Eric Godard, Trevor Gillies

Islanders ask MSG not to show February brawlfest for Friday watch party

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It turns out the Islanders can do the smart thing after all.

Plans to hold a team-sponsored watch party this Friday for the re-airing of the Islanders’ 9-3 win over the Penguins from February 11th that saw 342 penalty minutes handed out have been changed. The party is still on, however the Islanders are asking their broadcast partner, MSG Network, to change which game they’re showing.

A statement from the Isles makes their point for them.

“The New York Islanders have requested that MSG Networks change the originally scheduled game to be viewed at the Friday, Aug. 19 meetup.  As a part of MSG Plus’ Summer Ice programming, the schedule had the Islanders game from Friday, Feb. 11 against the Pittsburgh Penguins set to air at 7 p.m.  Instead MSG Plus will air the Islanders 7-6 overtime victory on Sunday, Feb. 13 over the Buffalo Sabres.”

This decision comes on the heels of NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly saying that he didn’t approve of the game being used in this light.

PHT pointed out that their original plans to celebrate the February 11 game seemed to be crass given what happened throughout that game and the bloodbath that erupted throughout it as well as the fact the Islanders organization was fined $100,000 for their actions as well. Islanders fans have more than let their feelings be known about how they feel about our opinion on things and we’re happy to see the passion of the Islanders fans still exists.

There’s nothing wrong with having pride in your team, something which Islanders fans seem to think was our point in questioning their plans to show this game and throw a party over it. Celebrate your wins, celebrate that game if you’d like to, that’s fine. Our issue came with the team, not the fans, supporting it in such a public way. Fans can and will do whatever they want to and that’s their beautiful right as an American (or Canadian). Teams and organizations are held to a higher standard, however.

When a team decides to celebrate a game like this that saw the NHL find enough negligence going on that they fined the organization, that’s wrong and that’s been our contention from the get-go. Teams have to have the stiff upper lip in the public’s eyes and given the Penguins’ ill feelings over the game and the NHL’s reaction to the Islanders, erring on the side of caution would’ve been the right move.

We get that Isles fans hate every bit of this and think we’re jerks. That’s fine. Embrace your renegade side and rage against “the man.” While the game was important for the Islanders to rally as a fan base it didn’t do much for the team as a rallying point as they went 11-10-6 after that 9-3 win.

The Islanders are a team on the rise and while Trevor Gillies’ presence  on their roster is always going to provide a lightning rod for controversy given his role in that February 11 game, we’re hoping that the fans will have more to rally around with their young and rising talent like John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and others rather than with the likes of Gillies and Micheal Haley.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.