Video: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question


Skip ahead to around the 7:30 mark, when it all starts with Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo being asked if his skilled players need to keep their heads up after Matt Cooke injured Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie last night.

“Well, this is playoffs,” Yeo responded. “[The Avalanche have] said it themselves that they’re trying to target certain guys. Likewise, we’re trying to target certain guys as far as playing physical. But nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. That’s not their intention to hurt us; it’s not our intention to hurt them. But this is a fast, physical game.”

To which a reporter — a Denver Post columnist, according to the StarTribune’s Mike Russo — countered with, “So…you wanted Cooke to target specific guys?”

To which Yeo, though clearly annoyed with the way his words were spun, smiled and said, “If you think that I’m saying, ‘Go take him out,’ no, you’re wrong. There’s a lot more respect in this game than that.”

Anyway, Russo never revealed the identity of the Denver Post columnist, but we’d say there’s a good chance it was the Denver Post columnist who wrote this:

I feel sorry for Matt Cooke. In a year or two, max, he’ll be out of the league. He’ll have no more money coming in, and he’ll have to sit and really look at what his career was all about. He’ll realize he had no respect of anybody in the game, and that will include his teammates — which will hurt the most. He’ll be filled with an old age of regret, a career of selling his hockey soul to the hockey devil. He’ll realize it wasn’t worth it, but by then it’ll be too late.

Related: On Matt Cooke and whether he’s a ‘repeat offender’

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.