Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

Backes won’t ‘hold back’ versus Blues teammates when U.S. and Canada clash

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SOCHI, Russia — American forward David Backes has a deal with Canadian defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo.

“We talked before this tournament started,” Backes said Thursday, “and said, ‘When we get over there, we’re going to put our country’s colors on and play our butts off, and when we return we’ll put the St. Louis Blues’ colors back on and rekindle any relationships we need over a cold beverage, if necessary.'”

Translation: Just because we’re teammates in the NHL doesn’t mean I’m going to take it easy on you Friday when Canada and the U.S. meet in the semifinals of the Olympic tournament.

“We’re all out there representing our countries, and we’re not going to hold back because we play with a guy during the year,” said Backes.

Presumably, the rest of the NHL teammates who will be competing against each other — and there’s no shortage, with the Blues, Blackhawks, Sharks, Kings, Canucks, Rangers, Ducks, Penguins, Canadiens, and Avalanche all represented on both sides — have the same sort of arrangement, even with the health risks that come with hard, physical hockey.

“We saw a couple of injuries yesterday that you hate to see in any event,” said Backes. “Hope those guys aren’t severely injured and they can be back with their club as soon as possible.”

But, “You’re going to play hard and you’re not going to leave anything out there.”

Related: Tavares done for Olympics

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: