While we’ve seen Max Pacioretty make his return to the ice with Montreal recently, the other half of the equation from their terrible incident back in March, Zdeno Chara, might be making an appearance in Montreal on Monday.
The Bruins have back-to-back games against Montreal coming up with one in Nova Scotia on Sunday night and the other in Montreal on Monday. Chara will be playing in one of those games. Could the Bruins actually suit him up in Montreal? Yes, they could and for Chara he tells CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty that he looks forward to playing in front of the crazy fans in Quebec.
“It really doesn’t matter to me where I play. It’s all the same. They’re going to do what they’re going to do,” said Chara, when asked if he had any apprehension about playing a preseason game at the Bell Centre after last year’s wild season series against the Canadiens. “I know that I did nothing wrong. I’ll always play the same way and that’s not going to change. I play hard and I play clean. I’ll do that if I play there, or anywhere else.”
Canadiens fans are sure to disagree with Chara about how that play with Pacioretty went down and they certainly don’t like how he plays the game, but that’s what happens in a rivalry. The great players on the opposing team are hated and Chara is most certainly Public Enemy #1 in Montreal.
You might wonder why the Bruins would potentially invite that sort of spectacle to a preseason game. Fact is, no matter when Chara plays in Montreal the game is going to be some kind of wild spectacle. Getting it out of the way in a preseason game will at least make that first game in the regular season a bit less of a zoo.
Getting Chara locked in and focused for the start of the season probably isn’t necessary, but giving him his first taste of the hate that will be rained down upon him in Montreal would certainly serve to be a hell of a way to get the competitive fire lit for the Bruins captain.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
—Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)
–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)
–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)
–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)
–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)
–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)
—Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17:
Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.
(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)
You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.
Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.
Letang told his side of the story:
The Capitals disagree:
While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:
No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.
If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.
The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)
Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.
A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.
First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.
Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.
Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.
In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.
This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.
It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.
(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)
There are a few things we do know already.
For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.
Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.
In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.
There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.