United States forward T.J. Oshie became the talk of a nation after going four-for-six in a shootout to lead America past Russia on Saturday.
It was a stunning performance, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. Oshie has historically been superb in shootouts. That’s one of the reasons he made the team in the first place. In fact, there’s not many in the game that can hold a candle to Oshie in that regard, but Chicago Blackhawks captain and Team Canada forward Jonathan Toews is one of them.
He’s one of the few people that can claim to have done something similar to Oshie as Toews scored three shootout goals in as many attempts in the 2007 World Junior Championship semifinals. Of course, there’s a big difference in the level of attention, pressure, and talent between the Junior tournament and the Olympics.
But is also Toews the best Canada’s got. He’s the best almost anyone in this tournament has. Among active skaters that have taken at least 30 career NHL shootout attempts, Toews ranks second with a 50% success rate. Naturally Oshie is first at 54.5%.
So if a Team Canada game gets to that point, there’s a fair chance Canada will attempt to ride out Toews. So can he do what Oshie did at this level?
“It’s scary to think about, but who knows?” Toews said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus. “I’ll be ready for whatever.”
Who knows, he might even be asked to compete in a shootout duel with Oshie before this is done.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.