Hossa-Handzus-Tatar line highlights Slovakia’s first Olympic practice

Undermanned Slovakia had its first practice in Sochi on Monday, and wasted no time getting Chicago sniper Marian Hossa onto one of its top lines.

Hossa skated with fellow Chicago forward Michal Handzus and Detroit’s Tomas Tatar, according to Slovak news outlet SITA (per

The line unites Hossa — the leading Slovak scorer in the NHL this season with 50 points in 55 games — with the 23-year-old Tatar, who has a career-high 13 goals and 24 points this season. Handzus, the oldest player on the Slovakian team, will center the two.

The other Slovak lines, per

Branko Radivojevic-Tomas Kopecky-Tomas Jurco/Peter Olvecky

Milan Bartovic-Tomas Surovy-Michel Miklik

Richard Panik-Tomas Marcinko-Marcel Hossa/Tomas Zaborsky

On defense, the team loaded up its top pairing with Boston captain Zdeno Chara and Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, who is enjoying a banner season for the ‘Canes. The other pairings were Andrej Meszaros-Ivan Baranka, Martin Marincin-Milan Jurcina and Tomas Starosta-Rene Vydardeny.

The Slovaks were dealt a pair of major blows leading up to Sochi, losing the services of Marian Gaborik (broken collarbone) and Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion). For a country with just 14 active NHLers, losing two as talented as Gaborik and Visnovsky really thins out the overall talent pool, and Slovakia has been forced to call up KHLers Radivojevic and Starosta as replacements.

Related: PHT’s Pressing Olympic Questions: Can Slovakia surprise again?

Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

NBCSN screen

You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

Sean Couturier
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When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

Joy abounded.

Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

Dougie Hamilton
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Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

Senators lose Michalek, Zibanejad to injuries vs. Flyers

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It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.

The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.

Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.

Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.

Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.

The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.