BrianMcGrattanSalute

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

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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.”

Ducks likely to recall Khudobin after Gibson injury

Chicago Blackhawks' Richard Panik (14), of Slovakia, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Chicago. Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.

The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).

The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.

Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:

The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”

Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.

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)
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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.