Meeting Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz inspired Jakub Voracek to fight

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Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek came into his draft year with the nickname “Baby Jagr” among some, but that doesn’t mean that he only finds inspiration from finesse players.

As it turns out, Voracek fought in part because he had the chance to meet legendary Flyers enforcer Dave “The Hammer” Schultz before Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“I saw Hammer (Dave) Schultz before the game,” Voracek said, “so I wanted to show him that I got something.”

Did he ever, as this fight against Rob Scuderi drew rave reviews from the likes of Wayne Simmonds.

… As if Voracek wasn’t already endearing himself to Flyers fans thanks to breakthrough scoring seasons on top of breakthrough scoring seasons.

(Granted, some might hope that he preserves those magic hands on most occasions, though.)

For more on that brawl-fest, click here.

NHL on NBCSN: Penguins vs. Blackhawks on Rivalry Night

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks at the Consol Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight as part of a back-to-back set of games on NBCSN on Wednesday. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

After battering the Arizona Coyotes, the Chicago Blackhawks travel to Pittsburgh to face a Penguins team that must be a little battered following a violent loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Technically, both teams are on a back-to-back, yet the Blackhawks won 6-1 while the Penguins faced their cross-state rivals in a bitter overtime feud, so one almost feels inclined to give the edge to Chicago going in.

Another factor in pegging the Blackhawks as mild favorites: while Chicago’s been up and down in its own right, the Penguins have really been struggling lately.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Wednesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Pittsburgh has lost three games in a row and five of seven. They only have four wins (4-6-3) since Dec. 22.

The Penguins hope to enter the All-Star break on a high note, then, as they’ll start a tough stretch afterward with a home game against the (currently) red-hot Winnipeg Jets and then face a road-heavy haul.

Things won’t be any easier in the likely event that Kris Letang won’t be able to play thanks to Zac Rinaldo’s controversial hit from Tuesday, either.

Technically, the Blackhawks begin a seven-game road trip tonight, although the All-Star break essentially boils it down to a six-game jaunt.

Regardless, they probably want to set a tone for that considering a tough array of California opponents followed by what could be a harrowing trio of games against hungry Central Division rivals.

Even with Letang out, there should be no shortage of star power on hand on Rivalry Night.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin may see linemates change due to injuries and other circumstances, yet they remain elite as ever. Thomas Greiss played last night, so expect Marc-Andre Fleury in net.

The Blackhawks are a in a similar boat as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane continue to lead a band of very talented players. Much like Fleury, Corey Crawford got last night off, so he should be fresh for this one.

All in all, these rare games between two model NHL franchises serve as delicious hockey treats. Savor this one on NBCSN tonight.

Video: NHL offers Flyers’ Rinaldo in-person hearing

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Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo will face a lengthy suspension.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced via Twitter late Tuesday evening that Rinaldo has been offered an in-person hearing after he was given a major boarding penalty for a high hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.

An in-person hearing means the suspension could exceed five games.

The incident occurred in the first period of Tuesday’s game. Letang left the game and did not return. It’s unknown if Letang has a concussion, however he did undergo concussion tests, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“I changed the whole game, man. Who knows what woulda happened if I didn’t do what I did?” Rinaldo told reporters afterward.

“I hit him in the back of the shoulder. The power of my hit made his head hit the glass. I didn’t hit him from behind.”

Rinaldo has a history as a repeat offender in the NHL, with his last suspension coming last April.

Flyers’ Rinaldo: ‘I changed the whole game, man’

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Zac Rinaldo could be facing supplemental discipline from the National Hockey League for leaving his feet to hit Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and getting tossed from Tuesday’s game as a result.

But the Flyers forward sees that moment as a defining moment in what was a heated, emotional and physical battle between two fierce rivals.

“I changed the whole game, man. Who knows what woulda happened if I didn’t do what I did?” Rinaldo remarked to reporters, according to Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post.

I hit him in the back of the shoulder. The power of my hit made his head hit the glass. I didn’t hit him from behind,” he went on to add, as per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The incident occurred in the first period, and Rinaldo was ejected after receiving a boarding major. The bad blood spilled over into the second period, with both teams engaging in a total of four fights.

Letang never returned to the game. The Penguins, having been penalized twice in overtime, eventually gave up the winning power play goal to the Flyers, who took this game 3-2.

According to Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review, Letang had been given a concussion test.

“This doesn’t mean it is a concussion. We’ll see tomorrow,” said Penguins coach Mike Johnston, as per Yohe.

Video: Flyers win fight-filled contest against Penguins in overtime

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It was a battle. Just another one between two NHL teams from Pennsylvania. And the Philadelphia Flyers came away with the victory.

In a game between the two fierce rivals, the Flyers outlasted the Penguins by a final score of 3-2 in overtime, courtesy not one but two four-on-three powers play in the extra period. Claude Giroux scored the winner on a scramble in front of the Pittsburgh net, as he snapped home a loose puck that had gotten caught up in the equipment of sprawling goalie Thomas Greiss.

The Flyers were unsuccessful in their first man advantage of the overtime. But they were given another opportunity when the Penguins took a bench minor for too many men on the ice, giving Philadelphia’s sixth-ranked power play another opportunity.

Giroux’s goal capped off a wild, almost out-of-control game. There were four fights in the second period, as the animosity continued to build. The two teams combined for 93 penalty minutes.

Flyers’ forward Zac Rinaldo was tossed in the first period for a major penalty for boarding on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, who left the game and did not return due to injury.