One can quibble with Chris Kuc’s assertion that this is a “big” change, but either way, the Chicago Blackhawks are tweaking their lower forward ranks by scratching tough winger Jamal Mayers for veteran center Brendan Morrison. Another notable alteration comes in depth defense as stable veteran blueliner Sean O’Donnell* swaps in for youngster Dylan Olsen.
On paper, these changes shouldn’t alter the balance of power. Then again, with all three games going to overtime already, it’s not crazy to say that little tweaks might make all the difference.
(Really, Brandon Saad could make the biggest impact of all the lineup tweaks, anyway.)
* – Whose name I always need to be careful in mentioning, because part of me always wants to call him Chris O’Donnell of Robin in “Batman Forever” infamy.
Fight video: Brouwer makes Watson pay for Hathaway hit
Austin Watson nodded with recognition after landing a questionable hit on Garnet Hathaway on Saturday, as he understood why Troy Brouwer demanded immediate retribution.
And, as you can see from the video above the headline, Brouwer got that bloody payback after beating Watson in a fight.
Watson (who isn’t that far removed from a two-game suspension) was ejected for his hit. It wasn’t the only nasty moment between the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames, either, as the toxic exchanges included Anthony Bitetto‘s ugly cross-check on Sam Bennett.
(Video or a GIF of Bitetto’s hit will be added if it becomes available.)
Some other penalties reduced some of the advantage for the Flames, but they ultimately still received serious man-advantage opportunities amid all of the violence, and they weren’t able to convert.
The best news is that Hathaway might end up being OK after a scary-looking check. He returned to the game during the third period.
The Lightning were lighting up the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, perhaps frustrating Erik Johnson and others. Whatever the explanation might be, it was a pretty ugly sight when Johnson slashed and then boarded Namestnikov, earning those two penalties plus a game misconduct.
Plenty of people believe that supplemental discipline would be merited for Johnson’s actions. For what it’s worth, “Names” did return to action in the third period. We’ve seen instances where players return only to be hurt anyway, so we’ll see if the nifty winger sees any delayed issues.
Johnson, 29, was suspended for two games by the NHL back in 2014, but has a generally clean history otherwise.
The Lightning ultimately ended up beating the Avalanche 6-5, as Nathan MacKinnon almost led a rally with two power-play goals.
One win, even in the frosty outdoors for the NHL 100 Classic, only means so much.
Still, the Ottawa Senators probably experienced some ice-cold relief on Saturday, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 during a tightly defended outdoor bout.
It was 0-0 for much of the game until Jean-Gabriel Pageau tipped an Erik Karlsson shot for the first goal with about five minutes remaining in the second period. Bobby Ryan then capitalized on a rough Jonathan Drouin turnover to make it 2-0, while an empty-netter iced the icy evening for Ottawa.
For a night, it was a fun time, and Karlsson reminded us what all the fuss is about, as he logged a ridiculous 32:55 of ice time. And he seemed to be having a good time doing it.
This night laid the “Canadian” on thick, with Bryan Adams performing during the event, and Gary Bettman posing for photos with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Carey Price generated some nice saves of his own, but couldn’t will Montreal to win in his 10th consecutive start. The Habs rarely got things going against the Senators, seen most easily in Ottawa’s 38-28 advantage in shots on goal.
Nights like these make a bigger impact on fans’ memories and bottom lines, but this marks consecutive wins for the Senators either way. Considering the fact that the Senators hadn’t put back-to-back wins together since they faced the Avalanche in two contests in Sweden, it might not be a big deal, yet it’s far better than the nothing they’ve been coming up with far too often lately.
In other news from the event, Mario Lemieux’s “five goals, five different ways” was named as the NHL’s greatest moment, voted by fans:
Let’s be honest, virtually any time a team gets its players to embrace a holiday theme, it’s in the name of goofiness. And bless NHL teams for this.
When it comes to Movember, you get the fantastic combination of mustaches and charitable contributions.
The holidays are rapidly approaching (hey, I see that Amazon tab open), so we’ll start to see various New Year’s/Christmas/Festivus/etc.-themed fun. Even with that in mind, the Washington Capitals will be tough to top with their collection of Christmas tunes.
Question: which performance stood out to you the most? While Braden Holtby was fantastic (with a Tomas Plekanec-level turtleneck game), the simple entertainment of watching Alex Ovechkin sing is tough to top.