Author: James O'Brien

John Moore

Video: Will dirty hits continue to go down?


Earlier this week, PHT’s Jason Brough and Mike Halford wondered whether an early drop in hits is a matter of luck or a sign of the future. During the first intermission of tonight’s Detroit Red Wings – Washington Capitals game, Mike Milbury and Bob McKenzie engaged in a fascinating discussion on that same subject.

Milbury, in particular, seems unconvinced that we’ve seen big changes (even if suspensions are down in October).

Here’s a quick look at how this month compares to October 2013:

Sheer luck or not, at least it’s an optimistic start to the 2014-15 campaign.

NHL explains why officials waved off Predators’ goal


Both of Wednesday’s games featured controversial disallowed goals.

The Detroit Red Wings ultimately overcame Drew Miller’s non-goal following a phantom penalty. Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith seemingly put his team up 1-0 against the red-hot Edmonton Oilers, yet that tally was waved off:

Here’s the explanation via the league’s Situation Room Blog:

At 1:35 of the first period in the Nashville Predators/Edmonton Oilers game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Edmonton net. Video review confirmed that the puck did not enter the Edmonton net on Craig Smith’s original shot and that the referee was in the process of blowing his whistle to stop play before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.5, apparent goals shall be disallowed “when the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle.” Therefore the referee’s call on the ice stands – no goal Nashville.

The decision certainly drew its critics:

Either way, the contest remains 0-0 as of this moment as Ben Scrivens seems like he’s on the top of his game.

Update: The second period included an odd moment of its own, as play was whistled dead on a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goal that wasn’t.

On the bright side, Smith ended up getting a goal tonight, after all.

Red Wings take over third period, blank Ovechkin in win

Gustav Nyquist, Henrik Zetterberg

Through two periods, it seemed like the story would be about the Washington Capitals enjoying better work from their supporting cast. The attention instead swerved back to the top guns in the final frame, however, as the Detroit Red Wings’ stars powered a 4-2 win on Wednesday.

Justin Abdelkader scored twice and Pavel Datsyuk provided the insurance marker as Detroit scored three unanswered goals in the third period.

Abdelkader finished with three points (adding an assist), Datsyuk had two points (one goal, one assist), Henrik Zetterberg grabbed a pair of helpers and Gustav Nyquist nabbed a nice tally as Detroit finished strong on “Rivalry Night.”

Abdelkader played the role of the complementary player to stars in the closing 20 minutes in particular, scoring thanks to a combination of grit, nice timing and good fortune:

The Red Wings shook off a disallowed goal in the first period and Washington’s 2-1 lead to win this game.

Considering the fact that Detroit’s big guns came up big, Alex Ovechkin’s frustrating night stands out that much more. For the first time in his career, the 29-year-old failed to generate a point in five straight games.

While his -2 rating underscores the aggravation – not to mention the slashes he threw in the waning moments – Ovechkin did have his chances, firing seven shots on goal (which is as many as he had in the previous four games combined). Jimmy Howard was equal to the task, however, making 25 out of 27 saves overall.

Fair or not, Ovechkin’s detractors will have a field day. Especially cruel critics will contrast his play with Datsyuk’s brilliant night, including this jaw-dropping goal.

Sometimes it’s actually more frustrating to perform well and lose, yet the Capitals can at least note that they often carried the play against a strong puck possession team tonight:


(via Natural Stat Trick)

This isn’t the last time that the Red Wings’ top guns finished a game in a strong way. They robbed victory from the jaws of defeat against the Pittsburgh Penguins to boot, as you can see in this post.

With this win, the Red Wings are now 5-2-2 as they ready for a home game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Capitals have now lost two games by a score of 4-2 and three of their last four. They’ll get a little breather before they take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Photo: Scott Hartnell’s Larry Bird costume is clutch


Look, we’re probably going to see other NHL players trot out some amazing Halloween costumes in the next couple days. Some definitely deserve bonus points for doing so while benefiting charitable causes, too.

Still, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Scott Hartnell set the bar awfully high with his outstanding Larry Bird costume:

That, friends and foes, is what you call “attention to detail.” Then again, he did chicken out in the “era-accurate shorts” category, though:

source: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Here are some other highlights from Hockey Halloween so far:

With only two games tonight, this might actually be the evening where we see some big-time efforts. Again, it would take some late-game, Bird-esque magic to even approach Hartnell’s offering, though.

Note: That said, he does have some throwback competition from P.K. Subban:

Video: Nyquist, Kuznetsov exchange nice goals after disallowed tally


The Detroit Red Wings have been a contender for ages. That means plenty of calls have gone for and against the franchise, prompting a huge and passionate fan base to hatch a few conspiracy theories here and there. When you throw in a long run of Tomas Holmstrom straddling the line between screening and interfering with goalies, those feelings only grow stronger.

Wednesday’s first period certainly won’t quiet such voices.

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby seemed to lose his footing on his own before Drew Miller seemingly scored a 1-0 goal, yet the tally was disallowed and Luke Glendening was handed a tripping penalty during this exchange:


The Red Wings weren’t pleased:

Fair or not, the second period just began 0-0. The controversy may only grow if this game remains low-scoring, especially if Washington ends up winning by one.

During an in-game interview with Pierre McGuire, Mike Babcock pleaded with the league to just get things right. That seems like a reasonable request …

Update: Gustav Nyquist’s second effort helped the Red Wings get that 1-0 lead back, though:

It didn’t last long, however, as Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a nice one to make it 1-1.

Another update: The Capitals displayed some nice puck movement in what was eventually a Troy Brouwer goal: