Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has been freed from the shackles of his yellow non-contact jersey. LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond reports Doughty went Johnny Cash at practice today (read: dressed in black) and participated in contact drills for the first time since getting hurt.
Following practice, Doughty told Hammond he wants back in the lineup. Badly.
DOUGHTY: “I was cleared to practice with the team and cleared to get some contact in practice. I feel really good. I feel ready to play and almost back to normal. Now it’s just kind of in the hands of the training staff and the coaching staff to put me in.’’
Question: Is playing tomorrow a possibility?
DOUGHTY: “I hope so. I really want to play tomorrow, really badly. It sucks being out, obviously, but like I said I’m ready to play but at the same time, it’s really just in the training staff’s hands.’’
The Kings begin a three-game road set in Dallas on Thursday and could use Doughty’s offensive presence. L.A. has just three goals in its last three games and is on a collision course with Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen, he of the 7-0-0 record, 1.54 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.
That said, head coach Terry Murray won’t rush Doughty back. The 21-year-old has been out of action since getting nailed by Philly’s Zac Rinaldo on Oct. 15, at which time Kings GM Dean Lombardi said Doughty would miss 7-10 days with an upper-body injury unrelated to his head. (Speculation was he separated his shoulder.)
The 10 days are up, but Doughty’s had very limited exposure to contact. It’s feasible the Kings might hold him out until Saturday, when they travel to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes.
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.