John Tortorella

Tortorella on Konopka: “I don’t give a crap what Zenon said, or whatever his name is.”

Ottawa tough guy Zenon Konopka spoke his mind today in anticipation of tonight’s Senators-Rangers tilt, the first meeting between the teams since Ottawa’s wild 5-4 SO win two weeks ago.

That game, of course, was the one where New York’s Wojtek Wolski took out Daniel Alfredsson with a questionable hit.

“We lost our captain. Our captain’s still not in the lineup. I look right across every morning and see (the name) Alfredsson. I usually see his gear hanging there, and that bugs me,” Konopka told the New York Daily News. “Right or wrong, if he was hurt legally, illegally, whatever way you want to explain it, our captain’s out of our lineup, and that’s a big blow to our team, and I look at that every day and that drives me up a wall, and it pisses me off.”

He sounds angry.

Now, keep in mind most people tend not to mess with Konopka. He’s one of the NHL’s most active fighters (58 scraps over the last two seasons) and led the league in penalty minutes last year. The few that do cross him are usually fellow fight enthusiasts.

But Rangers head coach John Tortorella? Oh yeah, Torts will mess with Konopka.

“I don’t give a crap what Zenon said, or whatever his name is said,” Tortorella said following the Rangers’ pregame skate. “We’re going to go about our business and try to play the right way.”

Aside from the name dig, Tortorella’s comment about playing the right way should further rankle the Ottawa center. Konopka has expressed anger at comments the Rangers made on a hit he threw in the previous game — a check on Artem Anisimov that netted Konopka a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct.

“They made a comment that after one of my hits, I guess, that this is what we need out of hockey – one of the Rangers players said,” Konopka said. “Well in my mind, the Wolski hit is the hit we need out of hockey. I feel like mine is a hockey play with the hockey puck there. That didn’t seem like a hockey play.”

Puck drops at Scotiabank Place tonight at 7:30 pm ET. And in case you’re wondering, yes, Konopka and Sean Avery do have a history — they fought in junior when Avery played for the Kingston Frontenacs and Konopka was with the Ottawa 67’s.

Uh oh, Marian Hossa might be injured after awkward fall

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa, left, talks to center Jonathan Toews during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

Video isn’t yet available, but My Regular Face’s GIF captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

Report: Wild will tab John Torchetti as interim head coach

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via Iowa Wild
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As many expected, the Minnesota Wild will make John Torchetti their interim head coach, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

(He’s not the only one to report as much, as TSN’s Bob McKenzie also stated that he’s likely to take the job.)

The team itself hasn’t made an official announcement about Torchetti, and the reasoning is probably simple enough: he’s coaching their AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild on Saturday night.

Torchetti is no stranger to the NHL, although he’ll probably be frustrated if this opportunity doesn’t turn into a full-time gig. He was also an interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.

As of this writing, the Wild are in a three-way tie for the first spot outside of the West’s wild card mix, although they could sink a bit depending upon how Arizona and Vancouver handle the one game they have in hand on the Wild.

More importantly, Minnesota’s currently three points behind Nashville for the final wild card spot.

That’s not an impossible goal for Torchetti. For whatever it’s worth, Sports Club Stats gives Minnesota a 34.7 percent chance to make the playoffs.

(Note: photo via the Iowa Wild.)