2011 Heritage Classic - Alumni Game

Movember poll: Who owns the best ‘active’ mustache in the NHL?

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Want an appropriate time to do something ridiculous? Make sure it’s in the name of charity. Huge Czech defensemen wearing pink bunny suits to hospitals and countless people making boob jokes to benefit breast cancer research/awareness are just two examples of that practice. Yet if you want a go-to example of what hockey players are doing right now, simply look at the area between their lips and noses.

Yup, it’s “Movember,” one of the strangest charitable movements in a jam-packed arena of weird benefits. With that in mind, PHT wants to know: who is the modern mustache champion* in the NHL?

The contestants

source: APGeorge Parros via The Associated Press

Notes: Parros just shaved it for Movember, but by my estimation, it’s already grown back by this writing. In fact, it’s likely stronger, thicker and maybe even a bit angry now. He’s a Princeton grad so don’t discount the possibility of a sentient ‘stache.

source: APMike Brown via AP

Notes: Tell me what your eye is drawn to in this photo. If you said “the puck” instead of Brown’s majestic handlebar, then you’re either a liar or a potential enemy.

source: APPaul MacLean via AP

Notes: The first contestant from the “coaches” division is a legit contender. Anyone who attributed the Ottawa Senators’ surge to Jason Spezza is wrong; it’s clear that the team is spurred on by MacLean’s mustache. His ‘stache has forgotten more about hockey than we’ll ever know.

source: Getty ImagesDaniel Carcillo via Getty Images

Notes: It’s doubtful that Carcillo’s “Luigi ‘stache” has much of a chance in such a stacked field. This is really just a thinly veiled attempt to add variety to the ranks of “Carcillo’s missing teeth” photos.

Dave Lewis

Notes: Check out a photo of that questionable fashion choice here.

source: APJoel Quenneville via AP

Notes: Sure, he came into Chicago with plenty of solid coaching experience, but let’s face it. The Blackhawks snapped into shape because they feared the “Q-Stache.” Can you blame them?

Bill Clement

Notes: Hearing his voice in NHL 12 scratches a nostalgic itch, but EA Sports really needs to digitize that glorious nose critter. (Click here to see it in its glory.)

Other

As impressive as this list is, it’s easy to imagine an oversight or two. For that reason, there’s an “other” category for write-in candidates. Just keep in mind this poll is all about players or personalities still working prominently today.

* – Here’s a few reasons why we opted against going all-time:

1. Lanny McDonald would have dominated the poll to a ridiculous degree.

2. The research required to analyze the staggering amount of ‘staches from the ’80s would have dragged this thing beyond November.

3. There are already plenty of great sources for historic nose critters; Greatest Hockey Legends counted down the top 10 of all-time, for instance.

‘It looks like a disaster’ — Senators could be facing more injury problems

BOSTON, MA - MAY 27:  Head coach Guy Boucher of the Tampa Bay Lightning speaks to the media after their 0 to 1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 27, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Not only did the Ottawa Senators lose on Sunday, but three different forwards left the game because of injury.

And that was after they had already lost forward Bobby Ryan indefinitely because of a hand injury. In a 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, the Senators had Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Tommy Wingels leave with injuries.

Hoffman suffered a lower-body injury in the first period, while Stone was caught with a hit to the head from defenseman Jacob Trouba. That infraction might result in Trouba getting further supplementary discipline from the NHL.

“Tough day with the loss of Bobby and then we lost another bunch of guys. At some point I felt, there was nobody on the bench,” said Senators coach Guy Boucher, who appeared furious with the officials’ decision to give Trouba only a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

“I can give you an update – it doesn’t look good. We have to wait until tomorrow to be clear and precise about all these guys.

“Right now, we could be losing quite a few guys … It looks like a disaster. We’ll see tomorrow and maybe the disaster is not as bad as we think but you’ve got to be ready for anything.”

What especially hurts for the Senators is that Hoffman, Stone and Ryan are three very capable offensive players, and if all three are out long-term, that’s a good chunk of scoring suddenly gone from their lineup. Stone leads the team with 22 goals, while Hoffman is tied for second in that category with Kyle Turris at 19 goals.

The Senators had a chance to take over top spot in the Atlantic Division. With a win, Ottawa would’ve tied Montreal with 70 points, but taken first in the division because of fewer games played.

Blackhawks snap Sabres winning streak

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The Eastern Conference playoff race is tightening up, especially when it comes to the wild card.

The Buffalo Sabres, thanks to a three-game winning streak and six wins in their last 10 games prior to Sunday, have suddenly jumped right into the thick of that race. But with a chance to win four in a row and tie, at least temporarily, the Bruins at 64 points, the Sabres ran into the Chicago Blackhawks.

And that proved problematic.

After Evander Kane scored the equalizer with 5.6 seconds left in the first period, Chicago took over through the second half of the game, scoring four unanswered goals for a 5-1 victory to move within seven points of the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

Patrick Kane put a stamp on this one. Given an absurd amount of time in front, Kane was able to put on a stickhandling clinic before beating Robin Lehner on the backhand.

It further hurt Buffalo’s cause that it was unable to capitalize on a lengthy five-on-three in the first period.

“I thought our opportunity was that 5-on-3, to get not just one goal, maybe two. We gave them too much,” said coach Dan Bylsma, per the Sabres.

The Sabres now enter their bye week. They play the last-place Colorado Avalanche next Saturday. The time off might provide a rest in the middle of a grinding season, but teams have struggled immediately out of the break and the Sabres can ill afford a set back in the playoff race.

Video: On Hockey Day in America, Auston Matthews did this . . .

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Born in Scottsdale, AZ., Auston Matthews has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season as an elite talent headlining an impressive freshman class.

Taken first overall last June, Matthews made history with four goals in his debut, surely a dizzying experience for Maple Leafs fans accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. And he really hasn’t slowed down since.

On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes — and on Hockey Day in America — the 19-year-old Matthews once again put on a show, scoring his 28th goal of the season. That gave Toronto a two-goal lead.

As he’s often done in his brief time in the NHL, this goal was of the spectacular variety, as he broke in off the left wing and, as he was getting hauled down to the ice, slid the puck five-hole on Cam Ward.

Related: Auston Matthews is having a rookie season for the ages

Video: After a slow start, Evander Kane is on a roll for the Sabres

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For about a month now, Evander Kane has enjoyed a particularly productive stretch for the Buffalo Sabres.

Kane scored with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period of Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, converting on a nifty pass from Jack Eichel and going top shelf on Scott Darling.

He now has goals in three straight games, and 15 points in 14 games as the Sabres have fought their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

Of course, this latest run comes just before the trade deadline, and Kane’s name has consistently been in speculation about a possible move — in addition to off-ice issues. While GM Tim Murray has said earlier this month that he’s not actively shopping Kane, he also didn’t absolutely rule out trading the 25-year-old left winger, now into his second season in Buffalo.

(Murray: “Is there a crazy deal that somebody could throw at me that would force me to do it? I guess there is.”)

Most impressive about Kane’s numbers — remember he missed time earlier this season with a rib injury and then had a slow start, which drew the ire of the coach — is that he’s done the vast majority of his scoring, 20 of 21 goals, at five-on-five.