Toews is the NHL’s best two-way player, says Kopitar’s coach


Darryl Sutter has long been a fan of Jonathan Toews — last year, Sutter called him the best captain in hockey not named Dustin Brown — but on Tuesday, the Kings head coach took his admiration to new heights.

From the NHL:

Q. Why do you think the Toews line was successful against your top line defensively in Game 1?

COACH SUTTER: They’re a great line. Jonathan Toews, he is the best two-way player in the National Hockey League. Hossa is right there next in terms of wingers. That’s for sure.

It’s an interesting comment, mostly because Sutter coaches one of the NHL’s best two-way players in Anze Kopitar. In fact, Kopitar cemented his status three weeks ago by earning his first-ever Selke nomination as the NHL’s top defensive forward; the big Slovenian appeared in all 82 games this year and finished second to Sidney Crosby in terms of minutes logged by a forward, logging more shorthanded time than any of the NHL’s top-30 scorers while winning 53.3 percent of his faceoffs.

Kopitar’s also been outstanding this postseason, leading all scorers with 19 points through 15 games.

That said, there’s no denying Toews’ place in the conversation of best two-way players. He’s the reigning Selke winner and has been a finalist three times over the last four years, including this season.

Oh, and then there are Toews’ unparalleled leadership skills. Just ask Kopitar’s coach about those.

“Jonathan impacts their locker room, maybe more so than his on-ice performance,” Sutter said last year, per the Chicago Daily Herald. “Just what he brings them.

“He is the consummate player.”

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…

Two-for-two: Another successful coach’s challenge as Sens reverse Kane’s goal

Dave Cameron
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Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.

Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.

From the league:

At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”

Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.

The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.

As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.