Peter Laviolette

Laviolette stands up for Ilya Bryzgalov: “We all need to be better”


For better or worse, Peter Laviolette has been very patient with Ilya Bryzgalov’s struggles in the Philadelphia Flyers’ first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After all, many of the chances that beat Breezy were the result of some porous defense – and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five of Wednesday’s 10 goals, too.

Sam Carchidi reports that Laviolette voiced his support of Bryzgalov, saying that he “has been satisfied with Bryz’s overall play in the series.” Tom Layberger got to the bottom of why he pulled Bryzgalov for Bobrovsky in the first place, in case that wasn’t evident.

“At that point Bryz needed to come out,” Laviolette said. “He had seen five goals in about (23) minutes and that was enough for him. He had been carrying the load for us and I think it was important for him to come out of that situation.”

Quite logically, Laviolette spread some of the blame to other Flyers players, as you can see on Philly’s official Twitter feed.

“Generally speaking, we all need to be better at what we do,” Laviolette said. “I’ve said it numerous times that desperation wins hockey games.”

The last thing the Flyers should do against a talented – if similarly flawed – team like the Penguins is to act as if they have a big series lead. After all, they’ve seen a team cough up a 3-0 series lead when they came back against the Boston Bruins in 3-0. Losing that sense of desperation could be a huge problem if Philly doesn’t recognize these dangers – or this could just be a sobering warning and useful lesson for a team heavy with young players.

Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals

Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.

Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

(Check out video of the hit above.)

The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

Washington currently leads the game 3-2.

Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.

Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.

The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.


Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.

The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.

Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?

(If you’re into that kind of thing.)

Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: