Three years after Nicklas Lidstrom was suspended for bailing on the NHL All-Star Game, Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock praised the league for letting his captain pass on this year’s festivities.
“At 41 years of age and with seven Norris trophies and going to the all-star game every year, I think if [Lidstrom] needs four days off, the National Hockey League respects that,” Babcock told the Canadian Press. “There was no fooling around. It was done up front. He deserves the time off.”
In 2009, Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were suspended one game after not attending the All-Star Game in Montreal. Their decisions broke a policy stating injured All-Stars must have missed at least the last game before the All-Star break in order to be excused; otherwise, they must sit out the first regular-season game after the break.
Lidstrom and Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne got around the rule this year because they weren’t named to the team and, ergo, didn’t turn down an invite. (Both asked not to be considered.)
That said, the veterans really should’ve been locks for the ASG — Lidstrom is ninth in defenseman scoring and fourth in plus-minus while Selanne leads the Ducks in scoring (45 points in 48 games), 18th overall in the NHL.
In related news, Wings GM Ken Holland said Lidstrom is a game-time decision for tonight’s affair against Montreal. The veteran defenseman is dealing with the flu.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
Update: This seems fairly positive.