Washington Capitals Press Conference Introducing New Head Coach Dale Hunter

NHL power brokers react to realignment

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The NHL’s Board of Governors signed off on some big changes today, as the league agreed to move to a four-conference setup for next season (pending a meeting with the NHLPA). You can vote for the teams that are the biggest “winners” and “losers” here, but you might wonder how the NHL’s biggest movers and shakers reacted to the decision. Here’s a collection of some of the highlights from general managers, executives and even a player you might have heard of.

Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke brushed off talk that Toronto lost out in realignment, but his best quote comes here:  “It was typical Gary Bettman. It’s like a Chicago election in the 1930s. Not that it’s fixed, but you have a pretty good sense what’s going to happen beforehand.” (Editor’s note: It’s too bad Burke would probably shoot down the idea of his own reality show, because he almost always says something uproarious. Click here for video of Burke’s reactions.)

Predators GM David Poile was very happy about the impact on Nashville, but also spoke about the big picture: “I think we did the right thing, it’s not perfect for everybody, but it certainly helps us. It helps our travel and it’s better exposure with teams coming in, so this is very good for the Nashville Predators.” (Video)

Sidney Crosby’s effusive praise: “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I think everyone’s probably happy with that. Washington’s a pretty good rival… I don’t see anyone being disappointed about this.”

Hall of Fame Red Wings executive Jim Devellano ranks among the many Detroit executives who are delighted: “It’s a dream come true for the Detroit Red Wings and its fans. Our fans now will get to see every team in the NHL at least once every year. Our fans will have far fewer games starting at 10:40 at night, far fewer … ”

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson was also fairly pleased, even if he didn’t look particularly tickled.

Capitals GM George McPhee’s comments bordered on boisterous, though. Here are some of his most intriguing thoughts via Tarik El-Bashir: “We think it’s great for our fans that we’re back in the [Patrick Division] again because it’s historically been a great division and our fans have always loved those rivalries … It will be the best travel schedule in the league.”

Finally, let’s close things out with the league’s biggest executives. You can click here for video of Bill Daly’s reaction and watch video of Gary Bettman’s thoughts below.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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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.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

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
AP
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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.