Even though both hits were questionable, neither Matthias nor Myers received suspensions — something NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanan was acutely aware of. Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger notes that Shanahan called Lamoriello to explain why the hits weren’t punished.
“It doesn’t escape me that this is the same ruling,” Shanahan said. “It would be upsetting to me to have two of these in one week with a team in the East and a team in the West. The fact that it’s happened to the same team, although Lou has said to me I never have any reason to call him, I still reached out to Lou and called him and spoke to him today about both hits.
“Just out of respect for the fact it’s the same team, whether it was New Jersey or the Florida Panthers. I would’ve done the same thing to (Panthers GM) Dale Tallon. When you have a couple of players on your team– important players — get banged up with hits that are not suspensions I think it’s important to call that GM and talk to him. Lou was great in our conversation.”
Lamoriello said he appreciated the call, though it wasn’t necessary — “Brendan knows me and I know Brendan,” he explained. “I respect the job they have to do.”
This incident is noteworthy because of Shanahan’s personal relationship with Lamoriello and the Devils organization. Lamoriello was team president when New Jersey took Shanahan second overall at the 1987 Entry Draft and one of the key figures in bringing Shanahan back to the Devils at the end of his career.
Remember, one of the primary concerns when Shanahan took the player safety gig was if he was far enough removed from his playing days to rule without bias.
People love star athletes because they can do amazing things. Even so, people also often love to see the occasional moment of weakness.
Aside from the occasional injury hiccup, Sidney Crosby‘s been as advertised after being a super-hyped No. 1 overall pick. He has that “Golden Goal,” two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup ring and plenty of individual accolades.
Not many people expected the Capitals-Penguins series to be over in five games, but there’s a chance that could happen before the end of the week. After their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Capitals are one loss away from being bounced from the 2016 playoffs.
The Capitals failed to take advantage of the fact that Kris Letang was suspended for Game 4 because of his hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3. Letang is now set to return for Game 5 which makes Washington’s task even more difficult.
“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com. “One thing I said to the guys coming into this, and we talked it about it yesterday, was when Kris got his suspension, is that they’re going to rally. Their whole team, their forwards are going to come back. They talked about they didn’t play their best game (in Game 3) and now they have Letang out and everybody had to step up on their side, and I thought they did.”
If you look back at the regular season, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and the league for a good portion of the season. Washington finished 11 points ahead of second place Dallas in the league standings and it looked like they had the team that would finally take them over the hump.
Although things look gloomy, it’s important to realize that the series is far from over. Many NHLers would tell you that the fourth win is always the hardest to come by in a best-of-seven series, and by no means is anyone expecting the Capitals to wave the white flag.
“Whenever you lose a game, it’s obviously an opportunity missed, but it had nothing to do with them missing some of their players,” said Caps forward Jay Beagle, per NHL.com. “We’re looking forward. Our back’s against the wall and the most important game of our lives is coming up.”
Game 5 goes Saturday night in Washington.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.