When Ryan O’Byrne signed a contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche, it was natural to make jokes about his own-goal and purse-snatching blunders. Some players have the regrettable moments that we cannot help but rehash over and over again, like hockey-playing versions of that profane Winnebago Man. (One almost wonders if Mark Recchi is retiring in part to avoid jokes about his not-so-scientific critiques of Max Pacioretty.)
Rugged defenseman Andy Sutton probably fits under that category. Hockey fans with long memories will likely spout one line when they hear Sutton’s name: “Are you an expert?” Maybe it’s not as profane a moment as Winnebago Man’s expletive-laced outbursts or as humiliating a moment as “Boom goes the dynamite,” but that awkward exchange with a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter will probably follow Sutton until he retires. The moment was even given the Facebook treatment, one of life’s great backhanded compliments.
If his career path is any indication, then that phrase will need to do some legwork to keep up with his movements. He went from the New York Islanders to the Ottawa Senators during the 2009-10 season, then played with the Anaheim Ducks in 2010-11. He’ll need to find new experts in a new city now, though, as the Ducks traded him to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Kurtis Foster.
Foster’s story might be the opposite of Sutton’s plot. Where Sutton might receive some jeers and laughter, Foster is an inspirational story. His career was in jeopardy after he suffered a broken leg when Torrey Mitchell hit him after Foster touched the puck on an icing play, but Foster fought back to become an everyday player again.
From a hockey standpoint, it’s a lateral move, though. Sutton is probably more responsible in his own end as more of a defensive defenseman while Foster’s laser beam slap shot makes him more useful offensively. They’re both big guys (Sutton’s listed at 6-6, Foster is listed at 6-5) who are depth blueliners, so it’s not a game-changer.
It will, however, give some Oilers humorists a couple extra punchlines during a strange day of hockey transactions.
The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.
“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”
Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.
PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.
Subban did tweet a thanks for support:
A little context makes that a little sad, too.
Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”
The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.
Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.
It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.
Could there be more?
There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.
Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.
He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).
Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.
As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.
Alex Ovechkin scored to join Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as only players with at least 30 goals in each of their first 11 NHL seasons, and Matt Niskanen netted the game winner as Washington beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon on Super Bowl Sunday.
Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz replied for the Flyers, who suffered their second straight loss.
The win was the Capitals’ third in a row.
It didn’t always look as though Washington would emerge the victor, however. The Caps were out-shot 35-30 on the day and looked disjointed at times, finishing with 12 giveaways (Philly was credited with just five, for comparison’s sake).
But good teams find ways to win when they’re not playing especially well, and the Caps are a pretty good team — especially when Braden Holtby is on his game.
Holtby, atop many Vezina lists at the moment, had another terrific outing on Sunday, making 33 saves, perhaps none better than this one on Mark Streit in the second period:
Holtby’s counterpart, Steve Mason, had a solid outing as well, finishing with 27 stops.
Looking ahead, the Caps will now head out on a three-game Western Conference swing through Minnesota, Nashville and what promises to be a high-octane game in Dallas on Feb. 13.
The Flyers, meanwhile, will now kick off a three-game homestand against Anaheim, Buffalo and New Jersey.