Gritty

PHT Morning Skate: Fighting Bob Probert; What’s wrong with Red Wings?

6 Comments
Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Gritty made a special birthday wish come true for a young fan battling cancer. (ESPN)

• The Penguins will be without Patric Hornqvist for the foreseeable future as he hits IR. (Pensburgh)

• 10 former NHLers shared stories about fighting Bob Probert. (The Hockey News)

• It’s time for the San Jose Sharks to start looking in the mirror. (NBC Sports Bay Area)

• The Canadiens have recalled top prospect Ryan Poehling from the minors and they’ve placed Jesperi Kotkaniemi on IR. (TSN)

• Former NBA commissioner David Stern said Alex Ovechkin‘s contract is the dumbest thing he’s ever seen. (NBC Sports Washington)

• Here are seven keys for the Capitals in order for them to win another Stanley Cup. (Nova Caps)

• Subpar refereeing is hurting the NHL’s image and credibility. (Sinbin.Vegas)

• In former NHLer news, Scott Darling has signed with HC Innsbruck of the Austrian league. [HC Innsbruck]

• And Scottie Upshall has signed a one-year deal in Switzerland with HC Ambri-Piotta. [Swiss Hockey News]

• Oilers Nation breaks down Edmonton’s last seven-game segment. (Oilers Nation)

• Should the Islanders keep rolling Derick Brassard out on the wing? (The Sports Daily)

• The Kings aren’t very good right now, but here are six reasons to keep watching their games. (Jewels from the Crown)

• The Red Wings have a lack of talent and they have coaching issues too. That’s not a good combination. (MLive)

• Panthers owner Vinnie Viola is co-owner of Vino Rosso, the horse who won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday. [America’s Best Racing]

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Flyers upping fan experience with ‘rage room,’ Gritty makeovers

Flyers
2 Comments

Have you ever attended a game featuring your favorite team and something goes terribly wrong on the ice/field/court that make you get into a rage? If you were at home you might throw your remote across the room following a bad call or a tough loss. In Philadelphia, the Flyers are giving fans a unique outlet to let their anger out.

Introducing the “Disassembly Room,” otherwise known as the “rage room” inside Wells Fargo Center, which will debut Wednesday night when the Flyers host the Devils (6:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN; livestream) in their home opener. The first of its kind attraction will allow fans a place to relieve stress through scheduled sessions.

Wearing protective gear, stressed out fans are able to smash televisions and break mirrors using hockey sticks, baseball bats, sledgehammers, and other items. As you’d expect, some items inside the room may feature the logo of the Flyers’ opponents that day. Game days against the Penguins might be a popular time for the “rage room.”

Tickets are $35 for one person and $60 for two people. You’ll have five minutes to get your rage out.

This is the second unique fan experience the Flyers have announced this week. On Monday, the Gritty C.O.M.M.A.N.D. Center was introduced, allowing fans to get “grittified by professional stylists.”

Fans of all ages can become their own Gritty with costumes and makeup, which includes orange hair dye and face paint. Or maybe you want to go all the way and just get blasted in the face with what they’re calling “Grit Powder.”

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

————

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.

Pro Pets: Gritty spends a day with his new pet, Claw’d

1 Comment

Gritty made a new friend this summer. During a summer stop at the Jersey Shore — and likely in-between his daily routine of gym, tan, and laundry — the Philadelphia Flyers’ beloved mascot found a hermit crab and promptly named it Claw’d after his best friend, Claude Giroux.

In a new NBC Sports short-form digital series that shows athletes and personalities with the animals they love, it was clear we had to see how life was these days for Gritty and Claw’d.

The debut episodes, which are available now, feature: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers tight end (NBC Sports Bay Area); Lawrence Guy, New England Patriots defensive lineman (NBC Sports Boston); Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears head coach (NBC Sports Chicago); Jacob Martin, Seattle Seahawks defensive end (NBC Sports Northwest); Gritty, Philadelphia Flyers mascot (NBC Sports Philadelphia); and Wes Martin, Washington Redskins offensive lineman (NBC Sports Washington).

Athletes and personalities appearing in upcoming episodes include: Elena Della Donne, Washington Mystics forward; Lucas Giolito Chicago White Sox pitcher; Kendall Gill, former NBA player and Chicago Bulls TV analyst; Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman; Shane Lemieux, Oregon Ducks offensive lineman; Zarek Valentin, Portland Timbers defender; and John Wall, Washington Wizards guard.

Check out the video above to see how Gritty and Claw’d are getting along in the first episode of our Pro Pets series.

New episodes featuring different athletes and their fur-iends will be published on the respective regional sports sites each Monday for six weeks. In all, the original content initiative will include six episodes per market, for a total of 36 videos, through Sept. 9.

The Pro Pets short-form episodes will be published and archived on dedicated pages on the sites of NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Northwest, NBC Sports Philadelphia, and NBC Sports Washington. The content will also be featured on the networks’ social media platforms, and fans can join the conversation by using #ProPetsNBC.

