It’s been a while since Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd and assistant captain Dustin Byfuglien have been in Chicago. In fact, the last time they were around, they were carrying that big silver chalice around the city during the Blackhawks own version of the Ultimate Pub Crawl. Since then, the Blackhawks liquidated half their Cup winning team to slide under the salary cap—leading to new teams and new roles for Ladd and Byfuglien.
Since the Atlanta Thrashers didn’t play in Chicago last season, this is the first time Ladd and Byfuglien will appear on United Center ice since winning it all in 2010. Andrew Ladd talked to NHL.com about returning to Chicago—this time as the enemy:
“It’s a little weird, but it’s definitely fun to be back and see a lot of familiar faces and people I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s going to be a fun night for us. A few of us went out for dinner (Wednesday) night, so it was fun to see those knuckleheads and catch up a little bit and see what they’ve been up to.”
Plenty has happened since the pair helped the Hawks win their first Cup in 49 years. Ladd lead his new team with 29 goals and 59 points last season. Right behind him, Byfuglien had 20 goals and 53 points from the blueline. The two were brought in by the Atlanta organization to help bring more talent – and a winning attitude – to the team. They showed the talent part when they were the two leading scorers last season. The next challenge will be for the duo to help the Jets pull together the young talent on roster and make it translate into a playoff spot.
After all, they’ve been part of the same process in Chicago.
Just because they have some good memories from their time in the Windy City, don’t expect Byfuglien and Ladd to take it easy on their former teammates. Byfuglien had a message for the current Blackhawks:
“I’m not afraid to run anybody and knock these guys around a little bit.”
Sounds like it should be a good time.
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 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.
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.
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.