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  • Dustin Penner runs a pretty funny Twitter feed.

    He has an acerbic wit, and cracks jokes at the expense of ex-teammates and trolls. He also asked President Obama is he had a place he could crash for a while when Penner was traded to the Washington Capitals.  

    Alas, every comedian has their blind spot, and apparently Penner’s is making demeaning jokes about women, and then trying to rationalize it.

    Like the time he called a 19-year-old driving a nice car a “prostitute.” That didn’t go over well.

    Then on Saturday night, Penner, currently a free agent, made a joke about rape.

    And it didn’t go over well.

    Is it always consensual if she's your girlfriend? Asking for my gf...& shortly arriving police

    — Dustin Penner (@Dustinpenner25) March 1, 2015

    Oof. The number of rapes, reported and unreported, that occur within dating relationships and marriages is staggering. This was … a rather regrettable joke. 

    Followed by:

    I came up with the joke with my gf U idiots freaking out about this.

    — Dustin Penner (@Dustinpenner25) March 1, 2015

    Is it still a terrible joke if your girlfriend consents to the punchline? A question for the ages. 

    And an immaterial one, as Penner then doubles-down:

    Is it a rape joke if it's your girlfriend? Is this even my girlfriend?!?!

    — Dustin Penner (@Dustinpenner25) March 1, 2015

    It may have been around this time when Penner saw some hockey fans on Twitter messaging TSN about his appearance on their trade deadline coverage on Monday, working with "Cabral ‘Cabbie’ Richards to provide a different take on TRADECENTRE” by exploring “the trending topics of Deadline Day and creating their own original hashtags.”

    Because having the rape joke guy as your social media monitor probably wasn't part of the production meeting. 

    So Penner then Tweeted:

    I see the offensive side of my joke. On behalf of those who laughed, my gf & I included, I apologize. We understand we are awful people.

    — Dustin Penner (@Dustinpenner25) March 1, 2015

    Hashtags such as: #HalfheartedApology.

  • The Florida Panthers have acquired both Dany Heatley and Jaromir Jagr in the last few days, which means it’s entirely possible they’re using a copy of EA Sports NHL ’96 to generate trades. (“TRADE ACCEPTED!”)

    Heatley was traded by the Anaheim Ducks along with a third-round pick to the Panthers for forward Tomas Fleischmann on Saturday. 

    Heatley had been toiling in the AHL for the Norfolk Admirals since December, recently having gone 15 games without a goal. The Panthers say the 34-year-old who recorded back-to-back 50-goal seasons from 2005-2007 is expected to report to AHL San Antonio.

    Fleischmann, 30, was expected to be dealt at the trade deadline because he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has seven goals and 21 assists in 52 games, skating to a plus-12. Fleischmann was a drag on possession this season. 

    Speculation had been that Fleischmann would land in Anaheim as a reunion with his former Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, who has added a few former Caps to his roster during his time in Cali (like David Steckel, Mathieu Perreault).

    He’s an OK depth player offensively, although maddeningly inconsistent. He was never a regular on the Capitals’ top line when Boudreau was there; could he get a shot with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry?

    Heatley makes $1 million against the cap. Fleischmann makes $4.5 million. At least one of them will be playing in the playoffs. 

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  • Tim Gleason is on his way to Washington – and Jack Hillen is going to Carolina. Great for Gleason to escape the Hurricanes. Stinks or Hillen to go from a contender to a team that’s embracing a tank. The Hurricanes picked up a fourth round pick as well.

    “Tim has been a steady presence on and off the ice for our team, and I wish him all the best in Washington,”said Carolina GM Ron Francis in a statement. “This gives us a chance to take a look at Jack for the remainder of the season and continue to accumulate assets for a deep draft this summer.”

    Well, Ron, I wouldn’t call a fourth rounder an “asset” of any major substance but nice spin.

    Said Caps GM Brian MacLellan: “We are pleased to welcome Tim to our organization … Tim is a veteran, physical defenseman and we feel his experience, toughness and skill set further strengthens our blueline.”

    Physical, toughnes, skill, playoffs, ROAR! Gleason has averaged 16:39 for the Canes this year and has seven points in 59 games ans is an unrestricted free agent after the season. Hillen has five points in 35 games, but has only averaged 12:22 all year. 

    In all sincerity, while the Caps were much-maligned for giving Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen long-term deals in the summer, from a short term perspective that’s a rough blueline – especially with Gleason who is a little bit bigger than Hillen, now in the mix.

    And as for Carolina, they’re 10 points clear of the Sabres for the NHL’s worst record. It’s just basically an asset for an asset plus a fourth rounder. 

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    Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • Why did your team win the Stanley Cup? “Secondary scoring.” 

    Why did your team lose in the playoffs? “A lack of secondary scoring.”

    Different album, same song. We hear it every year. Which is why the availability of a player like Mats Zuccarello at the trade deadline is pretty darn intriguing: He could be a vital piece for another contending team, and could be the player the New York Rangers lament dealing away due to economics if their offense stalls.

