milanlucicgetty

Lucic takes another shot at ’embellishment’

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The hockey world was abuzz on Sunday night after Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien fumed about the Canadiens’ supposed embellishment during Montreal’s 4-3 win. Milan Lucic provided more of the same to CSNNE.com on Monday.

“You definitely would like to see a lot less embellishment,” Lucic said. “I know the way that we are as a team, and how we play. The type of people that we are we don’t really accept that type of play in this room. We don’t like our guys diving. We don’t like our guys embellishing. You don’t like to see it around the league. So hopefully the right calls will be made, and guys will take pride in not being that type of player.”

Then again, self-awareness doesn’t always factor completely into these situations.

Toronto Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets passes along this amusing video seemingly produced by a Vancouver Canucks fan,* which juxtaposes Julien’s comments with moments where the Bruins might have been the ones who were guilty of embellishment:

In other words, it’s likely that no one’s completely “innocent.”

One might argue that Julien merely made those remarks in the heat of the moment, but he backed his critique up to CSNNE.com today.

“I didn’t question their character because they play hard. They’re a good team. The only thing I talked about is the embellishment,” Julien said. “I wasn’t just talking about them, but I was talking about something that we’re trying to clean up in the league. There are times when certain things frustrate you and I thought after the game that embellishment is something that embarrasses the game.

“I have a strong opinion about it and I stand by it. We’re a professional league here. The NBA went through it and kind of cleaned things up, and I’m hoping that we’ll do the same thing with hockey.”

The Bruins will be expected to hold themselves to that higher standard, then.

* – Your rivals will always do things like this.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.