Gary Bettman; Bill Daly

Daly: expectations “low” for today

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As optimism once again turns to pessimism, the NHL’s expectations are “low” heading into today’s CBA negotiations (if they even occur), writes deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email to CSNPhilly.com.

Daly’s assertion comes as no shock given what happened yesterday in New York.

From CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

The players were angered [Thursday] because the HRR package received from the NHL was “missing” some key language. The critical part involved penalties for teams hiding HRR. In 2011, the two sides had a dispute over what was reported by Washington and Nashville, and with such erosion of trust right now, you can imagine the reaction to this. 

To put it another way, the players accused the NHL of trying to pull a fast one that would lessen penalties for pulling a fast one. (Call it mistrust squared.)

Yesterday also saw NHLPA call for a re-vote by the players to authorize its executive board within 48 hours to file a disclaimer of interest that would dissolve the union and push the lockout into uncharted waters.

Then, late last night, the Winnipeg Free Press published the following report:

A veteran member of the NHL’s board of governors says commissioner Gary Bettman is prepared to cancel the season on Thursday if a deal has not been reached or appears to be imminent.

The chill that has settled on NHL labour negotiations is all part of a Don Fehr plan to push commissioner Bettman into a corner for one last squeeze and there could be unfortunate circumstances for hockey fans, said the governor who requested anonymity.

The league believes Fehr is unwilling to do a deal until after Bettman has cancelled the NHL season and the union leader is now slowing the process one last time to increase pressure on the commissioner, said the governor late Thursday night.

That report, of course, was met with a good deal of cynicism. Was the threat real or empty? The union will probably go with the latter.

This morning, the two sides are meeting separately with a federal mediator, after which they may or may not get together in the same room.

Oshie’s hat trick lets Caps just barely squeak by Penguins in OT

Oshie OT goal
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What a start.

This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.

This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.

What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:

This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.

There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.

Twice:

If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.

NOTES:

Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.

— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.

— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.

— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.

— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.

Video: Wilson delivers late, knee-on-knee hit to Sheary

Wilson hit
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Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.

You can see that incident below:

Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.

Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.

This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.

In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.

Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints

Video: Penguins, Caps combine for three goals in 90 seconds

Oshie goal
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For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.

Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.

In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:

After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.

Video: Beagle gets stick stuck in visor

Beagle
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Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.

Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: