It’s hard to imagine what Dallas Stars forward Brett Ritchie was thinking here.
Chasing after a puck in deep in the Arizona Coyotes zone with a little over two minutes left in the second period, Ritchie decided to not let up on Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski, whose numbers were the only thing former saw as he drove the latter dangerously into the end boards.
The video isn’t kind to Ritchie, and there appears to be little room for debate on how dumb and unsafe this hit was.
Goligoski was at the mercy of Ritchie, and the latter failed to show him any.
Ritchie, unsurprisingly, was given five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for the hit.
It would be surprising if that’s all he got, too. This sort of thing is bound to pique the interest of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
The hit was dangerous;
It was unnecessary;
Goligoski was in a vulnerable state;
It left a player injured, one who did not return to the game (the Coyotes announced he has an upper-body injury)
The NHL is trying to get a couple of hits out of the game, and this is certainly one of them.
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes. Coverage begins at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Seven games in 2019 have equated to seven straight wins for the San Jose Sharks, who own the longest active winning streak in the NHL.
The Sharks are doing so well that they’ve climbed into second place in the Pacific Divison and can take top spot if the first-place Calgary Flames lose to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Sharks come into the game having played on Tuesday, with Tomas Hertl scoring a hat trick to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2.
It might be time, then, for the Coyotes to capitalize.
Arizona has won three of its past four and sends Darcy Kuemper into the crease. Kuemper has won four straight starts
The team announced on Tuesday that forward Nick Schmaltz will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2018-19 season due to a lower-body injury.
Schmaltz has not played since Dec. 30, missing each of the team’s past three games.
It is disappointing news for the Coyotes because Schmaltz had been playing very well since he was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this season in exchange for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini. In his first 17 games with the Coyotes he had tallied 14 total points (five goals, nine assists) and was on pace for more than 50 points overall for the second year in a row.
The 22-year-old forward scored 21 goals and 52 total points in his first full NHL season a year ago with the Blackhawks.
Strome has had nearly identical production for the Blackhawks since the trade.
Pro Hockey Talk is taking a look back at the year in hockey. We’ll be presenting you with the best goals, saves, moments, players and more as we remember 2018.
Hockey players can make the amazing look mundane, to the point that you sometimes forget that they’re doing it all on ice, wearing razor-sharp blades. It can be downright overwhelming for us mere mortals.
With all of that in mind, bloopers provide comic relief, and reminder that we’re watching humans, and as athletic and courageous as they are, they’re also fallible.
The NHL’s never seen more skill than what was on display in 2018, yet there were a ton of great/humiliating bloopers during this calendar year. In fact, there’s a strong chance that some memorable ones slipped under the cracks, so feel free to share any other standouts in the comments.
Masks and mascots
Can something be a blooper when it’s a resounding success, one that transcends hockey and mere sports to dominate mainstream “best of 2018” lists, such as from The New Yorker and The Onion’s AV Club?
*Nods head yes, while googly-eyes shake frantically*
Gritty owned 2018, and the mascot’s staying power only gets more profound when you realize that the odd-looking pseudo-creature debuted in September. Sure, there’s some “Gritty fatigue” setting in for many – 2019 might not be as kind to the mascot and his jiggling belly – but the hits heavily outweigh the misses.
Maybe it’s too grim to be a true blooper, maybe not, but this bout is legitimately surreal:
Own-goals, miscues, and other flubs
The Hurricanes have been the masters of bad puck luck in recent seasons, but one of the last goals Cam Ward allowed in Carolina was one of the strangest. Alex Goligoski was credited with this one, as a puck got stuck in Ward’s skate and ended up behind the goal line, counting as a goal. Find out more about that odd moment here.
Panthers star Aleksander Barkov is one of those players who seems to do everything well, but even he has moments he’d like to forget, like this shootout mishap:
Goalies must hate long-range goals, but if it’s any comfort, they seem to happen to just about all of them. There were several funny ones in 2018, but Keith Yandle tricking Pekka Rinne was especially cheeky:
1. Mikkel Boedker, Ottawa Senators. It was a big day in Ottawa as Erik Karlsson, one of the best players (arguably the best) to ever wear a Senators uniform returned for the first time as a visitor. In the end, it was Mikkel Boedker that ended up stealing the spotlight on Saturday with a four-point effort in the Senators’ 6-2 win over Karlsson and the Sharks. The Senators acquired Boedker over the summer in their other big trade with the Sharks when they sent Mike Hoffman to San Jose as part of their ongoing rebuild. His performance on Saturday snapped what had been a four-game point-less streak and was just his third multi-point game of the season.
2. Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens. He has only played two games this season but Shea Weber has already made a huge impact on the ice for the Montreal Canadiens. After recording 25 minutes, 13 total shot attempts, and an assist in his 2018-19 debut, he had an even better game on Saturday night by scoring a pair of goals in a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. That win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Canadiens.
3. Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes. The Arizona Coyotes won their third consecutive game on Saturday night by crushing the St. Louis Blues, 6-1. Clayton Keller was the big star in this one with a goal and two assists, one of which was an absolute beauty to set up Alex Goligoski. One of the NHL’s top rookies a year ago, Keller is now up to eight goals and 10 assists in his first 25 games this season. With a 12-11-2 record the Coyotes are significantly ahead of where they were at this time a season ago. They did not win their 12th game of the 2017-18 season until Jan. 22, so there are definitely big steps being taken in Arizona.
Other big performances on Saturday
— The New York Islanders made quite a return to the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday by rallying from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2. After allowing the Blue Jackets to jump out to a 2-0 lead, the Islanders scored two goals during a five-minute stretch in the second period to tie the game, setting the stage for a Casey Cizikas game-winner in the third period.
— Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald is not really known for his offense but he recorded three assists in their 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
— Starting goalie Ben Bishop returned to the lineup and stopped 24 out of 25 shots in the Dallas Stars’ 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
— With Wililam Nylander finally signed to a six-year contract and Auston Matthews back in the lineup we are about to see the firepower of a fully armed and operational Toronto Maple Leafs team. They were 5-3 winners against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night with Matthews scoring his 13th goal of the season. He is averaging a goal per game this season and is now up to 20 total points. He has four points (including three goals) in two games since returning to the lineup.
— Gustav Nyquist had a goal and two assists for the Detroit Red Wings in their 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins.
— Mikko Koskinen improved to 8-2-1 for the Edmonton Oilers with a 31-save effort against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Highlights of the Night
The Winnipeg Jets and New Jersey Devils played one of the best overtime periods of the season on Saturday night. Keith Kinkaid made some incredible saves for the Devils, but Mark Scheifele made the play of the game when he stole the puck from Nico Hischier, collected his own rebound, and scored the game-winning goal.
Brayden Point scored his 19th goal of the season to complete a huge comeback for the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was also his 15th game-winning goal since the start of the 2017-18 season. No one in the NHL has more since then.
The Nashville Predators had quite the start on Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was another tough game for the Blackhawks, and especially defenseman Duncan Keith as he was ejected and assessed 27 penalty minutes in only four minutes of ice-time.