Author: Ryan Dadoun

NHL shop runs out of John Scott All-Star shirts

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Thirty dollars is a small price to pay to own a John Scott All-Star shirt — actually, it was apparently too small a price to pay.

The NHL shop has run out of John Scott All-Star shirts, as Puck Daddy discovered.

To provide some context for that, shirts featuring Patrick Kane — who has 73 points to Scott’s one this season — are still available, albeit in limited quantities.

In a way it’s not really surprising as Scott certainly stands out from the crowd. The enforcer is far from the type of player you would expect to see participating in the All-Star Game. He got in because of the fan vote though and has an underdog quality to him, especially after Arizona traded him to Montreal and he was subsequently relegated to the minors.

If nothing else, his presence provides spice to the event and is a novelty that it seems some people would like to commemorate with a memento.

Related: Latest awkward facet of John Scott to 2016 All-Star Game: What he’ll wear

Phillips not skating a lot, focused on just getting healthy

Chris Phillips
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Chris Phillips doesn’t want his long career to close out because of an injury, but at the end of the day he might not be able to prevent that.

The Ottawa Senators defenseman, who will turn 38 on March 9, is not giving up, but he also hasn’t made much progress in his recovery from a cracked vertebrae that has sidelined him all season.

“It’s really, really unchanged from (September),” he told the Ottawa Sun. “I haven’t been skating a lot. It’s been frustrating and, right now, I’m at a point where I’ve taken that pressure off of where I’m skating and pushing to get back. Right now, I’m just trying to get healthy and then I’ll go from there.”

No matter what happens, he’s made his mark on the Senators. Phillips is their franchise leader in games played (1,179), surpassing longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson by a single game. That record will stand for quite some time as the closest active player on the Senators is Chris Neil, who has played in 943 career contests with Ottawa and will turn 37 in June. Aside from Phillips and Neil, no current Senator has played in 500 games with the club.

Of course, there will be a time for Phillips to reflect on his lengthy career, but it’s not going to change the fact that his current situation is frustrating for him. Phillips hasn’t lost hope in the idea that his recovery process could improve in a hurry, but as we get deeper and deeper into the season, it seems less likely that he’ll be able to return before his contract expires this summer.

Crosby, Malkin help troubling year for Pens end on high note

nam icePittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) and Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm (43) chase the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Pittsburgh has surprisingly been one of the worst teams offensively this season, but every now and then they have a game that reminds you of the Penguins of old.

Tonight’s contest against Detroit certainly didn’t start off like an example of that as the Red Wings got off to a 2-0 lead. Despite that, the Penguins rallied back to earn a 5-2 victory, making this just the fourth time in 2015-16 that Pittsburgh managed to earn a win after going into the first intermission with a deficit.

Better still, it was a case of their superstars living up to that title. Evgeni Malkin played a big role with a goal and two assists while Sidney Crosby netted the game-winner as he continues to rally back after his slow start to the season.

Pittsburgh’s special teams also played a key role. The Penguins entered this game with the 26th ranked power play in the league, but Patric Hornqvist and Kris Letang both found the back of the net with the man advantage.

This all allowed the Penguins to close out the month on a high note, but it has still been a challenging time for them. The Penguins went 5-8-2 in December and will enter the new year behind in the Wild Card race.

Suffice it to say they’ll need to provide more examples of what they’re capable of going forward.

‘No confidence issue’ for Bernier

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) stops a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang (58) during the shootout of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. The Maple Leafs won 3-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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When the dust settles on Jonathan Bernier’s career, you might be able to name the low point as Dec. 17 when the San Jose Sharks pulled off a 5-4 come-from-behind win against him in overtime to drop his record to 0-8-3. Things have been going better for Bernier lately, but it was in danger of all falling apart again.

Bernier surrendered six goals on 15 shots against the New York Islanders Tuesday night before mercifully being pulled. However, he was still given the nod just a day later against the Pittsburgh Penguins and responded by making 39 saves en route to a 3-2 shootout victory.

After that disastrous start to the season, which included an AHL conditioning stint, his win against the Penguins showed that maybe he’s finally turned a corner.

“There’s no confidence issue now,” Bernier told Sportsnet 590, per Sportsnet’s website.

The season is far from over, but Toronto is already looking like a long shot to make the playoffs. However, the rest of the season will help define the Leafs’ goaltending situation going forward. James Reimer is in the final season of his contract and given how he’s played when healthy in 2015-16, he might be due for a substantial raise. If Bernier proves himself to be capable for the remainder of the season though, it might give the Maple Leafs confidence enough in him make a long-term commitment, even at the expense of Reimer.

Video: Highlights from Boston’s 5-4 SO win over Habs in alumni game

Former Boston Bruins', from left, Ken Linseman, Ray Bourque and Steve Heinze search for people in the stands before an outdoor hockey game against fellow alumni from the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, where the Bruins will play the Canadiens in the NHL Winter Classic on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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The latest incarnation of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins are set to play in Gillette Stadium tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. ET, but today the outdoor rink was tested out by some of the two franchise’s all-time greats for an alumni game.

It proved to be an even affair with Boston earning a 5-4 shootout victory after rallying back from a 2-0 deficit. Mark Recchi led the charge for the Bruins with two goals and an assist in regulation before finding the back of the net again in the shootout. It was Ray Bourque, though, who netted the shootout goal that pushed the Bruins over the top.

You can watch highlights of the action below: