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.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.