Isles GM Snow furious over Tavares injury; calls IOC, IIHF ‘a joke’

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Not long after Isles captain John Tavares was ruled out for the year with a knee injury suffered at the Olympics, his GM went on the offensive.

“Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season ticket holders now?” Snow asked, per Newsday. “It’s a joke. They want all the benefits from NHL players in Olympics and don’t want to pay when our best player gets hurt.”

Tavares, 23, tore his MCL and meniscus during Canada’s 2-1 win over Latvia on Wednesday, thanks to a hit from ex-Winnipeg defenseman Arturs Kulda in the second period. It’s the first major injury of Tavares’ career — a Hart Trophy nominee in ’13, he’s only missed three games (concussion) since breaking in during the 2009-10 campaign.

He’s the fifth NHL player to go down to injury during the Sochi Games. Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg (back), Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello (hand) and Florida’s Tomas Kopecky (head) and Aleksander Barkov (knee) were also hurt while in Russia, and their outlooks for return are murky.

Fear of injury is one of the reason NHL owners have been leery about sending players to the Olympics. Commissioner Gary Bettman is always quick to point out NHLers are “invited guests” of the IOC when it comes to the Winter Games, and that players are treated the same as any other participating athletes.

That isn’t doing much to appease Snow, however.

“It wouldn’t matter if we were 10 points up on a playoff spot or 10 points out,” he fumed. “We lost our best player and he wasn’t playing for us.”

Update: According to the New York Daily News, the Isles will receive something in the way of compensation…

According to a spokesman from the NHL players association, nothing changes for an injured Olympic player from a salary front. For the team, his salary is covered by the insurance coverage that was paid for by IOC.

If players need surgery – like Tavares most certainly will – the spokesman said he’d imagine that it would fall under insurance as well, which the IOC would cover.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.

Tortorella was irate after Roman Polak boarded Oliver Bjorkstrand

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John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.

Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.

First, take a look at the hit:

Next, behold Tortorella’s anger:

Again, Columbus couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities, so that didn’t make things any better.

Right now, the Maple Leafs lead the Blue Jackets 3-2. If Toronto ends up winning, this will stand as one of the game’s pivotal moments.

It’s far from the only exciting moment, however, with these goals and big hits also standing out.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.