This weekend Gary Bettman announced that the 2015 Winter Classic is going to be exactly what we all thought it was going to be: Leafs/Wings in Ann Arbour's "Big House." Here are the sweaters.

This weekend Gary Bettman announced that the 2014 Winter Classic is going to be exactly what we all thought it was going to be: Leafs/Wings in Ann Arbour’s “Big House.” Here are the sweaters.

Good morning! “What’d I Miss?” is a feature that will run after weekends for those people who used their weekend like, doin’ stuff instead of constantly watching hockey. Doin’ stuff is the worst. Stick-tap to Pro Hockey Talk, a major source for this.

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Thanks to Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby, the Washington Capitals are a thing again

Alex Ovechkin sniped his second hat-trick of the season on Saturday and followed it up with two more on Sunday meaning… – wait for it – … he’s now tied for the NHL lead in goals with Steven Stamkos (25!). NOT BAD.

Washington Capitals v Florida Panthers

A note: Ovy and Stamkos seem to be scoring an awful lot of goals from the left circle (and backdoor, in Ovy’s case) this year, despite the fact that every team knows it’s coming. Weird.

Anyway, the Capitals have taken over first in the Southleast thanks to four straight wins (two on the weekend, over the Panthers and Lightning), and thus, the third seed in the Eastern Conference. With the other teams struggling in that division – and hey, dude, the other teams are struggling, particularly Winnipeg (their win over Philly on the weekend killed a five game losing streak) and Carolina (four game losing streak so far)  -  they look like they’re a lock to own that spot.

Another big reason, as mentioned, is Braden Holtby. Homie has posted a 2.19 goals against and .929 save percentage in his last 18 starts. None too shabby.

Things are kind of in disarray in New Jersey

They’ve lost seven straight games after dropping to the Leafs and Sabres this weekend. They’ve grabbed points in four of those games (“Thanks Mr. Bettman, three point games are swell!”), but they’re still tumbling down the table, currently sitting in ninth in the East.

James Neal’s brain took a blow

It’s a really tough hit to prove intent on, though I personally think there was some. Have a look for yourself: James Neal and Michael Del Zotto went to hit, Neal ends up going behind Del Zotto, and the latter turns into him in a strange way:

There won’t be any supplemental discipline, but needless to say, Neal was a little foggy, and may be out awhile.

Del Zotto:

“I think they just dumped (the puck) in, and I knew I was going to get hit on the forecheck. I just tried to kind of reverse hit and brace myself. I’m not sure exactly what happened.”

The Pens got revenge for the 6-1 shellacking the Rangers gave them last week, beating them 2-1 Friday night.

Zack Redmond returned to the ice after damn near bleeding out on it February 21st

He legitimately almost died after a collision in practice with Antti Miettinen resulted in his femoral artery getting cut. Here’s what NHL.com’s Winnipeg correspondent Patrick Williams tweeted on the weekend:

AHHHHHHH (click to enlarge, if that’s your thing). The second scar, I believe, is from where they had to go in to get spare parts to fix the problem, in the world’s most laymen explanation ever.

Here’s Redmond from Williams follow-up piece, who got a standing ovation from the crowd in Winnipeg when he was shown on the big screen at their Saturday game:

“The whole week’s been pretty crazy, Obviously everybody knows Winipeg’s a great place to play; all the support that they have is incredible. Y’know, it’s just been more than I could have ever imagined.”

“These little things happen, and they just kind of teach you that you can’t take things for granted, they kind of put it into perspective. Skating yesterday and today was amazing; it was great to get back out there again.”

Pro Hockey talk has more on the story here.

Speaking of gross terrible things, Eric Wellwood cut some tendons in his leg with his own skate

If your squeamish, skip the following picture. Wellwood played four games with Philadelphia this season, and was playing for Adirondack of the AHL against Bridgeport when this happened:

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wellwood's skate

AHHHHHHHH this post is gross today. Image via @DannySyvret, you can read more about the situation here.

Mike Smith furthered his reputation as The Constantly Wronged Goaltender

I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right to be pissed off after this play, but look, it’s not like Smith is the only goalie who has to deal with late pokes, yet he is the only one who feels the need to be the world’s most dramatic person.

The poke is stupid, and I have no problem with Smith attempting (and failing, which is funny) the stick smash, it just adds to the collection of Mike Smith being Mike Smith.

New Jersey Devils v Buffalo Sabres

Steve Sullivan was reunited with an old friend

I thought this was cool: when 38-year-old Steve Sullivan was traded to the New Jersey Devils at the deadline, it wasn’t immediately clear who he’d play with. This weekend, we found out that one of the guys he’d be skating alongside is Patrik Elias, which has happened before…almost two decades ago.

That was with the Albany River Rats in the AHL. As Elias and Sullivan explained it: the former speaks better English now, both have a few more wrinkles, and both are a lot smarter players than they used to be.

More from Elias:

“That’s where it started. Those were great times we had. It was a lot of fun, although not the first few weeks and months for me coming from a totally different environment and not speaking the language.

The boys made it easier and I had a tremendous time my first year there playing with Sully and Scotty Pellerin. It was enjoyable. Having Robbie Ftorek as a coach, he made it fun for us. A lot of good memories.”

Cory Conacher got on the board with the Sens

And it was a beauty. Goal scorer’s read to slide backdoor, great look and execution from Silvferberg.

Goalie Talk!

Ilya Bryzgalov got yanked, so Steve Mason made his Flyers debut

And he was perfect! Nine saves in all, but still, no goals against. The future of Flyers goaltending has arrived.

Brian Elliot got a shutout

NHL All-Star, NHL third-stringer, AHL starter…not really sure what to think of this guy right now, but good for him for giving a strong showing against the Red Wings on the weekend. His numbers are still pretty gross (3.14 GAA, .879 sv. %), but it’s an improvement.

