Zuccarello: ‘I’m not a diver’

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One thing to watch for in tonight’s Flyers-Rangers game? If the Blueshirts continue to get dinged for embellishment after being whistled for a pair of diving penalties in Sunday’s 4-2 loss at MSG.

One player in particular to watch will be New York forward Mats Zuccarello, who was sent to the box after getting hit by Flyers d-man Andrew MacDonald midway through the second period.

“I didn’t agree with that call, but at the same time, it’s fast hockey out there and refs makes mistakes, like we do,” Zuccarello said, per ESPN New York. “There’s nothing to think about right now.

“I think everybody who watches me play knows I’m not a diver.”

Here’s the play:

That embellishment call was the first of two against the Rangers in the period. Less than three minutes after Zuccarello was penalized, Derek Dorsett was called for diving after getting cross-checked by Wayne Simmonds. According to the New York Times, it was just the second time since the NHL started calling diving penalties in 1992-93 that one team got whistled at least twice in the same game — the other occurred in Montreal’s opening-round series with Washington 2010, when Maxim Lapierre and Brian Gionta combined to get whistled for three diving penalties in Game 6.

Needless to say, the Rangers aren’t happy with how things transpired on Sunday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t biting when asked what he thought of the calls.

“Did you see the replays?” Vigneault asked. “So, I’ll let you make the judgment on if Zuccarello’s was an embellishment. It doesn’t matter what I think.

“I’ll let you make the judgment and make the call on that.”

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.

Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim

Report: IIHF needs NHL’s Olympic decision by end of April

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The Winter Olympics are less than a year away and time is ticking on the NHL to make a decision — one way or another.

From TSN.ca:

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

For those hoping NHL players will compete in South Korea next year, the situation right now appears bleak, given the recent comments of commissioner Gary Bettman, who told Reuters that “…people should assume we are not going.”

Bettman has also argued the compressed schedule that accompanies the league’s participation in the Olympics is bad for the NHL.

Read more: Fehr: Players won’t negotiate with NHL over Olympics

Meanwhile, a number of players — Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Jakub Voracek and rising star Connor McDavid among them — have publicly lobbied for the opportunity to once again compete in the Olympics, adding that having the world’s best players there is a benefit to growing the game.

(In McDavid’s case, he has never played in the Olympics, but given his stature as arguably the league’s best player right now in only his second season, he’d be a shoe-in to make Team Canada if healthy.)

Voracek recently sounded off the matter, essentially calling the league’s position, “Absolutely ridiculous.”