Gary Bettman

Columnist: Players fighting Bettman more than anything

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Wayne Gretzky might still be optimistic that the NHL season can be saved, but Denver Post columnist Adrian Dater is almost certain it won’t be.

Why so negative?

Dater argues that, for the players, this lockout is about more than money. This time, it’s personal. And the person it’s about is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

This is a sad story with no winners, but the tagline of the story is this: the players in the NHL are sick and tired of Gary Bettman, and they will sacrifice their greater financial good to drive this man out of their game. Or, if not drive him out of the game, at least be able to say to themselves “That bleeping bleep didn’t push us around this time.”

That’s how much they hate him right now.

It really has come to this awful juncture, an irreconcilable difference in the minds of the players that they must defeat Bettman at all costs. I have spent the last couple months or so in regular contact with a wide number of players, and this is what it has come down to – sadly.

Furthering Dater’s point, the players haven’t exactly hidden their disdain for the commissioner.

“Gary’s pretty adamant about his third lockout of his tenure,” Zach Parise said in August.

“We’ve all heard that Gary thinks the fans don’t matter,” said Danny Briere.

Doesn’t get much more personal than first names.

The last lockout was personal, too.

“Gary Bettman and (former NHLPA head) Bob Goodenow hated each other,” veteran agent Steve Bartlett told the Edmonton Journal recently.

And while there may not be the same level of animosity between Bettman and current union head Donald Fehr – something Bartlett saw as reason for optimism this time – you have to wonder if the players would be more willing to compromise if the commissioner wasn’t the same guy as the last time.

Related: Bettman should consider stepping away from talks

Video: Things get heated before Lightning – Islanders Game 3

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You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.

The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.

It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.

You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:

Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):

Penguins bring up Sestito and Oleksy

New Jersey Devils right wing Jordin Tootoo (22) fights with Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Tom Sestito (47) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.

This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.

Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.

The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.

Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Islanders – Game 3

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) flights near the net with Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24),center,  and defenseman Victor Hedman (77), of Sweden, during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) falls on the ice. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3

Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon

 

Anisimov out six to eight weeks after undergoing ‘successful’ wrist surgery

Chicago Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov tries to handle a rebound from Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.

“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.

The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.

Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.

He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.

In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.

Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016