The New Jersey Devils aren’t officially out of the Eastern Conference playoff race just yet, but with nine games to close a nine-point gap between themselves and the eighth place Buffalo Sabres, it’s probably a mere formality.
One can only imagine how much closer they could be if their young star Zach Parise didn’t suffer a serious knee injury on November 2nd. There were murmurs of a possibility that Parise might return yesterday and now Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is going on the record that the elite winger should play this season “unless something unforeseen happens.”
Rich Chere has the story. Lamoriello told Chere that Parise still must gain his surgeon’s clearance for contact, so whatever “time frame” the team and the player has, nothing is official yet.
Plenty of people wonder whether or not he’ll be able to come back, but I have a simple question: should he?
Joe rightly brings up the point that Parise will be a restricted free agent this summer, so both the player and the team might want to see where he is at. But is taking a moderate to considerable risk regarding his knee worth it, especially since a few games could be very deceptive – good or bad?
Just look at Brandon Roy of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, who rushed back from a knee injury for a different reason (the playoffs), but aggravated the injury and is still trying to get his career back in order.
It’s highly unlikely that the Devils will still be in the playoff picture by the time Parise is ready to come back, so it would be either simply to play or to prove his worth.
Overall, that seems like short-term thinking for what could be a long-term deal. Maybe the Devils should take a long look at his health. Perhaps Parise should opt for a one-year deal if his knee really is a concern. Either way, the Devils and Parise better make sure he’s really ready to come back.
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.
Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.
The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?
Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:
If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.
An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.
After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.
You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.
Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.
Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.
Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.
Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.
Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.
Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:
Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.
Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.
“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”
Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”
People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.