Alexander Radulov

Report: Detroit “fuming” over Radulov return

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On Tuesday, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun shed some light on reactions to Alexander Radulov’s return to the NHL. The Russian forward is projected to soon become a member of the Nashville Predators, something a few NHLers weighed in on.

Washington’s Joel Ward said Radulov would be “an asset” while Alex Ovechkin said he’s “probably the biggest star” in the KHL. One of the most intriguing responses, though, came from Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk.

“I know he’s a good guy and good player too,” Datsyuk told ESPN. “Lots of skill. He’s one of best KHL players for [the] last three years.

“Big help for Nashville Predators. Not good for us.”

That comment led LeBrun to reveal the following:

Datsyuk nailed it at the end of his comment there, saying “not good for us.” The way the Wings are playing right now, and with a first-round date against Nashville likely at this point, no wonder the Wings’ organization was privately fuming last week when the NHL announced its Radulov decision.

The Wings experienced a similar situation in 2010 when forward Jiri Hudler announced he was leaving the KHL to return to Detroit. In 2009, Hudler spurned a two-year, arbitrator-awarded deal to sign with Dynamo Moscow…a club that would eventually fold.

The issue? Even though Dynamo released Hudler on Apr. 18 — five days after the NHL playoffs began — he was ineligible for postseason play because he was not on the Wings’ roster prior to the March trade deadline.

Obviously, Hudler’s case is different from Radulov’s. Hudler left at the end of his contract (meaning Detroit retained his rights) whereas Radulov left during his (meaning he owed Nashville a year of service). Yet the Red Wings organization is still privately seething about this, especially with rumors that Radulov will head back to the KHL next season.

Detroit isn’t the only organization upset with Radulov’s return. St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong claimed Radulov’s case became a contentious debate at the GM meetings in Boca Raton, saying Radulov “gets his cake and eats it, too.”

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.