Retribution Part II?
That could be the theme of Saturday’s Washington-Montreal game as Rene Bourque — who concussed Nicklas Backstrom with an elbow back on Jan. 3 — appears to be in the Capitals’ crosshairs once again.
Bourque fought (and beat) Matt Hendricks last time the two teams met, but now Washington has a legitimate enforcer in the lineup — Joel Rechlicz, recalled from AHL Hershey on Monday.
The timing of Rechlicz’s promotion was intriguing. So too were his comments about Bourque’s hit on Backstrom.
“Yeah, I heard it was a cheap shot,” Rechlicz told the Washington Post. “Hopefully I’m in the lineup for that game.”
Rechlicz is 6-foot-4, 230 lbs and led the AHL with 184 penalty minutes this year, fighting 12 times in 27 games. In his two games with Washington he’s yet to find a dance partner — possibly because he only played 1:49 against Tampa and 2:37 against Florida — though it wasn’t for a lack of trying. He asked Panthers’ enforcer Krys Barch to go but Barch declined, given his squad was leading on the scoreboard.
That said, Rechlicz doesn’t sound like he’ll let one rejection get him down.
I’m just going to go get my checks and if I’ve got to run a guy through the glass, force him to fight, that’s what you’ve got to do,” he said.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.