Greg Wyshynski

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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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  • NHL Three Stars: Marchand’s five sinks Flyers; Wickenheiser honored

     

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    No. 1 Star: Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins 

    Playing in his 500th NHL game, the Little Ball of Hate had two goals and three assists in the Bruins’ 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Both of his goals were unassisted, including an empty netter for his 17th goal of the season.   

    No. 2 Star: Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings

    Carter was the hero again for the Kings, as they defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 3-2. His OT goal was his 23rd of the season.

    No. 3 Star: Brock McGinn, Carolina Hurricanes

    The 22-year-old forward scored a goal and had three assists in their 7-4 win over the New York Islanders. John Tavares had two goals in the loss.

    Honorable Mention: Newly acquired Cody McLeod scored a goal to spark a Nashville Predators rally and played over 10 minutes (including power-play time) in their 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Nothing in the world makes sense anymore. … The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens had a wild one, with an ejection and goalie interference controversies and

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  • Joe Thornton stunned by ejection for spearing Paul Stastny (Video)

     

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    Joe Thornton was sitting in the penalty box for the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, having been whistled for an infraction against Paul Stastny of the St. Louis Blues.

    Perhaps he thought it was a roughing call, because when he heard that he had received a five-minute major for spearing and a game-misconduct, he seemed generally stunned by it.

    Here’s the play, and the reaction:

    Stastny gives him a tap, and he retaliates with his stick. It’s not a vicious spear, but a spear nonetheless, and the referees rung him up. The Sharks ended up losing 4-0 to goalie Carter Hutton and the Blues.

    As you can see, Thornton got into it with the Blues bench on his way out.

    Here’s how captain Alex Pietrangelo reacted to the incident:

    NHL

    That Alex Pietrangelo. So itchy.

    Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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  • NHL kills All-Star Breakaway Challenge, as fun is dead

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    We’re two weeks away from the NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, and apparently the League felt the only way to match the solemn self-importance of its 100 Greatest Players Of All-Time Presented By Molson Canadian is to smother the most entertaining portion of the Skills Competition with a pillow.

    The Breakaway Challenge is apparently dead.

    Long live the Breakaway Challenge.

    Nick Kypreos reported on Hockey Night In Canada that the prop comedy competition, which last season gave us the most memorable All-Star moment not named John Scott, is done.

    “They’re getting rid of it in the skills competition. No sunglasses. No hats for Ovie. No Superman cape for Kane. No mini-sticks for Corey Perry,” he said.

    The Breakaway Challenge was reintroduced in the 2008 All-Star Game as a “slam-dunk competition” for the NHL, with trick shots and wacky props and players helping each other do wacky things.

    At its worst, it was a uncomfortable string of “good job, good efforts” as players showed the

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  • Did Rangers get away with goalie interference on Carey Price?

    NHL

    Rick Nash scored the NHL equivalent of a layup against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, into an open net. How the net was left open, however, was a point of controversy, because it sure did seem that Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers dragged Canadiens goalie Carey Price out of the way with his skate.

    Here’s the play in question, which is now a footnote thanks to the Canadiens’ stirring 5-4 win over the Rangers, thanks to three quick third-period goals.

    The Canadiens challenged the play, but the goal was upheld. The NHL’s explanation:

    At 6:20 of the second period in the Rangers/Canadiens game, Montreal requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Kevin Hayes interfered with goaltender Carey Price before the puck entered the net. 

    After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed that the incidental contact outside the crease between Hayes and Price did not constitute a goaltender interference infraction.

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  • Andreas Athanasiou breaks down Penguins for goal of year candidate (Video)

    NHL

    Who’s the fastest player in the NHL?

    Connor McDavid gets a lot of love in that debate, mostly because of the way he exhibits blazing speed while slashing through opposing defenses. But as Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings showed against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a spectacular goal on Saturday night, he very much belongs in that conversation – and might be the ultimate answer.

    Check out Athanasiou breaking down the Penguins defense on his ninth goal of the season:

    Oh, wow, that was gorgeous.

    Athanasiou takes the puck behind his own net, motors to center ice – past Evgeni Malkin, who waves at him with his stick – and then into the Penguins zone. He had Justin Schultz and Carl Hagelin in front of him, and just slices through them like Morimoto cutting salmon sashimi, maintaining control of the puck.

    Lest anyone think Athanasiou is all skate, no finish, he roofs it past Marc-Andre Fleury for the early goal of the year candidate.

    That gave Detroit the lead, and the eventually

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  • Andrew Shaw ejected for blindside hit, fights Rangers (Video)

    Getty Images

    Montreal Canadiens pest Andrew Shaw had been out since with Dec. 12 with an concussion before making his return against the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

    Just think of all the ill-advised, impulse control problem plays that absence cost us.

    Because in his first game back, Shaw nailed Jesper Fast of the Rangers with a blindside hit in the first period, and then fought J.T. Miller in its aftermath.

    Shaw was given a major for interference, five for fighting and ejected from the game.

    This completed a short (5:19 time on ice) but eventful game for Shaw, mostly involving interference against the Rangers.

    A Phillip Danault goal was overturned on video review thanks to Shaw falling into Rangers goalie Antti Raanta.

    Later, another interference penalty on Shaw, against Ryan McDonagh, had just ended with the Rangers cored their first goal.

    The Canadiens ended up winning a wild game, 5-4, which

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  • Hockey goalie scores goal on epic blunder by opponent (Video)

    NHL

    The Gatineau Olympiques took on Rimouski Oceanic on Friday night, which you’ll recall was Friday The 13th. We suppose it’s only natural, then, that the game included a complete horror show involving a guy in a goalie mask.

    Olympiques netminder Mathieu Bellemare actually scored a goal on Friday night, which must have been a thrill. But for every high, there’s a low, and it took an epic, embarrassing blunder by his opponent for it to happen.

    In the second period, Bellemare cleared the puck out of his own zone by firing it off the glass. It traveled down to the opposing goaltender, Jimmy Lemay of Rimouski. Facing pressure from the Gatineau forecheck, he tried to backhand the puck to his defenseman behind the net.

    And he proceeded to pass it … right into his own net.

    Ouch. That was … not good.

    How great was that moment when the Gatineau players were all trying to congratulate Zack MacEwen and he’s pointing down ice to Bellemare?

    We’re going to go ahead and guess that 99 percent of goalie

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