. Given that the Penguins played the Capitals twice since the Winter Classic with Steckel in the lineup for them and they didn’t go after him then, you can expect the same thing in tonight’s battle between New Jersey, which acquired Steckel in the Jason Arnott deal at the trade deadline, and Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s Mike Rupp told The Star-Ledger that while they still remember what happened with Steckel, expecting payback from them would be short-sighted.

Mike Rupp says Penguins haven’t forgotten about David Steckel’s hit on Sidney Crosby. “Are we going to react? No. We’ve played him twice.”

Seems simple enough. To think that David Steckel would be the guy that had the biggest effect on the Penguins season this year is crazy to even ponder. You’d think that if someone was going to have an effect on Pittsburgh’s season it would be an opposing goalie in the playoffs or a forward/defenseman with the ability to keep Crosby under wraps and off the stats sheet.

Instead it’s a concussion for the league’s biggest star delivered to him in the most accidental of ways on the NHL’s biggest midseason stage. Things are going to change either with equipment or rules in the near future for the NHL to better protect the players and it’ll be David Steckel that will be the answer to a trivia question in which made it all possible.

Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again

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If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”

There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.

Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.

One team climbing, the other stumbling

With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.

During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.

Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.

Canadiens are facing some turbulence (and mostly passing the test)

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 6: Patrik Berglund #21 of the St. Louis Blues checks Tomas Plekanec #14 of the Montreal Canadiens at the Scottrade Center on December 6, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)
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The Montreal Canadiens aren’t in crisis mode, but as far as this so-far outstanding 2016-17 season goes, they are finally facing some adversity.

Alex Galchenyuk, one of their most promising young players, is out indefinitely. There are murmurs that captain Max Pacioretty isn’t getting along with head coach Michel Therrien.* Tuesday presented a body blow or two to boot.

For one thing, the Canadiens gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Jaden Schwartz grabbed an assist and scored the game’s last two goals, including the OT-winner:

Losing to a contender like the Blues, especially while still grabbing a “charity point,” isn’t that big of a deal. A possible David Desharnais injury makes things a little dicey, however:

Really, though, it’s not all that bad for Montreal. They managed a 2-2-1 mark during a five-game road trip heavy on quality opponents.

Also: six of their next seven games come at home, where they’re 12-1-1. So things will look brighter soon enough.

Still, with some injuries and a big road trip to end 2016 and start 2017, there may be some moments where Montreal looks vulnerable.

Ultimately, fighting through stretches like these could very well benefit the Habs later on.

* – Ah, the old standby: “Player X isn’t seeing eye-to-eye with Therrien.”

From the Blues’ side:

Ristolainen, Kane, O’Reilly push Sabres past McDavid and the Oilers

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 16:  Rasmus Ristolainen #55, Matt Moulson #26, Sam Reinhart #23, Kyle Okposo #21 and Ryan OÕReilly #90 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.

In particular, high-scoring defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, power forward Evander Kane and two-way center Ryan O'Reilly made the difference in Buffalo’s 4-3 overtime win.

Ristolainen’s first goal of 2016-17 was a big one, as it clinched the contest in OT:

Evander Kane scored two goals of his own, including one in the dying seconds of regulation to allow Buffalo to get a standings point (and then a second) in the first place.

Kane finished with two goals, O’Reilly generated two assists and Ristolainen managed a one-goal, two-assist performance.

It would be wrong to say that the marquee names didn’t show up at all. McDavid generated two assists and Eichel also nabbed a helper.

You’d be correct in saying that other young players stole the show, though, and the Sabres were the biggest beneficiaries.

Video: Brent Seabrook shaken up after awkward fall

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It wasn’t nearly as scary as the falls suffered by Travis Zajac or Philip Larsen, but the Chicago Blackhawks are still holding their breath when it comes to defenseman Brent Seabrook.

As you can see from the video above, Seabrook was tripped up by Jordan Martinook of the Arizona Coyotes during a simple puck battle. Seabrook was shaken up after falling awkwardly on that play.

At the moment, it’s unclear if this will be an ongoing issue or if the Blackhawks avoided a costly injury.

Martinook was not penalized.

CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers notes that Seabrook wasn’t out to begin the third period. So far, not so good.

The Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0, so the silver lining for Chicago is that they won.