NHL: McGrattan’s post-fight salute penalty byproduct of ‘Asham incident’


A strange thing happened to Brian McGrattan on the way to the penalty box Sunday night — a simple gesture earned him another penalty.

That was the scene in Calgary during the Flames’ 4-2 win over Vancouver. Midway through the second period, McGrattan got into a scrap with Canucks forward Tom Sestito, which McGrattan punctuated with his version of the Jagr salute:

That gesture got McGrattan tagged with an extra 10-minute misconduct (on top of his five-minute fighting major), which led to the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis doing some digging:

The NHL’s Director of Officiating, Terry Gregson, said Monday the misconduct isn’t part of a new NFL-type rule aimed at curbing taunting. It was simply a judgment call by the officials, who were worried the showboating could escalate things later in the night.

After all, it certainly riled up the fans.

“I spoke with both officials, and they felt (it was just) because it was a gesture following a fight and the emotional state of things (was high),” Gregson told the Sun in an e-mail.

“They related back to the Asham incident of a year ago. The actions were different but they felt following a fight that type of thing adds fuel to the fire.”

The ‘Asham incident’ was the Oct. 2011 fight between then-Penguins forward Aaron Asham and Washington’s Jay Beagle, which went like this:

Asham was apologetic after the incident, saying he didn’t realize the damage he’d inflicted on Beagle upon doing his routine. Asham wasn’t given a misconduct and received no supplementary discipline from the NHL.

As for McGrattan, he said his salute was simply “an adrenalin thing” — an act that drew approval from his head coach, Bob Hartley.

“I loved the salute,” Hartley told the Calgary Herald. “He makes us feel good. He makes us feel bigger. I’m sure the other team are sitting on their bench not as comfortable, that’s for sure.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.