Author: Matt Reitz

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick talks All-Star game, fantasy draft

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Jonathan Quick was in good spirits after the Kings 4-1 win at Staples Center on Monday night. It was the Kings last game before the all-star break – they don’t play again until February 1 – and the team ended on a relatively high note. While the rest of the team will have a week off before their next practice, Jonathan Quick will have the honor of heading to Ottawa for the All-Star Game festivities.

After the game, Quick talked about facing off against Daniel Alfredsson – one of the all-star captains – in his final game before the break:

“Yeah, he scored, so I don’t know if he’s going to pick me now,” Quick said. “I didn’t have a good showing against Boston either, so I might go in one of the later rounds. We’ll see…”

It’s all fun and games until he’s picked last, Alexander Ovechkin takes a picture of him with his cell phone, and he heads home with a brand new car.

Even if he’s the last goaltender picked, either Daniel Alfredsson or Zdeno Chara will be getting a steal. He’s fourth in the league in both goals against average (1.93) and save percentage (.934). His league-leading six shutouts aren’t hurting his case either.

“It’s exciting,” Quick said about his first All-Star appearance. “It’s something, especially for me, I’ve never been a part of. I’m just looking forward to taking it all in. Obviously, they’re not going to keep you too busy. You’re going to play in the skills competition and the game; but you’re going to have time off to relax—so I’m looking forward to that too.”

Maybe someone should tell him that the skills competition isn’t all that relaxing for goaltenders.

PHT Morning Skate: Where we respect John Tavares

John Tavares

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Islanders play-by-play man on MSG really likes John Tavares—and really dislikes a blogger. (Islanders Point Blank)

Steve Yzerman said from the beginning that he has a long-term plan for the Lightning. Just because their struggling this year, it doesn’t mean he’s going to lose sight of the plan. (Tampa Tribune)

Remember Mark Bell? Well, he’s back in the NHL—and he’s appreciating every minute of it this time. (LA Times)

Olli Jokinen wants to retire as a member of the Calgary Flames. But will they want to re-sign him at the end of the season? (QMI Agency)

Minnesota Wild fans enjoy it when their team scores three goals in 59 seconds. Who knew? (Hockey Wilderness)

Speaking of the Minnesota/Dallas game, Steve Ott probably won’t be happy to hear that the Wild thought he was their MVP on Saturday night. (Dallas Morning News)

There will be plenty of rumors and moves between now and the trade deadline. But maybe it would be in the Avs’ best interest to avoid the silly season altogether. (Denver Post)

Logan Couture is good at hockey. (CSN Bay Area)

The Hawks were dominated, Corey Crawford was pulled, and Jonathan Toews was forced to leave the game early in Nashville. All in all, it was an awful night for the Blackhawks in Nashville. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Despite the loss, this is a pretty sweet goal from Marian Hossa. But when you realize it’s Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne that he’s abusing in this highlight, it makes it all the more impressive. (NHL)

Red Wings win 16th straight game at home

Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes

It may have taken an extended shootout and it may have come against the worst team in the NHL, but the Detroit Red Wings escaped with a 3-2 shootout victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets for their 16th straight win at Joe Louis Arena. The win extends the new franchise mark—a record that had previously stood for 47 years. Who knew it would take a Valterri Filppula goal in the fourth round of shootout to earn the victory?

Detroit’s head coach Mike Babcock displayed a little clairvoyance when he warned that the game against the Blue Jackets had all the makings of a trap game. The Red Wings had to come back in the second period to tie the game; then they were forced to hold on at the end of regulation while they killed a five-minute major handed down to Henrik Zetterberg for boarding. Still, even without their best effort, they were still able to avoid the upset.

“We haven’t been as efficient as we’d like to be,” Babcock told Ansar Khan at, “but we’ve found a way to grind out points.” They’ve been able to grind out enough points to surge to the top of the league with 65 points.

The Red Wings will have an opportunity to extend their record home winning streak when they face off with the red-hot St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. They’ll need a far better effort if they want to the streak to reach 17 games though.

Grapes talks about Ference’s hit on McDonagh

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Different fans with different rooting interests will see the same play in different ways. But most people agree that Andrew Ference’s hit on Ryan McDonagh at the end of the game was dangerous. It was a shove in the middle of the back of McDonagh that caused an injury to the Rangers defenseman.

People can argue whether Ference is a dirty player or not—but it’s clear this was an unsafe play to a player in a precarious position (despite what the NESN announcers may have said). More importantly, it’s exactly the type of play that the league has been cracking down on this season to protect the players’ safety. We’ll see what kind of suspension is handed down from Brendan Shanahan and Co.—but we do know that the league has already set up a phone hearing with Ference.

Then there’s Don Cherry. He agreed that it “wasn’t a good hit,” but he didn’t exactly see it the same way as most people on Coach’s Corner. He went on to say that part of the onus should have been on the New York Rangers because they didn’t hold up Ference and allowed him to pursue McDonagh too quickly. He went on to say that that McDonagh needed to be aware of which players were on the ice for the opponent.

Check out the video here.

It certainly looked like a textbook example of a check from behind—the same kind of check from behind that has been suspension-worthy all season. But as Cherry implied, do any of the Rangers have ANY culpability in this situation?

According to referees, Erik Karlsson is a diver

Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs

There are few things that annoy people around the league more than a player diving. So when an NHL referee tells a coach during the game that one of his players didn’t get a call because he’s a diver, it’s sure to hit a nerve.

In the final minutes of the Ducks tight 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators, Ryan Getzlaf reached out with one hand and hit defenseman Erik Karlsson on the leg with his stick. Karlsson when down to the ice and it minimized a Grade A scoring chance with just over a minute left in the game. The Ducks eventually were able to recover the puck after a weak backhand attempt, clear the puck, and ultimately win the game.

The play could have gone either way. We’ve seen far less called tripping this season; yet we’ve seen far more forgiven in the waning minutes of a game. The controversy stems from the comments made from referee Dan O’Rourke to Senators’ head coach Paul MacLean after the play.

“The referee informed us that (Karlsson) was a diver,” MacLean told the media after the game. “We were a little bit disappointed. Erik Karlsson leads the league in points by a defenseman, he’s an elite skater in the league, and, to this point in time, I can never remember him taking a dive. If it’s not a penalty, it’s not a penalty, but I don’t think you should be accusing someone of being a diver. That’s a pretty serious accusation, isn’t it?”

What do you think? Do you think Erik Karlsson has earned the reputation as a diver in the past? More importantly, do you think the on-ice officials should take that into account when a player goes down at the end of the game?

Fire off in the comments…