Wayne Gretzky

Want to make the Winter Classic alumni game great? Get Wayne Gretzky

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While the Alumni Game during Winter Classic weekend is just one of the other events, the announcement that Eric Lindros is trying to get the Legion Of Doom line back together with old pals John LeClair and Mikael Renberg has everyone feeling nostalgic all over again.

Adding that on top of the revelation from Pierre LeBrun that the LCB line from the Broad Street Bullies days with Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, and Bill Barber will suit up too, Philly fans will have plenty to go wild for.

It would be tremendous fun to see those lines back together after so long, but there is one former Ranger that would help make this event to be as much of a must-watch, or even more so than the Winter Classic itself.

Wayne Gretzky.

The Great One hasn’t seen the lights of the NHL ever since he got out of the mess with the Phoenix Coyotes and while he’s told outlets in Canada recently that he hopes to someday make his return to business in the NHL, it’d make for one hell of a show to see 99 back on the ice with some of his old Rangers (and Oilers) teammates to take on the Flyers with the Legion Of Doom line that beat Gretzky in the 1997 Eastern Conference finals.

While the Rangers could have a host of other big name former players suiting up for them in Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, and Mike Richter to help make the alumni game a fun nostalgic romp, Gretzky’s presence would help it over the top.

Gretzky retired as a Ranger in 1999 and while he’s better known as an Oiler or a King, seeing him buzzing the ice once again in Ranger blue would be enough to make the Alumni Game must-see TV.

How about it 99? Give us one more time for fun’s sake and to show that the league you helped make great can properly welcome back its biggest star of all time.

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.