Greg Wyshynski

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  • NHL adds crazy shot accuracy event to All-Star Skills Competition

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    With the glorious prop comedy of the Breakaway Challenge dead and buried by the NHL and its players, the All-Star Skills Competition needed a replacement event.

    According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the new event is going to basically be Score-O on steroids.

    Here are the details on “The Four-Line Challenge” at the Los Angeles All-Star Game:

    With the demise of the breakaway challenge, which was as much the players’ decision as the league’s, the skills competition adds what’s called “The Four Line Challenge” as a replacement.

    Players will try to hit targets in the net from the closest blueline, centre ice, the far blueline and then the opposite goal line. Goalies will be offered the chance to try from the farthest distance, with more points available if they can do it.

    So the NHL and the NHLPA do away with the hockey equivalent of the NBA slam-dunk competition in favor of the hockey-equivalent of the NBA three-point shooting competition.

    Is this thing going to work? Potentially.

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  • Chris Kreider fined for hitting Eakin in head with own helmet (Video)

    NHL

    Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers played over 17 minutes in their wacky 7-6 loss to the Dallas Stars, which was a rather exceptional total given that he should have been handed a match penalty for weaponizing an opponent’s helmet early in the second period.

    Kreider and Cody Eakin of the Stars had a bit of a wrestling match on Tuesday night, with Kreider at one point ripping off Eakin’s lid and bouncing it off his unprotected head:

    On Wednesday, the NHL fined Kreider $5,000, which is the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for the helmet bashing incident.

    Although he plays over the edge with frequency, Kreider has never been suspended by the Department of Player Safety.

    The NHL has fined, rather than suspended, players before for this type of incident. Like Darcy Tucker back in 2005, against Cam Janssen:

    Then-NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell fined Tucker $2,500 and said, “We did not feel it was Tucker’s intent to hurt Janssen with the helmet. He was

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  • Total, absolute Henrik Lundqvist panic for Rangers

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    Henrik Lundqvist sat in his dressing room stall, hat down over his eyes, doing something he’s become all too accustomed to doing this season for the New York Rangers: Answering questions about his terrible numbers and his broken confidence, and biting through his lip not to deflect too much of the blame to the team in front of him.

    “It’s embarrassing. Frustrating and disappointing at the same time,” he said after a loss to the Dallas Stars after allowing a comical seven goals. He’s allowed 20 in his last 113 shots, one of the most putrid stretches of the 34-year-old’s career.

    “When you’re looking for confidence and a good feeling, you’re hoping for a game where there’s a lot of structure. Shots are more to the outside. But that’s not the case right now,” he said. “A lot of chances right in front, and I just need to get going. It’s hard. You try to do all the right things, but it’s not paying off right now.”

    When Lundqvist overcame his annual “push from the backup goalie,” many expected

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  • Capuano firing the beginning of the end for Garth Snow


    These are not Jack Capuano’s New York Islanders. These are Garth Snow’s New York Islanders.

    Yes, Capuano coached them for seven seasons. The odd lineup decisions were his. The inability to get something out of young talent, something that’s cut the legs out from this franchise, was his. The way that a 100-point team, which the Islanders have been for the last two seasons, always felt like it was 100 miles from Stanley Cup contention was partially his fault, too.

    With 40 games left in the season and eight points away from the last wild card slot, it was clear to ownership that Capuano wasn’t working. So they empowered Snow to fire him.

    “This is an organizational decision. It’s not a dictatorship. There’s lots of dialogue, all throughout the organization, when big decisions were made,” said Snow. “At the end of the day, I don’t think that Jack was going to be a coach that we were going to bring back. To name Dougie Weight the interim head coach, we can start our coaching search now and

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  • Did refs blow call on that Patric Hornqvist hit on T.J. Oshie?

    AP

    The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 8-7 win over the Washington Capitals on Monday night was one of the most entertaining regular-season games in recent memory. (The ratings for NBCSN were huge, comparatively.)

    It was also one of the most controversial games in recent memory, which is understandable when the Capitals and Penguins are on the ice. Every missed call is a travesty, every close call is swung in either direction because the refs or the NHL or the Stonecutters want one team to win.

    But beyond the goalie interference reviews and the Sidney Crosby “trip” on Alex Ovechkin in the all-too-brief overtime, there’s one play that’s clearly garnered the most attention: Patric Hornqvist’s high hit on T.J. Oshie, which sent the Capitals forward to the locker room for evaluation. (Oshie would return.)

    A few reactions to the play. First, from Russian Machine Never Breaks:

    Patric Hornqvist cross-checked forward TJ Oshie in the chin, causing the Caps forward to leave the game briefly. The officials

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  • Jets turn back to Ondrej Pavelec to save season he was sinking

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    The Winnipeg Jets are 20-23-4, and their 44 points puts them four out of the wild card in the Western Conference. This isn’t great, but it’s also not insurmountable – really, it’s nothing they couldn’t overcome if they could just keep the puck out of their own damn net once in a while.

