New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers

Happy birthday, Tom Sestito: Flyers winger gets waived, four-game suspension

Normally, Sept. 28 must be a joyous day for Philadelphia Flyers winger Tom Sestito. Barring religious limitations, it’s likely that this day has been full of cake and presents and good old-fashioned fun during his first 23 birthdays.

His 24th might not be quite as spirited (although there might be cake, too). CSNPhilly.com’s Sarah Baicker reports that the NHL suspended Sestito for the remainder of the preseason and two regular season games for a hit from behind on New York Rangers forward Andre Deveaux. Some might call the punishment surprisingly “light” – Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that it was worse than Jody Shelley’s hit, although he might be a little biased – but it’s important to note that Sestito isn’t a repeat offender.

One might argue that at this point, every new suspension sheds a little more light on Shanahan’s decision-making process. (James Wisniewski’s suspension showed that an actual contributor can get a stiff punishment, for example.) This one is interesting, though, because it shows that sheriff Shanahan will clearly pick on people with a rap sheet far more than those with a clean record.

To compound an already trying day for Sestito, the Flyers put him on waivers. Chances are he’ll be back in the AHL soon enough, which might force the minor league to consider his NHL suspension. Who knows if he’ll get many other opportunities at the NHL level in the future, but hopefully he learns from this mistake, because he’s certainly paying for it.

We’ll update this post in the likely event that Shanahan will release an explanatory video.

Update (6:45 pm ET): The suspension might cost Sestito $5,945.94 – although that gets a little tricky since he might not play those NHL games anyway. Here’s that video we were talking about.

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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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.