MORE GRITTY:
Meet Gritty, the Flyers’ horrifyingly delightful new mascot
Gritty’s grand entrance highlights Stadium Series pregame

————

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.

PHT Morning Skate: Hughes picks No. 86; Gritty surprises fan

Getty Images
3 Comments

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Why did the Avs trade Carl Soderberg? (Mile High Hockey)

• Breadman will get dough wherever he ends up. (Postmedia)

• Jack Hughes to wear “flashy” No. 86. (ESPN)

• The Winnipeg Jets face cap challenges this summer. (Sportsnet)

• Breaking the free agent goalie market. (TSN.ca)

• One Toronto draft pick once trick-or-treated at Mike Babcock’s house. (Sportsnet)

• First-round pick says sister is better than him. (CBC.ca)

• Jarome Iginla atop the list of Hall of Fame candidates for 2020. (TSN.ca)

• The NHL’s secret spending cap: How a shift in escrow acts as a hidden force that discourages spending. (The Athletic)

• How the United States Hockey League prepared Ronnie Attard for the big time. (USA Hockey)

• A seven-year-old hockey fan wanted a prosthetic leg that repped his favorite team, and Gritty was happy to surprise him. (CNN)

• A list of the five frontrunners to sign Matt Duchene. (The Hockey News)

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: Spectacular debut to end season; Many records broken

15 Comments

(UPDATE: Here’s the full Round 1 schedule with dates and TV info.)

Round 1 matchups are set

The Predators winning the Central Division was the biggest tournament-altering moment of the last night of the regular season. You can now see all eight series matchups here, with additional information.

Those who didn’t make it …

Get to cross their fingers and hope that their team wins the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery. Get the lowdown in this post.

Kucherov, Lightning hit 128

In a remarkable moment of symmetry, both the Lightning and Nikita Kucherov will end 2018-19 with 128 points. On the way, the Bolts tied the NHL record with 62 wins. This post is basically the factoids on those specific accomplishments, and they’re really something.

Three Stars

1. Ryan Poehling

For Poehling, this wasn’t just the last game of the season, it was also his first NHL game. So what did he do? He celebrated it with a hat trick and a shootout-winner, that’s how. Yes, it is indeed worth a post of its own.

In what was one of the other highlights of the night, legendary announcer Bob Cole ended his broadcasting career while Poehling began his in a memorable way:

2. Robin Lehner

Lehner put a bow on a remarkable regular season, making 29 saves for his sixth shutout of 2018-19. He did so in just 46 games played (43 of those being starts), going 25-13-5 with a tremendous .930 save percentage.

With Thomas Greiss being almost as good in 2018-19, it’s unlikely that Lehner built up the volume of games (and to some voters, most importantly wins) to be a serious Vezina threat. Nights like these should stand as a reminder of just how special his season has been.

Then again, Lehner and Greiss combined to win the William Jennings Trophy for the lowest GAA, so they get fitting recognition as a tandem.

Now, the question is: can he back it up during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs? For all of the Penguins’ flaws, they have a knack for making even the hottest goalies look cold.

3. Oliver Bjorkstrand

If the Blue Jackets hope to upset the mighty Lightning, they’ll probably need more than just a strong series from Artemi Panarin and for Sergei Bobrovsky to finally overcome the ghosts of playoffs past.

Someone like Bjorkstrand pitching in would really help. He’s been absolutely on fire during the last 10 games, firing in an impressive nine goals and two assists for 11 points. Bjorkstrand managed all of his assists in one game: Saturday’s 6-2 thumping of the Senators, where the winger also scored a goal.

Bjorkstrand’s shown signs of being a dangerous player in the past, including at lower levels than the NHL. He could be an X-factor in the first round … if Columbus manages to keep things close, at least.

Highlight of the Night

Scratch that, let’s call this what it is:

One more Gritty video

Gritty vs. goalies? The Flyers are embracing their history, right?

Factoids

Scores
TBL 6 – BOS 3
STL 3 – VAN 2 (SO)
MTL 6 – TOR 5 (SO)
CBJ 6 – OTT 2
BUF 7 – DET 1
NJD 4 – FLA 3 (OT)
CAR 4 – PHI 3
NYR 4 – PIT 3 (OT)
NYI 3 – WSH 0
NSH 5 – CHI 2
DAL 3 – MIN 0
EDM 3 – CGY 1
WPG 4 – ARI 2
LAK 5 – VGK 2
SJS 5 – COL 2

For the third consecutive postseason, NBC Sports’ coverage of Stanley Cup Playoff first-round games on NBCUniversal cable networks (NBCSN, USA Network and CNBC), as well as NHL Network, will air side-by-side and will be available for streaming on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app in local markets alongside regional sports network game telecasts. (Local blackouts apply in Las Vegas and Pittsburgh in the first round).

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.