Nail Yakupov

Top 5 stories of the 2012 NHL Draft

12 Comments

The 2012 NHL Draft may not have grabbed everyone’s attention, but it did leave us with some lasting memories and impressions. What were the biggest ones? Well, we think we know what’s best so here’s your official PHT Top 5 stories of the draft.

1. Nail Yakupov goes No. 1

There was a lot of debate whether or not Yakupov would be Edmonton’s pick at No. 1, but GM Steve Tambellini made the speculation seem silly when he grabbed the Sarnia Sting scoring phenom first overall. Now Yakupov gets to play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle to make up their own offensive flying circus.

2. Ray Shero sure knows how to spoil the home fans

GM Ray Shero made sure the home fans headed home ecstatic after Friday night’s first round. The Penguins came into the draft with just one pick at 21st overall in the first round. They left the draft dealing Jordan Staal to Carolina for a package that included the eighth overall pick as well as dealing Zbynek Michalek back to Phoenix for a pack of prospects. Well played, Shero.

3. Defense dominates the first round

We knew this draft was loaded with quality defensemen, what we didn’t know was just how many of them would wind up being first-round caliber guys. 13 blue liners went in the first round this year, tying the mark for most defensemen taken in the opening round back in 1996. For what it’s worth, that ’96 draft had notable picks like Ottawa’s Chris Phillips and… Uh… Andrei Zyuzin. Let’s just hope this draft class turns out a little better.

4. Columbus doesn’t deal Nash

We thought this might be the right time for the Blue Jackets and GM Scott Howson to deal Rick Nash. Yeah, about that… Turns out the right time for the Jackets to move him might be after Zach Parise finds a home after July 1. You know what they say about the best laid plans.

5. Luongo is still a Vancouver Canuck

Much like Nash, Roberto Luongo was shaping up to be a big name to be moved at the draft. While Luongo wasn’t traded, his name was thrown around a bit between Vancouver and Florida (of course). Panthers GM Dale Tallon says he’s listening but Canucks GM Mike Gillis says he himself is the guy getting in the way.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

14 Comments

Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

20 Comments

If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

22 Comments

It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

99 Comments

Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

***

As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.