Bryzgalov Tiger

Watch Ilya Bryzgalov explain the universe, China’s stringent tiger protection policies

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Much of the buzz emanating from the debut episode of 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic surrounds Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who emerged as the show’s breakthrough star.

Why breakthrough? I’m guessing some of it had to do with Bryz talking about the totality of everything that exists, including galaxies and the contents of intergalactic space:

A compelling vignette…right up until Bryz used the universe’s magnitude to diminish Earth issues. That kinda went off the rails. He almost made it sound like there were bigger galaxies with bigger problems. “You think Earth have problems? You should see galaxy Zorkon 12. Is crazy problems.”

Bryzgalov’s second act came late in the show, when he was receiving treatment from Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin. McCrossin presented Bryz with some kind of bootlegged Russian liquor featuring a picture of a tiger, which led to this exchange:

At first viewing I thought — possibly like many of you thought — that Bryzgalov was just talking a lot of nonsense. But it turns out he ain’t lying. Check this, from a 2007 Reuters article:

China growth seen raising threat tigers

Growing affluence means that more and more Chinese are able to afford exotic foods such as snakes, reptiles and frogs or buy traditional medicines like tiger bone wine believed by many in China to help lower blood pressure.

In China “more and more people get access to these expensive food stuffs,” Willem Wijnstekers, head of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangerered Species (CITES), told a Reuters environment summit.

“Both within China and in neighboring countries there is a lot disappearing,” he said.

“Africa is full of Chinese wood buyers and the forests are rapidly disappearing in the direction of China as well,” he said. Timber is used both in China and for exports including furniture sold to nations from Europe to North America.

But he said that China had stringent penalties. “They have the death penalty for wildlife crime and they have used it,” he said. “I’m not going to promote the death penalty for CITES but they really take it seriously.”

So there you go. Bryz knows his international wildlife crime penalties.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

***

As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.