Islanders activate Rick DiPietro from injured reserve, seeks to avoid punches upon return

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Warm up your punchlines everyone, Rick DiPietro is back for the Islanders. New York activated the much maligned goaltender off of injured reserve after he’s missed the last few weeks with a knee injury and facial fractures suffered from his altercation with Penguins goalie Brent Johnson.

DiPietro has once again been on and off the injured list this year leading the Islanders to do awkward and frustrating dances with different goalies this season ranging from Kevin Poulin, to Al Montoya, to Nathan Lawson who was sent down to make room for DiPietro.

DiPietro joins Al Montoya in the crease for the Islanders the rest of the way and while DiPietro’s injuries have been frustrating for the Islanders, making things more frustrating for them is the fact DiPietro had been playing pretty well when he’s been in this year. With Montoya leading the way in goal now the Isles are playing outstanding hockey in the second half of the season. Seeing how DiPietro handles things with a team that doesn’t give up in front of him has the high potential for great entertainment.

We’d be remiss if we neglected to mention that the Islanders also have one more game left this year with Pittsburgh on April 8 in Long Island. We’re hoping that DiPietro at least got a couple boxing lessons during his latest stint on the shelf on the off chance that things get really ugly one more time this year.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.