Quick hits: Reviewing 'Hockey-tar', Pens' struggles

3d glasses.jpgHere are some assorted bits from around the NHL today.

  • Should the Penguins be worried about their poor play against the Eastern Conference elite? ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun brings up the question, pointing out that Pittsburgh is winless against the conference’s two best teams. They’re 0-6 against New Jersey and 0-1-2 against Washington. LeBrun went on to discuss the fact that despite complaints of excessive attention paid to Crosby and Ovechkin, the rivalry keeps living up to the hype.

All of which is why I’m pretty sure you’ll hear an official announcement from the NHL at some point soon that next season’s Winter Classic on Jan. 1 will feature these two teams. It’s a no-brainer. It’s the NHL’s best rivalry right now with the game’s two biggest stars.

No matter how many people fill the ESPN.com message boards complaining that Crosby and Ovechkin have reached the saturation point in their exposure, the reality is completely the opposite.

What I can tell you is the debut of hockey in 3D was a success. For starters, it actually worked. The image on the 32×18 foot screen at the MSG theatre was crisp. Everyone from David Lee of the Knicks to D’Brickashaw Ferguson of the Jets to Peter Criss of Kiss and Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad put on their geeky 3D glasses and didn’t want to take them off. Except for maybe when Sports Illustrated swimsuits models Jessica White, Irina Shayk and Dominique Piek walked to their seats.

The bottom line: if 3D TVs were more readily available, if I had the room in my house and if I had the cash, I would join the 3D movement.

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    Ref pushing Blues’ Barbashev gives us some comic relief

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    In these trying times, sometimes you just need to see a zany mishap where a hockey player loses a skate blade, and hilarity ensues.

    OK, that might be highly specific, but such bits of bad luck usually do provide some real comedy. Even by those standards, this was some good stuff, as Blues forward Ivan Barbashev got a boost from an on-ice official, and it was quite a boost down the ice.

    You can watch that moment in the video above this post’s headline, and likely have a nice chuckle.

    The Blues ended up beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday, so Barbashev & Co. can share a bigger laugh after the game.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Bruins’ Rask helped off ice after huge collision

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    Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask needed help off of the ice – and took quite a while to leave the ice – after a frightening collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil.

    Moments after this post went up on Saturday, the Bruins provided an unsettling – if, sadly, not surprising – update that Rask suffered a concussion and will not return to the game.

    You can see the collision (and get an idea of how long it took Rask to leave the ice) in the video above this post’s headline.

    This is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break, and they won’t play again until they host the Winnipeg Jets in Boston on Jan. 29, so at least there isn’t much pressure for Rask to rush back to action too soon.

    Rask began the game tied with Tiny Thompson at 252 wins, the most in Bruins’ franchise history.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Erik Karlsson misses Sharks game on Saturday

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    Considering how much Erik Karlsson has been heating up along with the San Jose Sharks lately, it would have been fun to see him skate against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that once tried to acquire him.

    That’s not happening on Saturday, as Karlsson was a late scratch for the game.

    The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that Karlsson was “limping noticeably” and favoring his left side following the Sharks’ 6-3 loss to the Coyotes on Wednesday. Kurz also reports that Karlsson hasn’t participated in practice or pregame skates for about a week.

    Paul Gackle of the Mercury News points out that Karlsson was held out for most of the third period of Tuesday’s 5-2 win against the Penguins for “precautionary reasons,” yet Sharks coach Peter DeBoer indicated that the 28-year-old was expected to play on Saturday. Instead, Karlsson must have determined that he wasn’t good to go after skating a bit during warm-ups.

    Saturday’s game against the Lightning marks the second of a four-game road trip. The Sharks are set to play against the Panthers in Florida on Monday (Jan. 21) and the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday (Jan. 22), then they’ll be off for the All-Star break.

    Karlsson was one of the Sharks’ three selections to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, but we’ll see if what seems like a lower-body injury ends up sidelining him from the event. Either way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Swede miss at least one of the Sharks’ remaining two games before the break, considering that it’s a back-to-back set.

    Marc-Edouard Vlasic is also out with an injury, so the Sharks are limping – can Sharks limp? – a bit into that run of off time.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Hurricanes’ Brind’Amour latest coach to put his team on blast

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    Sure, you can have a high-up team executive call you out and compare you to horse excrement.

    That’s one thing.

    But when your coach, who is nearly a decade removed from playing his last NHL game, contemplates dressing because his team is that bad, that’s another.

    And then to top it all off, that coach then apologies to a newly-acquired player on behalf of the team that he coaches.

    That stings.

    We’ve seen a couple of outbursts this year that haven’t been seen in some time — if ever.

    Carolina Hurricanes legend Rod Brind’Amour is the latest to eviscerate his team publicly in what seems to be the in-fashion way to get the message across these days.

    Who can forget Jim Lites’ tirade in Dallas?

    Or Bruce Boudreau’s rant?

    Or David Quinn putting his team on blast earlier this week?

    Now you can add Brind’Amour to the list.

    “We were so bad, I almost dressed and got out there,” Brind’Amour said after the Hurricanes fell 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators on Friday. “I might have been as good as what we were throwing out there. We just didn’t want to play the way we were supposed to. I didn’t know what I was watching. That’s the first time all year I can say that.”

    If that wasn’t the kill shot, Brind’Amour then feeling the need to apologize to Nino Niederreiter certainly was.

    The latter was picked up in a trade earlier this week for Victor Rask. In his first game, his new teammates crapped the proverbial bed.

    “Good. I thought he was fine,” Brind’Amour said about Niederreiter’s debut. “He had a couple chances. I think the first shift he almost had a breakaway. … I apologized to him for that effort. That’s not our team, and that’s his first game.”

    It’s not often you hear about that sort of thing.

    The Hurricanes had won seven-of-eight before dropping a 6-2 decision to the New York Rangers and Friday’s loss to the visiting Senators.

    The Hurricanes are now nine points adrift from the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.


    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