While we’ve heard from many people speaking out about head shots around the league, we haven’t heard from many of the league’s youngest stars about what their take on the situation is across the league. Whether or not they’re being asked about it or if they’ve even given it a thought is unknown, but Tampa Bay’s Steve Stamkos is speaking up.
“At the end of the day, in my opinion, we need to respect our opponents a little bit better. It falls on our shoulder. You know what you are doing when you hit a guy, and a lot of people say it’s a fast paced game and for an outsider, it is fast. But for us it does slow down a little bit and you do have that split-second to realize what you are doing.
“Everyone is accountable whether you are getting hit or you are the one enforcing the hit. You have to know where you are on the ice, you have to know who is out there, what the situation is and it’s just been way too many players this year.”
Stamkos went on to cite Sidney Crosby and Brad Richards as big stars that have been affected by blows to the head. He also says that it’s on the players to make sure things improve on the ice and that guys aren’t taking each other out needlessly.
By the way, Stamkos is just 21 years-old. Savvy veteran speak and intelligence from one of the league’s biggest and youngest rising stars. It’s a great and refreshing thing to hear this from Stamkos because the league does have a problem, especially when it comes to player respect in making sure no one seriously injures one another.
While it’s customary to hear from guys after they’ve been injured or after a teammate has been hurt, Stamkos offering up his smart take on this without an incident that hit close to home is fantastic. Let’s hope it’s not the last we hear from him because the league’s biggest stars need to be the leaders on matters like this.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.