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Sports Illustrated puts King Henrik on the cover

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Henrik Lundqvist has a gold medal. He’s a superstar goalie playing in the glow of the spotlight that comes in Madison Square Garden. King Henrik has been seen playing guitar in a band with John McEnroe and oh yeah, he’s also a pretty … healthy looking fella (cough). Yup, the stupendous Swede has done a lot, but now add “adorn the cover of the world’s most famous sports magazine” to his resume:

source:

Let’s play a little round of good news/bad news, then:

Good news: It’s a really, really really cool cover. (Seriously, if you’re a hockey fan and a newstand, you’ve gotta scoop that up right?)

Bad news: He’s wearing a mask and not a suit.

Good news: Hockey gets a moment to shine on Sports Illustrated’s cover, which is still a sign that you’ve “made it” even as the magazine industry struggles.

Bad news: The Sports Illustrated “cover jinx” probably isn’t as spooky as the “Madden” one is, but with Lundqvist never having much luck in the playoffs and hurting his arm a bit in the last week of the season, well … it’s a worry to the more neurotic ones out there.

Either way, if you ask me, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. Just a beautiful cover. It also might work into the fun (if unfair) go-to narrative of comparing this year’s Rangers to the Mark Messier-powered, 1993-94 model. (Indulge in that comparison here.)

Check out video behind the cover shoot at Sports Illustrated’s Web site while soaking in a rather interesting bit of info on the last few Rangers who were used to sell magazines before:

–          Wayne Gretzky – April 26, 1999

–          Mark Messier & Wayne Gretzky – October 7, 1996

–          Mark Messier – June 13, 1994

–          Pete Stemkowski – May 6, 1974

–          Ed Giacomin – March 2, 1970

–          Andy Bathgate – January 12, 1959

Of course, optimistic Rangers fans are probably fighting themselves not to ask this: will the Rangers pull out another SI cover around late-June when the Stanley Cup gets handed out? (Boy, now we’re really starting to get into “jinx” territory …)

Hockey tough: Mark Stone shakes off skate to face, scores

Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone celebrates his game winning goal during overtime against the Boston Bruins during an NHL hockey game in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016.  The Senators defeated the Bruins 2-1. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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You’d think the reaction to taking a skate to the face would be something like “Not coming back to that game, getting some ice and maybe do some soul-searching.”

Nope, not in the NHL, at least.

In this league, the real reaction is almost always to come back to the same game … and barely miss a beat.

Ottawa Senators Mark Stone provides the latest example of hockey toughness, as he bounced back almost immediately from this.

What did he do? He scored a nice goal in the Senators’ 6-1 blowout of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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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.