paul stastny


Winnipeg 3
Columbus 2 (Recap)

Toronto 1
Pittsburgh 3 (Recap)

St. Louis 2
Ottawa 3 (OT) (Recap)

Dallas 2
Colorado 6 (Recap)


Notable Numbers

* The Colorado Avalanche steamrolled the Dallas Stars, thanks in no small part to Paul Stastny’s two goals and two assists for four points. He’s a pending UFA making $6.6M a year at 27 years old, and has 21 points (10 and 11) in 30  games…think the Avs let him walk for nothin’? Nu-uh. Point is, he just upped his trade value for Colorado (cause I don’t think they wanna give him near what he’ll get on the open market).

* Stastny’s teammates Parenteau (three assists) and Duchene (two assists) did just fine for themselves too. Meanwhile, their opponent Tyler Seguin limped along with a sad one and one for two, giving him 33 points in 30 games (11th in NHL points).

* Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner while while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 of 26 en route to the Penguins – essentially the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins-plus-Crosby – beating the Leafs 3-1 with an empty-netter. (Not sure why Kulemin’s rushing out to the point while his d-men are clearly going to be occupado for a sec and the puck’s on the wall).

* Evander Kane had a goal and an assist for the Jets as they snuck by the Blue Jackets 3-2.

* Chris Stewart scored twice for the St. Louis Blues, but the Ottawa Senators prevailed thanks to Bobby Ryan’s one-and-one for two, and Cody Ceci’s first NHL goal. More on that below.


What Happened

Sens win in OT

Cody Ceci scored his first NHL goal, which has to be a pretty cool day for a young player. OH, it was also an overtime winner at home versus a good opponent.

Yeah, it was most definitely a cool moment.


Speaking of NHL firsts…

The Leafs promising young defenseman Morgan Rielly also tallied his first NHL goal ever. And while it wasn’t in overtime, it did showcase his skill set nicely. Great skating, great wrister.


There was a (rightfully) unpunished “head shot”

Pens d-man Robert Bortuzzo stepped up on Leafs forward Jerry D’Amigo, and treated him like he would anyone with his head down near the puck who was trying to get by him – he body-checked him. Some head gets hit, but man – what’s a d-man supposed to do, get on his knees? Let him by?

Anyway, he’s not in any trouble for the play, the league recognized it for what it was.

The biggest shame? Toronto let D’Amigo back in the game, and he gets rocked a shift later…by Bortuzzo. He left the game with what appears to be a smashed rib and bruised brain, but that’s total observer speculation, devoid of true fact. Could just be a little shoulder twinge, we’ll see.

At least tough guy Jonathan Bernier exacted some revenge on the Pens Jayson Megna later on. (Via Redditor)


An Opinion

If you like big hits and have no sympathy for 16-year-olds getting hurt by 19-year-olds (who narrowly missed making Canada’s World Junior team), here’s Brendan Leipsic coming from an odd place on the ice to destroy Keegan Kolesar in the neutral zone. (You’re not a bad person for watching it, it’s okay.)

I get the concept, tough guys: if you’re on the same ice, you’re eligible to be hit. Tough beans. But that’s still pretty tough to watch.

Making the transition to a new league is tough. Younger players are all coming from somewhere that they were The Guy. If they had full possession before, they never really had trouble going where they wanted.

Now, think about the NHL’s shiftiest players who aren’t pure meat – Pavel Datsyuk, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby even. These guys never carry the puck for that long up the ice without basically having to strafe to avoid getting plowed, or moving the puck. You used to learn that before getting plowed meant getting a concussion, but hockey is full of big, fast people these days, so the lessons learned are harsher.

In a sense, young Mikael Granlund of the Minnesota Wild is learning these lessons – head up quicker, move it quicker, or learn to be shiftier – at the NHL level. Here’s what Mike Yeo said about learning to protect himself yesterday:

“There’s certain situations where you can learn to protect yourself in and there’s times where, especially in this league, that you can’t get away with some of the things that you were getting away with in other leagues. You have to be careful, too. One of the things that makes [Granlund] great is the way he competes, and I think he’s done a great job going to the middle of the ice and creating a lot more offense because of that.”

I was a less-than-tough junior kid, and my coach used to tell me to get my stick up and crosscheck people that tried to run me in the mouth because I was relatively talented and he didn’t want me to get hurt. Obviously that’s not remotely the point (or great advice) today, but the reality is, it’s a tough game, and you do need to be aware of the danger zones. You need to do to keep yourself safe. In Kolesar’s case maybe that means realize that getting up to top speed isn’t possible while carrying the puck across multiple zones anymore. Whatever. The point is, at some point, you gotta look out for yourself in hockey.

Mikael Granlund agreed with his coach’s assessment:

“You need to be smart. I feel that’s part of my game to go to those little holes and try to make tough plays. I really don’t want to get away from that. But I need to be smart and that’s something I should learn more.”

Every player goes through it.


Other News

* As you probably heard, Milan Lucic got in a bar fight over the weekend. He didn’t actually fight so much as he (apparently) just got hit, but still, the whole thing is kind of second-hand embarrassing to watch. Anyway. HE’S OVER YOU, VANCOUVER.

* Speaking of Boston, Shawn Thornton is appealing his 15 game suspension, as I think he should.

…Agreeing 15 games seems a bit much is not the same as approving of his actions, obviously. But I really believe the injury optics (the stretcher) are why the number was so high. It’s not too uncommon for a guy to pop up from a couple punches. That doesn’t make the punches right, so he should be suspended. But 15 is pretty huge. 

* Corey Potter got two games for his hit on Nick Bonino.