Hey, maybe Bouwmeester will get to see the playoffs for his first time ever! Like, EVER.

Nick bounce-Backstrom

On Thursday against the Kings, Backstrom started and made…no saves. He gave up two on two shots and got the hook. Yesterday he got the nod again against Columbus and… – drumroll please – … he shut them out 3-0, hurray!

Kay, enough goalie stuff.

Alexei Emelin hurt himself hitting Milan Lucic

That’ll happen. He’s out with a lower body injury.

Martin Erat’s also out with a lower body injury, because, well, watch

Geez. Still no word if there will be supplemental discipline for Erik Gudbranson or not, but I personally don’t care for that “finished check.”

Don’t look know, but the Islanders are kind of legitimate playoff threats

They’ve just sort of crept along and stayed out of the limelight, riding John Tavares (10th in NHL scoring with 40 points in 39 games) to a few wins, and here we are:

east standings

They’ve won six of their last eight, and have a solid shot at making playoffs. Isles fans have started chanting “we want playoffs” at games and I…I don’t know what to do with myself. This is bizarre and awesome.

Bettman, Phoenix, words, etc.

Do with that information what you will.

The playoffs are a clinch-able distance away

And the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins went done and clinched this weekend. They’re in.

 You guys. YOU GUYS. The “fight” below actually happened. Meet me below

YOU GUYS. Below is a fight from the Swiss Eishockey League, and it actually happened. It’s a gloves-on fight, swear to goodness. We used to do this in the dressing room before actual games as kids, I believe it was called “Gladiators” or something.

The guilty parties are named Sebastien Schilt (of Gottéron)and Alain Berger (of SC Bern). The latter actual spent a little time in North America (in the AHL), so let’s mostly chirp him for this display.

(Stick-tap to Puck Daddy for that video)

Comments (15)

  1. As I recall, guys on my team would refer to those locker room gloves-on fights as “cage rage” since you’d strap on the helmet as well. I don’t remember anybody dancing like Muhammad Ali in ours, though.

  2. I’m so confused with my Islanders. At this point in the season, I’m usually looking at what prospects I hope would drop to the Islanders with their lottery pick, but now I find myself looking at the possibility of going to the playoffs. What’s going on, this feels really weird.

    • It’s the first time I like all of their lines in a decade at least. Tavares-Moulson is beast mode as always. Bailey and Okposo are buzzing, Grabner-Nielsen keep doing their great PK work and secondary scoring, Martin-Cizikas-McDonald has become the perfect grinder line that adds a surprisingly high amount of goals as well. And all of this is with 3 first round picks playing outstanding in the AHL. If they can solve the goalie situation long term and round out the defense this team can be truly legit.

  3. Ahhh, makes me feel young again. Jumpy little bugger. You can tell he’s a professional.

  4. “Alex Ovechkin sniped his second hat-trick of the season on Saturday and followed it up with two more on Sunday meaning… – wait for it – … he’s now tied for the NHL lead in goals with Steven Stamkos.”

    Care to comment, Mr. Milbury?

    • Please see my post below.

      Let’s see how he does against MTL, TOR, OTT, and BOS before handing him the Masterton trophy k?

      • 1/27 BUF (1)
        1/31 TOR (1)
        2/7 PIT (1)
        2/9 FLA (1)
        2/12 FLA (1)
        2/23 NJ (3)
        3/7 FLA (1)
        3/14 CAR (1)
        3/17 BUF (1)
        3/19 PIT (1)
        3/21 WPG (1)
        3/22 WPG (2)
        3/24 NYR (1)
        3/30 BUF (1)
        3/31 PHI (1)
        4/2 CAR (2)
        4/6 FLA (3)

        As you can see he has already scored against playoff teams, including the Pens. And his first hat trick against the Devils when they were still rolling and hadn’t yet lost Brodeur and later Kovalchuk.

        I may have my doubts about the team being able to hang on to a playoff spot and/or going deep. But Ovechkin has definitely regained his scoring touch. As has Backstrom with his assists. Would you similarly judge Stankos’ goals to be less worthy because he’s on a team in the Southeast. I don’t. He’s just as amazing of a player.

        • Good breakdown.

          OV is a different player the last 2 or 3 weeks. He looks far more dangerous and has more jump in his step. Nice seeing him get a sweet deflection last night. Backstrom is awesome, but was also similarly crappy at the beginning of the season.

          It’s unfortunate that they were split up so early on, I think it was a mistake and the Caps could have gotten back on board sooner. I still think OV is too one-dimensional, but he seems to really be working on his game, and the effort is there.

  5. This season, the Washington Capitals have won 2 games against playoff teams.

    The record is something like 2-12-3.

    Huge issue with you calling them a lock since they have to play decent teams down the stretch. Otherwise an awesome post.

  6. Further to my post, the Washington Capitals have not won in regulation against a playoff team this year.

    They have won 2 shootouts against the current 7 and 8 seed. And lost the other 15 or so games.

    Is it too early to plan the parade route in DC?

  7. Hey Justin, Do you think the Lucic knee is suspension worthy? I know Emelin was going to hit him and he was defending himself but leading with the knee like that is very dangerous. The Habs just announced that Emelin is done for the season with torn ligaments in his knee. I think it’s a reckless/dirty play by Lucic that deserves at least a phone call from Shanahan. P.S. I’m neither a Habs nor Bruins fan.

    • I hate to be “that guy”, but did you even watch the clip? What knee are you talking about?

      • Maybe how his knee was bent because he was in stride? I honestly have no idea what knee he might be talking about

  8. According to Cam Charron’s high level stats analysisand his defenders (see a few weeks ago) , this outcome is impossible because Ovechkin is getting old.

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