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


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.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
Leave a comment

Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.