Torts

Three (News) Stars of the Week: Torts, Ovi on the bench, Raffi as Jay-Z

“Three (News) Stars of the Week” will run every Friday. It’s our way of acknowledging the week’s big NHL stories that gave us lots of page views, thereby increasing PHT’s attractiveness to advertisers.

Third star: Busy John Tortorella

The fiery coach’s frustration with his sluggish team peaked Saturday when the Rangers blew a three-goal, third-period lead at home to the Senators. Soon after came news Sean Avery was being recalled from the AHL. Yes, the same Sean Avery that Tortorella cut after training camp. But with Mike Rupp on the shelf, Torts had no other choice but to bring back Avery, who will make his debut Saturday at MSG. Tortorella also had strong words for San Jose captain Joe Thornton, who opined that the Rangers were soft after losing to said soft team on Monday. Tortorella in turn raised the fact Thornton hasn’t won a Stanley Cup, so maybe he should keep his mouth shut. Upon further reflection, Thornton agreed.

Second star: Bruce Boudreau doesn’t choose Alex Ovechkin

When the Capitals were trailing the Ducks by a goal late in Tuesday’s game, Bruce Boudreau played a hunch and didn’t send Ovechkin over the boards. This displeased Ovechkin, who was caught on camera saying something disparaging about his coach. Even though Boudreau’s hunch was correct and the Caps tied it up and won in overtime, the decision to leave one of the NHL’s most prolific scorers on the bench at such a crucial moment caught the attention of reporters, who asked the coach why he benched the superstar. But did he really “bench” Ovechkin? Boudreau doesn’t think he did. He simply chose to use other players at that particular moment. No big deal. Let’s move on.

First star: Raffi Torres is Jay-Z

The Phoenix forward went to a team Halloween party dressed as rapper Jay-Z. Not being a black man, Torres painted his face to look the part, and when teammate Paul Bissonnette tweeted a picture of Torres as Jay-Z, opinions were shared. Some said it was racist. Others said it wasn’t racist, but it was insensitive. Most said it was a great costume. People argued about morality on the internet for a while, then everyone forgot about it because there were games to be watched.

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    Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

    An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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    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.

    Video: Beagle’s perfect shot dogs Murray for early Caps lead

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    Matt Murray was just on another level in Game 3, giving the impression that the Washington Capitals would only beat him with perfect shots.

    Jay Beagle got that memo … and maybe added a little element of surprise on top of that.

    As you can see from the video above, Beagle beat Murray from an unexpected angle with a pretty resounding goal. It was one of those “Wait, did that just happen?”-type moments.

    The Capitals saw their lead go away moments before this post was completed, so it’s now 1-1.

    WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 4

    Washington Capitals T.J. Oshie (77) tries to slide the puck past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) during the third period of Game 3 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals in Pittsburgh, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    The Pittsburgh Penguins won Game 3 thanks to Matt Murray‘s heroics, but now they must face the Washington Capitals without Kris Letang in Game 4.

    (And the Penguins were overwhelmed for much of that last contest with their best blueliner.)

    The Capitals, meanwhile, acknowledge the baggage – perceived or not – of the past as they try to tie this series.

    It should be a fascinating Game 4, and you can soak in all the drama and action on NBCSN and also stream it via the link below.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    To be young: Coyotes to hire 26-year-old as GM, give Tippett more say

    Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett watches his team play the Detroit Red Wings during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015.  (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
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    It sounds like the Arizona Coyotes’ youth movement won’t merely be seen on the ice.

    ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that the Coyotes will promote 26-year-old assistant GM John Chayka to GM. The team teased a major press conference for Thursday, when that news is likely to be made official.

    The presser could be useful for more than the usual quotes and mission statements, as the Coyotes seem like they may parallel the Toronto Maple Leafs in combining an experienced executive, a young up-and-coming thinker and a more empowered head coach.

    Dave Tippett is expected to have more of a say in personnel decisions while the Coyotes hope to bring in a Lou Lamoriello-type to assist Chayka, according to Custance.

    (Custance’s ESPN Insider article [subscription required] goes in much greater depth, including a comparison to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors rather than the Maple Leafs.)

    It’s possible that Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson might come in to help Chayka, although an earlier report suggests that Jackson might stay in Dallas.

    Multiple reporters including Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper back up Custance’s report.

    Considering Chayka’s age – he’s primed to become the youngest GM in NHL history – it’s no surprise that people are churning out jokes.

    (This post’s author comes with six more years of [life] experience and a resume stacked with impressive video game and fantasy hockey team-building, by the way.)