    Therein lies the problem: Connor Hellebuyck, the team’s goalie of the future, has been wildly inconsistent with a .907 save percentage. Michael Hutchinson has been … not good, with an .893 save percentage and a 3.23 GAA in 20 games.

    They were given the net when Ondrej Pavelec, the beleaguered ex-starter, was dropped on waivers and sent to the AHL. Now, with their goaltending still in shambles, he’s been recalled to solve the problem that the solution to his problem has failed to solve. (Everybody got that?)

    From the Jets:

    The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, in conjunction with its AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, announced today they have recalled goaltender Ondrej Pavelec from the Moose. Ben Chiarot has

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  • Jersey Fouls: Our inaugural anti-President Trump foul (Photo)

     

    Puck Daddy

    Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, unless Obama does that thing where he resigns for a day, Biden becomes No. 45 and all of Trump’s merchandise becomes outdated.

    Protests are expected, as we’ve seen in our years of covering Jersey Fouls, hockey fans can sometimes use their walking canvases as a place for political statements. We’ve had our Obama ones and we’ve had our Sarah Palin ones. We’ve also had a Trump one for the Nashville Predators, but on the supportive side.

    But this Foul from the San Jose Sharks’ game against the St. Louis Blues recently is, as far as our inbox goes, the inaugural Donald Trump Protest Jersey.

    Our only question is if it’s an outlier, or part of a larger trend.

    In any event, we back to one of the basic philosophies for Jersey Fouls, which is: Who in their right mind pays money to do this to a hockey jersey!?

    Also, somewhere, Nos. 45 Jody Shelley and Dody Wood weep …

    s/t Puck Daddy reader C.C. Hollywood

    Greg

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  • Jamie Benn murders his own hockey sticks for failing him (Video)

    NHL

    It’s been a frustrating season for Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. Not only because he’s playing in front of the goaltending equivalent of a ‘Welcome’ mat, but because he went from 41 goals last season to just 10 in 40 games this season.

    Heading into the Stars’ game at the Buffalo Sabres on Monday afternoon, Benn had tallied one goal since Dec. 15. To put this in terms you’ll better understand: Jamie Benn has one goal since ROGUE ONE premiered.

    In Buffalo, Benn finally decided to take his frustrations out on the source of these offensive struggles: His sticks.

    Here’s Jamie Benn. He’s a lumberjack and he’s OK. He sleeps all night and he skates all day.

    Somewhere, Bo Jackson is nodding in knowing appreciation.

    So that’s one stick he cracked in half on the ice, and two more on the bench. It was at that moment John Klingberg nervously scooted over from his captain, lest Benn mistake him for a stick as well.

    For their role in his offensive struggles, Jamie Benn crushed about $600 worth of

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  • Are the Minnesota Wild Stanley Cup contenders?

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    When Bruce Boudreau took over the Minnesota Wild, there was skepticism that one of the best coaches in the National Hockey League had landed with a thud.

    There was no Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom, no Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry. This was a team whose window of opportunity was pried open by the blockbuster free-agent signings of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise in 2012, but was never wide enough for the Wild to climb through and truly contend: Four playoff appearances, with first-round defeats sandwiched around a pair of second-round losses.

    What Boudreau inherited was an offense that was 19th in goals-scored. He inherited a goalie in Devan Dubnyk for whom the jury was still out, although there were signs he wasn’t an aberration even as he didn’t repeat his stellar numbers from Year 1 with the Wild. He inherited a declining Parise and Mikko Koivu, a team that lacked a true No. 1 center and a collection of young players who were good, but not great.

    And now this team is in first place in

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  • MacTavish unleashes Oilers’ scary mascot on Harvey The Hound (Video)

    Oilers

    In 2003, Craig MacTavish was coaching the Edmonton Oilers when Calgary Flames mascot Harvey the Hound taunted him at the bench.

    The Flames were winning 4-0. MacTavish was pissed. So when Harvey mocked him yet again, MacTavish reached up, grabbed its tongue, yanked it out and threw it into the crowd.

    It was pretty much the greatest thing ever:

    In 2016, MacTavish is Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers. He apparently still has a grudge against Harvey. And much like Darth Sideous groomed Darth Maul as a lethal weapon against the Jedi, MacTavish apparently has been programming his nightmare fuel new mascot, Hunter The Canadian Lynx, to become a tongue-ripping killing machine.

    (Hunter, forever known around these parts as “the cover model of an issue of ‘Cat Fancy’ guest-edited by Guillermo del Toro.”)

    Here’s the video evidence from the Oilers:

    Kudos for the “JFK,” “Psycho” and 1980s training montage references. And for the amazing set decoration in the “Calgary

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