NHL in Winnipeg

Drive to 13 complete: Winnipeg season tickets sell out in 17 minutes

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To little surprise, the Drive to 13,000 season ticket holders was completed once tickets became available to the general public today. The more amazing part was the rapid speed in which it happened: Winnipeg fans reportedly only took four minutes to scoop up the 5,842 (or so) tickets that remained, while it took 17 minutes to process all the orders.

True North Sports and Entertainment is now compiling a season ticket waiting list for fans who weren’t able to get tickets. One cannot help but wonder if those waiting lists will rival the tradition of highly-contested ticket deals that Green Bay Packers fans are famous for in Wisconsin. (Pension Plan Puppets’ Chemmy said that they already have 4,000 fans on their waiting list, but that’s not an official number.)

One of the biggest questions for eager fans revolved around how well the Drive to 13 site would handle the huge rush of traffic that would hit its Web site around noon central time. ChrisD.ca reports that it was Ticketmaster’s Web site that ran slowly, instead.

With their stated goal of reaching 13,000 season tickets now a reality, we wait for True North to back up their promise by announcing the new team’s name. We’ll let you know the verdict once it is announced. In the mean time, here’s a quick statement from True North.

“The success of the campaign is a key ingredient to ensuring the sustainability and long-term viability of NHL hockey in this province,” said Jim Ludlow, President & CEO, True North Sports & Entertainment. “We look forward to seeing everyone this Fall at MTS Centre for opening night of regular season NHL hockey in Winnipeg.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was impressed with the speed of the sale.

“While I had no doubt the ‘Drive to 13,000′ would reach its destination, the remarkable speed at which it got there certifies the fans’ hunger for NHL hockey and their commitment to True North’s initiatives.”

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.