Claude Lemieux never played for the Vancouver Canucks, but the team might as well use a turtling Lemieux as their third jersey logo at this point.
It appears that Canucks GM Mike Gillis must believe that his current corps of creeps isn’t sufficient because Nick Kypreos reports that they’re eye-balling Dallas Stars pest Steve Ott. In other news, Adrian Dater identifies Cody McLeod as a Plan B if Ott doesn’t work out.
As much as the team is defined by the Sedins twins’ brilliance, the Canucks also employ some of the NHL’s most irritating figures. Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre are about as grating as hockey players can get. Aaron Rome bends and breaks the rules. Even less direct offenders like Roberto Luongo and Kevin Bieksa generate significant scorn.
Adding Ott would make this team so despicable in many hockey minds that pun-lovers would need to work overtime. (My submission: Villaincover.)
The Canadian city has been breathlessly described as a northwest treasure, much like Portland or Seattle. Hockey seems to be the one area where things get ugly, though, as the team’s perceived evils keep getting upstaged by their most regrettable fans.*
Both Ott and McLeod would make the Canucks a tougher team to play against (McLeod already has 154 PIM this season).
Ott would fit in nicely with Burrows in the sense that for all his shenanigans, he’s a heck of a talent. While he lacks Burrows’ finishing touch, Ott’s offensive skills often get overshadowed. Beyond that, he’s notably versatile; as his appearance in HBO 24/7 might remind you, Ott’s a strong faceoff asset.
Kypreos reports that Dallas wants a significant piece for him, though, so we’ll have to see if the Canucks will get another huge injection of obnoxiousness – or a smaller one with McLeod.
* – To be fair, Vancouverites have done a great job of showing that the vast lot are upstanding folks.
Now, players are known to at least try to return to games after injuries, sometimes ultimately demeaning such efforts unsuccessful.
So, it’s possible that the Washington Capitals should still be concerned about defenseman Nate Schmidt. The solid depth blueliner was helped off the ice after a hit by Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the good news is that he was at least able to make his way back for a spin later on in the same third period.
Does that mean he’ll be OK? We’ll see. The game is entering OT – the 18th of this round, a new NHL record – so a possible Schmidt injury could put Washington at a disadvantage during “free hockey.”
It makes sense that Toronto and Washington made it a new record, as this is the fifth time in six games that they beyond regulation in this series. Wow.
These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.
Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.
It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.
Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.
It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.
His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.
Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.
He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.
And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.
Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:
As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.
Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?
It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.
Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).
There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.
Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.