* And finally, Evander Kane is still as cool as the other side of the pillow:

Evander Kane

(Via Redditor)


Comments (12)

  1. Pretty brutal on that WHL hit.

    Eliteprospects lists the hitter (Leipsic) as 5’8, 165. The receiver (Kolesar) as 6’2, 205. I wonder if Leipsic has it in his mind to show what a tough guy he can be despite his small stature (looks like he has impressive offensive numbers). Google says he has at least one other suspension in addition to the one he’ll get for this.

    Either way, pretty chickenshit that he chooses someone in an awkward position (especially a younger kid) to make a statement.

    • Do you know that he knew that it was a younger kid?

    • The awkward position of carrying a puck through the neutral zone from the top of the circles…? Guy took a decent charge at him, but Jesus Christ… Head up man.. Completely avoidable on the receivers part.

      My favorite part was he submarined some guy trying to kill him, and casually skated away.

      Absolutely nothing chickenshit about taking a run at a player who’s got 40 pounds and 6 inches on you

      • I must not have a good hockey mind like you because I can’t figure out what the hell he’d be doing back there under normal, non-awkward circumstances. I wouldn’t expect the third forward to be charging at me from HIS OWN DEFENSIVE ZONE, behind the d-men who are already skating backwards, on the opposite side from the bench, after his team just had a couple shots on next and I was breaking the puck back out the other direction.

        • Not expecting things, thinking you’re safe, and making assumptions with your head down are all possible reasons that this guy got wrecked. That’s the point Bourne was making, you can’t get away with the stuff you’re used to doing as you advance up in the hockey world. The competition is tougher, the guys are bigger, and everyone plays at a higher level.

          It’s a brutal hit no doubt, but like 1505 says, it was an incident that the carrier could have avoided by keeping his head up. The hitter comes from way back out of last tuesday, but he’s definitely in the field of view for the guy carrying the puck.

        • The last 20 seconds of audio on the video explain why he was so far back, and why he did what he did.

        • I was at the game where Liepsic was absolutely getting mugged without a call. There were several really egregious attacks on him the previous shift-no calls. There were also two Referees working the game! On this shift, he got waylaid by Eliot (hmm, no call on that on either) long after he unloaded the puck, so after he got up, he was way behind the play. The Seattle player did not expect him to be there (a lot like when someone coming out of the penalty box clocks somebody skating by) and was caught totally unaware. Leipsic is very strong for his size (think Brenden Gallagher) and can pack a hell of a wallop. He usually hits very clean because he is so much smaller than the other players.

  2. I think 15 games is fair, Thornton wasn’t suspended for “a few punches” I’m sure as they said in the video, it was the “act of retribution” that decided the length of suspension. Policing hits by fights between consenting players is one thing, but an aggrieved player attacking another while defenseless just can’t happen and I think that’s the message they’re trying to send. To me the degree of injury doesn’t matter (DOPS may not agree), the circumstances of the act are more important. I don’t mind that he’s appealing, the PA wants to test the process etc., however I think the number of games should remain the same.

  3. Got to love Ottawa’s game plan against the Blues last night:
    1. Take out 2nd Leading Scorer in the NHL (accomplished with a hit to the head in his 1st shift, taking Steen out of the game)
    2. Take out the Blues 2nd leading Scorer/ top centerman with a hit to the head (accomplished that)
    3. When Steen returned to the game after the checking to the head penalty, Neil comes flying in with a blatent knee, which goes uncalled.

    Lots of cheap stuff going on from Ottawa last night.. I can’t wait to watch Ottawa come to STL and Reaves is back, there was a few numbers being taken as Steen politely reminded Panger post game.

    • Give me a break, Steen tried to avoid the hit from Smith at the last minute and that caused the head contact (obviously the league views it the same way). The ‘hit’ on Backes was a really weird, innocent looking collision where it looks like their helmets collided. Obviously, Backes got the worst of it and that’s unfortunate. There were a few hits by Blues players hitting Sens players face first into the boards. It’s hockey, it’s a fast and physical game.

      • Take a 5 minute smoke break if you need it… As for Smith it was 24 seconds into the game, Steen dumped the puck in after crossing the Red Line, he was curling off to make a line change, and Smith tracks him down with a blatent hit to the head. It was a penalty where the OFFICIAL called it a Check to the HEAD. Then once Smith get’s out of the box, Backes is holding the blue line when he’s checked towards the boards, where Smith is in no man’s land, and Backes falls into Smith.. Smith get’s up and Sucker Punches Backes in the back of the neck/head.. ANOTHER penalty by Smith..

        As much as you want to deny it, Smith hadn’t played more than a minute TOI in that game, and he had already went after the heads of the top 2 players on the Blues, and he received 4 PIM’s because of it..

        If that isn’t setting the pace to goonery, I don’t know what is…

        Also anyone who’s played the game knows that the attempt of Kneeing Steen by Neil didn’t go unnoticed. Kudos to Jackman for instantly engaging after that.

  4. OK possibly foolish question – that monster WHL hit – technically , is that even a charge? Because Leipsic glides in, I’d say if anything he comes into the collision with less speed than Kolesar. Leipsic doesn’t take strides, and he doesn’t leave his feet.
    The rule book says something about “distance traveled” (I had to look it up) but what else was Leipsic supposed to do if he’s out of the play and the greatest un-marked threat happens to be a zone away carrying the puck right toward him?
    (FWIW I am one of those bleeding heart Nancys who happens to believe skating with your head down in the neutral zone is not a crime worthy of capital punishment Just trying to understand the charging rule a bit better.)

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