    Katie Strang of ESPN.com reports it “looks more likely that Rangers F Mats Zuccarello will be traded than re-signed. Teams have been told he's available.” That because talks on a long-term deal have broken down, per the NY Post.

    That’s because Zucc is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Rangers were already facing a cap crunch without the potential of a $69 million cap next season. The team and the player went with a one-year deal last year in the hopes of getting something done long-term. It didn’t materialize. He’s looking for $5-$5.5 million per season.

    He’s fifth on the team in scoring at 35 points in 58 games, with a plus-16. He’s an essential part of the team’s top six, and a player that can generate goals on his own. He also drives possession with a 54.4 percent Corsi Close, which is the best for all Rangers forwards with over 20 games played.

    Rangers fans don’t want the Hobbit Wizard to go, and that’s understandable. Absent any knowledge of who might come back in a deal, losing Zuccarello takes away an important piece for the Rangers.

    But it’s a business, the Rangers’ cap is what it is, and GM Glen Sather and Co. have shown little hesitation in moving players in-season whose contracts will be an issue in the offseason (see: Callahan, Ryan). 

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  • Andrew Sobotka remembers the power of the Stanley Cup. 

    He remembers hockey’s Holy Grail rolling down the streets of Chicago in the 2010 Pride Parade. He remembers watching people who might not otherwise attend a LGBT event lighting up when the float caught their eyes.

    “Everyone who is a Chicagoan was happy to have the Cup there,” said Sobotka, then president of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association, “and it continued the conversation about LGBT athletes.”

    The Stanley Cup was featured in the parade because the Chicago Blackhawks won it that season, and because defenseman Brent Sopel believed it would be an important way to honor a friend and his dedication to the LGBT movement.

    Sopel, who retired from hockey on Friday after 18 seasons as a pro, had been traded to the Atlanta Thrashers after the season but returned to Chicago in June 2010 for the parade. He wore his Hawks sweater with a shamrock over his heart, inscribed with the initials “BB” for the late Brendan Burke.

    "I wasn't here to advocate (anything), but if coming here helps break down walls in the meantime, so be it. I was here for Brendan," said Sopel at the parade. "I hope he is smiling (from heaven)."

    Burke, the son of Calgary Flames president Brian Burke, died in an auto accident earlier that year. "He was a very unique individual," Sopel said. "For him to come out, and then die a few months later ... when you're a parent and you have to bury a kid, it's just heartbreaking."

    Sobotka’s organization requested that the Blackhawks have a presence in the parade that year. Sopel answered the call, and team president John McDonough made a special arrangement for the Cup to be flown from Los Angeles, the site of the NHL draft that year, 15 hours earlier than scheduled so it could appear in the parade.

    It was the first time a professional sports trophy from the “big four” had appeared in a Pride Parade.

    “It hasn’t happened since,” said Sobotka.

    While that might seem like a step back for LGBT fans and athletes, Sobotka said many barriers have been broken since the Stanley Cup appeared in the Pride Parade.

    Today, athletes give interviews to mainstream and LGBT publications without causing a stir. Players offer support for LGBT causes without creating headlines – in Chicago, he cites Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp as vocal supporters.

    This June, around the Pride Parade, the Chicago Gay Hockey Association plans on having a tournament. Sobotka intends on asking Sopel to attend, along with other advocates in the NHL like Tommy Wingels of the San Jose Sharks.

    The ultimate goal, however, is to just to be seen as hockey players.

    “One of the things I’ve heard echoed from other groups is that we’re looking for this to become a non-story,” Sobotka said. “Some day, we don’t want to even exist.”

    It all starts with acknowledgement and respect, continues with conversation and breaking down barriers.

    Brent Sopel bringing the Stanley Cup to the Pride Parade may not define his 18 years as a pro or 12 years in the NHL – nor does it erase some of the other questionable stances he’s taken – but it remains an important moment for LGBT hockey players and fans.

    “It was a really big time. Not just for my organization, but for the city, and for fans around the country,” said Sobotka.

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  • There have been three KHL goaltenders credited with goals in the league's history, and last week former NHLer Jeff Deslauriers nearly added his name to the list.

    With under 30 seconds to go in Dinamo Riga’s 3-1 win over Medvescak Zagreb last Friday, Deslauriers caught a dumped-in puck from center ice, allowing him more than enough time to take a stab at scoring a goal. His attempt was fine, but Zagreb's defenseman Mark Flood’s effort to prevent the goal was finer:

    Deslauriers' eyes must have bee as big as saucers once he saw the trajectory and accuracy of his shot. But what an effort by fellow ex-NHLer Flood to go all out and prevent a potential goal as his team was down two with time running out.

    Stick-tap Robert Soderlind

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    Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • No. 1 Star: Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche

    Scored a goal and added two assists in a 5-4 shootout win over Dallas. Barrie was also a plus-3. Barrie has seven points in his last four games (three goals, four assists). Colorado leaped past Dallas in the playoff chase, though the Avs are still seven points behind Minnesota for the final Wild Card spot.

    No. 2 Star: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Made 28 saves in a 4-0 shutout of the Blackhawks. It was just Bishop’s second blanking of the season. The victory was his fourth in a row and pushed his record to 31-10-3. In his last four games he has allowed just four goals. 

