Gary Bettman, Rene Fasel

Win for Russia, Sweden, Finland? Olympic roster deadline reportedly extended (Update)

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It appears the Dec. 31 submission date for Olympic rosters has been moved by a week.

The new deadline will be either Jan. 6 or Jan. 7, according to ESPN sources. News of the extended submission date will come as a surprise to many and probably raise some eyebrows, given that ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun appeared on TSN’s Insider Trading on Tuesday evening and confirmed the date wouldn’t be moved.

“The message from [IIHF president Rene] Fasel to Russia, Sweden, Finland — who wanted to extend the deadline — is no,” LeBrun said. “The deal we made with the NHL and NHLPA will remain, Dec. 31.”

It’s unclear why the deadline is being extended, or why the federations LeBrun mentioned were keen to have it pushed.

USA Hockey had planned to announce its roster during the Winter Classic broadcast on Jan. 1 (ESPN also reports that Team USA had been given an exemption to the original Dec. 31 deadline).

Update No. 1

More, from LeBrun:

Sources indicate that while he was standing firm against pressure from Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic to move the deadline, Fasel was back-channeling with the NHLPA and NHL on Tuesday and Wednesday to see if there was any wiggle room at all — with the key person to convince being NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

The NHLPA likes the early roster deadline because it allows players who are selected to plan ahead and make plans with family members, etc. For the NHL, it’s more about marketing. Thus, Fehr was the key cog who needed convincing.

The Russians, Swedes, Finns and Czechs were pushing for a Jan. 15 deadline, two weeks after the original deadline. In the end, the NHLPA and NHL signed off on moving the deadline to Jan. 7.

And I’m guessing the NHLPA garnered a nice future favor from the IIHF for this; that’s how these things work.

Update No. 2

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, USA Hockey is “definitely” sticking to its Jan. 1 date of unveiling its Olympic roster.

PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice

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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.

Shane Doan took a friendly jab at the the movie “Miracle” and the Miracle on Ice. (BarDown)

–The best of the worst Upper Deck hockey cards from 2015-16. (Puck Junk)

–Here’s a list of the top 50 players in WHL history. (WHL)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A sad story about how Chris Phillips feels helpless as his hometown of Fort McMurray burns. (CBC)

–“You want to get back into things right away (but) I think these last four or five months have been good for me.” Former Penguins coach Mike Johnston is ready to coach again. (Local XPress)

–Blues forward Jori Lehtera is in a pretty random commercial:

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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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

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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

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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.