Emerson Etem

Shuffling the Duck: Anaheim demotes Etem, Smith-Pelly


Losers in six of their last eight, the Anaheim Ducks shook things up on Wednesday by demoting 21-year-olds Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem — the latter being club’s first-round pick (29th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — to AHL Norfolk.

Both have been fairly regular contributors this season. Etem sits tied for fifth on the team in goals, with six, and has played in 24 of 27 games while averaging 13:08 TOI per game. Smith-Pelly has notched eight points in 16 games since being recalled in late October, and is averaging just under 13 minutes a night.

That said, Smith-Pelly and Etem have fallen on hard times lately.

Smith-Pelly was a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to Dallas and Etem was held to just 11 minutes (the only Ducks that played less were Daniel Winnik and Patrick Maroon.) Etem did score his sixth goal of the year last night, snapping a six-game pointless drought.

It’s speculative to say these demotions are messages being sent, though. The transactions would allow for the pending returns of Saku Koivu and Francois Beauchemin, both of whom are eligible to come off IR (Smith-Pelly and Etem can go to Norfolk without clearing waivers, as both are still on entry-level deals.)

But it’s also worth noting Etem and Smith-Pelly are going to Norfolk while 32-year-old journeyman Tim Jackman, who was acquired from Calgary last week and was also made a healthy scratch on Tuesday, remains with the Ducks.

Jackman, who played eight minutes in his first two games with Anaheim, would require waivers to be sent to the minors.

Update: Here’s more on the situation, from the O.C. Register…


Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win


The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

NBCSN screen

Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik


Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.