Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Jody Shelley

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond will miss rest of preseason, Flames’ season opener for illegal hit

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As the hockey world ponders the potential penalty for Jody Shelly’s hit on Darryl Boyce, Brendan Shanahan and the NHL have taken action for a different check. The league decided to suspend Calgary Flames enforcer Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond for the remainder of the preseason and one regular season game for an illegal boarding check on Vancouver Canucks’ forward Matt Clackson.

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for video of the hit and Shanahan’s explanation.)

Much like Shelley’s check on Boyce, it was a hit from behind. Both players are also repeat offenders, which often factors into the severity of a suspension. Letourneau-Leblond received a minor penalty for boarding during that contest, while Shelley received a major penalty and was ejected from Wednesday night’s game for his infraction. Letourneau-Leblond’s hit came on Tuesday, which might explain why that decision was announced before Shelley’s situation has been clarified.

Letourneau-Leblond will lose $6,420.44 for missing that game and will be eligible to return against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 10. The suspension covers four preseason games and the Flames’ season opener against the Penguins in Calgary on Oct. 8.

Here is the text version of Shanahan’s explanation for the suspension.

“Letourneau-Leblond took a direct route toward Clackson, hit him squarely from behind into the boards and drove through the check high and hard,” Shanahan said. “Clackson’s back was turned toward Letourneau-Leblond well before the contract, requiring that Letourneau-Leblond avoid or minimize the check completely. He did neither.”

So what do you think of Shanahan’s first decision in Colin Campbell’s old role?

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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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 looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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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.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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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.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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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.