Five quotes from Canada’s 1-0 win over the U.S.

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“We capitalized on that one chance. I think both goalies were definitely the stars of the game.” — Rick Nash

Hands up if you predicted Jay Bouwmeester would start the key offensive play today. Just a perfect pass to Jamie Benn for the tip home. Jonathan Quick couldn’t be faulted on that one, and was otherwise brilliant in stopping 36 of the 37 Canadian shots. Meanwhile, Carey Price stopped all 31 shots he faced, earning a shutout in the biggest game he’s ever played.

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“I’m just trying to make my way to the dressing room here.” — Jamie Benn

In response to a question about what was going through his mind after scoring such a huge goal. Not surprisingly, there were one or two cameras and microphones in Benn’s face once he got off the ice and entered the media gauntlet. Only 24 years old, it’s fair to assume the Dallas Stars winger has never received so much attention. Remember when he wasn’t even selected to Team Canada’s summer orientation camp?

“It wasn’t that good a game. It was a sleeper, one nothing. Couldn’t really generate anything, they couldn’t generate anything.” — Ryan Kesler

Many will disagree, given the quality of the hockey we saw today. But, in fairness, Kesler was responding to the assertion that it was a “great” game. And let’s be honest, it wasn’t an all-timer. Besides, has anyone lost bigger games than Kesler since 2010? An Olympic gold-medal final. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Now another disappointment. Imagine the frustration.

VIDEO: Highlights from Canada’s thrilling win

“I think it was a good game. Two good teams out there that were skating well. Didn’t give up a whole lot of chances on both sides. I think that’s a sign of well-coached teams, good skaters, smart hockey players.” — Patrick Sharp

The perspective from the winning side. Even though they didn’t fill the net (again), this was the kind of game the Canadians wanted to play. Tough defensively, fast, and with minimal mistakes. Yes, the Americans had their chances to beat Price, but you could probably count the number of those on one hand.

“It seems like we had a tough time sustaining any pressure in their end. They outnumbered us in their zone, came up with it quick and, as we expected, they were quick on transition.” — Ryan Callahan

In a related story, Canada’s blue line is the best in the tournament. The only team that comes close to matching it is Sweden, and — hey, wouldn’t you know it — the Swedes are in the gold-medal game, too. Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty don’t have Stanley Cup rings and gold medals by accident. These guys are unbelievable puck movers who set the pace and rarely make mistakes. When a team’s got those two playing over 20 minutes, and it’s also got Shea Weber and Alex Pietrangelo playing over 20 minutes, well, Callahan’s quote says it all.

Related: Suter upset with ‘terrible’ U.S. performance: ‘You can’t play scared’

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.