Washington Capitals

Getty Images

Blackhawks ban fans after racist chants directed at Capitals’ Devante Smith-Pelly


The Chicago Blackhawks took action on Monday, banning a few fans from team home games after their involvement in directing racist chants at Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly on Saturday.

In a post on the team’s website, the Blackhawks said they have “contacted the offending individuals and notified them that they are no longer welcome at Blackhawks home games.”

“Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks,” the Blackhawks said in a post.

Four Blackhawks fans were kicked out of Saturday’s game against the Capitals at United Center after racially-charged taunts were made toward Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly, serving a five-minute major for fighting in the third period, got upset with a fan next to him who, according to the Washington Post, was chanting, “Basketball, basketball, basketball,” toward Smith-Pelly, who is black.

On Monday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville spoke about the incident.

“Totally unacceptable in our game, in any sport and in society,” Quenneville said. “We have to learn from something like that. (It) can’t happen. I talked to (Capitals coach Barry Trotz) yesterday, apologized to the organization and the player, Devante. We’re sorry about what happened and let’s learn from it.”

Anthony Duclair, who is black, also spoke to the media.

“It’s not ok,” Duclair said. “Whether it happens to Devante Smith-Pelly or a random person on the street, you should be comfortable in your own skin and gender and nationality or religion, your beliefs. Everyone’s equal. Everyone should love each other.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement on Sunday morning:

“Last night in Chicago, individuals directed racial taunts and abuse at Washington Capitals player Devante Smith-Pelly,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “The National Hockey League condemns this unacceptable and reprehensible behavior. The League fully supports the actions taken by the United Center and the Blackhawks to eject the offenders and would expect the same response to any similarly unacceptable behavior at any of our arenas.

“While this incident was isolated in nature, no player, coach, official or fan should ever have to endure such abuse at one of our games. The League will take steps to have our clubs remind all stakeholders that they are entitled to enjoy a positive environment – free from unacceptable, inappropriate, disruptive, inconsiderate or unruly behaviors or actions and may not engage in conduct deemed detrimental to that experience.”

February is Hockey is for Everyone month in the NHL.

Be sure to visit NBCOlympics.com and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Buzzer: Pacioretty continues hot streak

Getty Images
1 Comment

Players of the Night:

Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens: Here’s a name you haven’t seen often in these parts this season. But Pacioretty had two goals tonight, the opener for the Canadiens and the game-winner with 1:18 left in the third period to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. He also added an assist on Montreal’s other goal. Truth be told, Pacioretty has been sizzling lately with six goals and an assist in his past six games.

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks: Gibson had a quiet night for the most part until the third period, but he was stellar when called upon and made 23 saves, including a second-period beauty (which you will see below) to help his team to a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings.

Highlights of the Night:

James Neal had all the moves to help the Vegas Golden Knights secure a point on the road in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers.

John Gibson got just enough on this puck to redirect it off the post and out for quite the save:

Factoid of the Night:



Panthers 4, Golden Knights 3 (OT)

Canadiens 3, Capitals 2

Ducks 2, Kings 1

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Pass or Fail: Washington Capitals 2018 Stadium Series jersey


The funny thing to think about when you see an NHL jersey reveal that is just real bad is that more than one person said, “Yes, that’s a winner.”

With that being said, on Wednesday, the Washington Capitals revealed the jersey they will wear for the March 3 Stadium Series game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. As you can see, it’s an interesting design from adidas.

Here’s a look at the back with the letter and number font:


That giant red stripe at the bottom? Why? Why do we need that? Is it a cummerbund? If you get rid of that and the red stripes on the arms, the jersey looks much cleaner. Even Alex Ovechkin isn’t impressed. The socks are sweet, as are the pants with the “W” and the three stars from the city flag.

This is a definite step back from the Capitals’ previous outdoor game jerseys from the 2011 and 2015 Winter Classic. Let’s hope the Maple Leafs have something good cooking when they finally show off their jersey.

What do you think?


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

The Buzzer: Marleau continues to turn back the clock; Vegas continues to rewrite record book

Associated Press

Players of the Night: 

Patrick Marleau, Toronto Maple Leafs: Marleau scored two more goals, his 13th and 14th goals of the season. It was the 67th multi-goal game of his long career. It’s been a great season for the former Sharks forward. The man is timeless, everyone. Timeless.

James Reimer, Florida Panthers: Reimer stopped 29 of 31 shots for his fourth consecutive win. Reimer has put up a .935 save percentage or better in each of those four games.

Sam Gagner and Thomas Vanek, Vancouver Canucks: Each player had a pair of goals to their respective names in a 5-2 win for the Canucks over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Highlights of the Night: 

Marleau’s second goal of the game came off a pretty slick deke after getting the puck alone in front:

Derek MacKenzie goal finished off this slick cross-ice pass. It was a short-handed goal to boot.

Nikita Kucherov‘s no-look pass found Steven Stamkos for some Sedin-like magic:

Joonas Donskoi in a short film that needs no explanation:

Factoids of the Night: 

James Reimer is doing things in Florida:

Brock Boeser is re-writing the Canucks’ rookie record book:



Lightning 3, Canadiens 1

Capitals 4, Bruins 3 (SO)

Panthers 3, Flyers 2

Maple Leafs 7, Coyotes 4

Canucks 5, Blackhawks 2

Golden Knights 3, Kings 2 (OT)

Sharks 3, Flames 2 (OT)

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Capitals end losing streak in 4-3 shootout win over Bruins


As hot as the Boston Bruins had been as of late, history just wasn’t on their side on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

The Caps earned a 4-3 shootout decision over the Bruins, ending a three-game losing streak while simultaneously putting an end to the Bruins’ five-game heater. And on top of that, the Caps improve their impressive run against the Bruins dating back to 2014 with 12 straight wins.

The record looked like it would fall early on in Thursday’s game as the Bruins jumped out of the gate with a vegenance, scoring twice in 49 seconds inside the first three minutes of the game.

David Backes took advantage of a nice centering feed from Riley Nash to notch his sixth goal in his 12th game this season. Noel Acciari doubled the advantage 49 seconds later, punching in his own rebound after a wrap-around attempt on Braden Holtby.

Bruins forward Danton Heinen continued his fine form as of late, registering his seventh assist and 10th point in his past seven games on Backes’ marker.

The Caps ended a long goal drought just after the mid-way point of the second period as Lars Eller let a wrister go from the high slot, beating Khudobin high over his glove hand.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 24th of the season to move into a tie for the NHL goal-scoring lead and tied the game 2-2 1:36 after Eller’s goal.

But the Bruins would regain the advantage in the third period, with Backes’ second of the night.

Backes has five goals in his past six games now as he continues his solid return from colon surgery at the end of November.

Washington, not to be outdone, came from behind yet again, however, as Brett Connolly‘s backhand went off the skate of Kevan Miller and behind Khudobin for the tying goal at the 11:22 mark of the third.

Nothing separated the two teams after overtime, and Ovechkin put the final mark on the game as the only scorer in the shootout to get the Caps back on track in the win column.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck