PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
The amount of money the Ottawa Senators have on the sidelines is staggering, but will they get help via the trade market? (Ottawa Citizen)
The Washington Capitals are likely to err on the side of caution with defenseman Mike Green (lower body) after he returned too quickly from a groin injury last season and suffered a setback. (Washington Times)
At this rate, the New York Islanders will miss the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season, but GM Garth Snow sounds like someone who largely wants to stay the course. “We’re not going to mortgage our future to make a quick fix,” Snow said. “That’s not our plan.” (New York Newsday)
Bruins coach Claude Julien had nothing but praise for Lindy Ruff after he got relieved of his duties as the Buffalo Sabres’ bench boss. (CSN New England)
Meanwhile Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said that coaches can sense when they’re about to get fired. Hitchcock had a chance to work with Ruff during the 2010 Winter Olympics and he thinks Ruff won’t have any trouble finding a coaching gig. Detroit bench boss Mike Babcock added that “someone is going to get themselves one hell of a person and a great, great coach.” (ESPN.com)
It looks like Dallas Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp will get another chance to earn his first career NHL win on Thursday. (Dallas Morning News)
The San Jose Sharks have finally stopped the bleeding, but now they have to build some momentum off of their first February win. (San Jose Mercury News)
Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Ladd will get to play his 500th game against the team that drafted him in 2004, the Carolina Hurricanes. (Winnipeg Sun)
If you missed the Philadelphia Flyers’ wild 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, you can watch the highlights below:
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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.
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.
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.
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.