Scott Arniel

Inevitable: Blue Jackets fire Scott Arniel

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You can make it seven.

Scott Arniel is the seventh head coach to be fired this season as the Blue Jackets have decided to let Arniel go after leading Columbus to the worst record in the NHL. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports that assistant coach, and former Wild head coach, Todd Richards will take over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Arniel’s record with Columbus this season finishes at a miserable 11-25-5 with just 27 points in the standings. Through one and a half seasons in Columbus, Arniel finishes 45-60-18.

This summer, the Blue Jackets spent big to get James Wisniewski and Jeff Carter and tried to set things up for a possible run at the playoffs. Instead it saw suspensions and injuries get the worst of things on top of miserable goaltending by Steve Mason as well to see the Blue Jackets fall to the bottom of the West and 20 points out of eighth place in the Western Conference.

Arniel also struggled to figure out just what he wanted to do with his lineup and had his ups and downs in handling the team’s potential young stars. The most obvious situation came when Derick Brassard ended up in the doghouse leading to his agent pointing the finger for Columbus’ struggles at Arniel just last month.

A ton of blame falls on Arniel for not being able to figure things out, but now it’s on GM Scott Howson to figure out how to save his own job as well. This is a situation that isn’t going to change overnight the way it did in St. Louis.

PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Shane Doan took a friendly jab at the the movie “Miracle” and the Miracle on Ice. (BarDown)

–The best of the worst Upper Deck hockey cards from 2015-16. (Puck Junk)

–Here’s a list of the top 50 players in WHL history. (WHL)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A sad story about how Chris Phillips feels helpless as his hometown of Fort McMurray burns. (CBC)

–“You want to get back into things right away (but) I think these last four or five months have been good for me.” Former Penguins coach Mike Johnston is ready to coach again. (Local XPress)

–Blues forward Jori Lehtera is in a pretty random commercial:

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.