    No. 3. Star: Anton Khudobin, Carolina Hurricanes

    Stopped 28 of 28 Washington Capitals shots on goal. It was his first shutout of the season. The Hurricanes now rest a comfortable 10 points clear of Buffalo in the race for the worst record in the NHL.

    Honorable Mention: Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal and added one assist and teammate Nate Guenin scored a goal and added two assists … Dallas forward Cody Eakin scored two goals and added one assist … Tampa center Steven Stamkos scored two goals … Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison notched two assists … Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak beat the Calgary Flames, allowing one score on 27 Flames shots on goal in a 2-1 win. Halak set an Islanders season record with 33 wins  … Islanders forward John Tavares picked up an assist … Calgary’s Karri Ramo allowed one goal on 38 Islanders shots on goal … Bruins forward David Pastrnak scored a goal and added an assist in a 3-2 win over New Jersey … Devils forward Jordin Tootoo scored a goal … Carolina forward Andrej Nestrasil notched two assists  … Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe scored a goal … Corey Perry scored the game-winner in Anaheim’s two-goal comeback win over Los Angeles. Perry also had two goals … Ryan Kesler and Emerson Etem also scored for the Ducks … Los Angeles forward Trevor Lewis scored a goal.

    Did You Know?: Ryan Spooner became the first Bruins player to score the first goal of his NHL career in overtime since Steve Heinze on March 28, 1992.

    Dishonorable Mention: Washington’s Alex Ovechkin was held pointless and was a minus-2. He has one point in his last four games … Devils forward Martin Havlat was a minus-3 … Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals to Colorado. He hasn’t allowed fewer than three scores in his last three starts … Chicago fell to 1-1-0 in the post Patrick Kane injury era … Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom was held pointless in his third straight game … Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling allowed four goals on 29 shots on goal … Los Angeles allowed four unanswered third period goals to lose 4-2 to the Ducks.

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  • And the Chicago Blackhawks appear to have gotten the defensive help they need. Wait, didn't they need a forward to replace the injured Patrick Kane? Yes, they do, but that's another story.

    Chicago started its trade deadline period by landing blueliner Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia.

    In return, the Flyers got a second round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional draft pick in 2016. Timonen hasn’t played all year due to blood clots in his lower right leg and lungs.

    Good for Timonen, one of the NHL’s true good guys, to go to a contender. Good for the Flyers to get something back for a guy who may never be the same again because of this issue. Good for the Blackhawks to get a guy who hasn’t played a game all season?

    Timonen had been practicing with the Flyers since early February and appeared ready to return to game action.

    Said Timonen to reporters Friday:

    “You can skate and practice, you can do so much,” Timonen said. “But playing the game is when you get your timing back and your instincts are taking over. You can’t simulate that in practice. It’s going to take a few games. I don’t have exhibition games to ease myself into it. I have to be good to go right away. I feel really good right now and I’m sure I can help the team for sure when I get into top shape. Probably won’t be right away, but I’m sure I can help the team.”

    And on his motivation:

    “I decided then, if that small chance happened, the only thing missing from my hockey career is a Stanley Cup,” Timonen said. “That was the only goal for which I’d return to hockey.”

    Said Chicago general manager Stan Bowman:

    "We have been working on this one for a while," Bowman said. "He was the defenseman we really wanted."

    And Philly general manager Ron Hextall on the Flyers' haul:

    "First of all his cap number is friendly, so you have a team adding certainly a top four defenseman, maybe a top-two defenseman, at a cap number that is reasonable, so there’s value there. Not only are you getting a player, but you’re getting a damn good person too.  A guy who’s going to work hard every day.  He’s a consummate professional. He’s going to have a good influence on Chicago. Players like this don’t fall off trees. I understand he hasn’t played, but on the flip side of him not playing, he’s a rested hockey player and he’s probably in the best shape of his life." 

    Hey, depth is important in the playoffs in many different ways. If Timonen is anything like the player who averaged over 20 minutes per-night a year ago and notched 35 points in 77 games, then Chicago will have bolstered its blueline with a savvy veteran puck moving defenseman. 

    If not, it didn’t have to give up a player off its roster for a guy whose one-year $2 million ($3.5 million cap hit per NHL Numbers) contract will expire at the end of the season. Still, will the Blackhawks go after forward help with Kane gone? It doesn’t feel like they’re done just yet. 

    Meanwhile, Chicago played Tampa during the deal. Gotta love mid-game trades. 

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    Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • Bravo to the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush, for arguably the most creative jersey of the year. Better than 50 Shades of Grey from the Bakersfield Condors? Probably. The Batman v. Riddler jerseys from the Toledo Walleye and Evansville IceMen? Maybe not. But this is still cool.

    Check out the book drive Dr. Seuss unis to be worn Saturday, Feb. 28 above.

    The Rush is no stranger to interesting promotions – once celebrating a victory with the Harlem Shake and also a beer chugging contest at another time.

    According to Next Impulse Sports “if fans bring a new or gently used book to the game to donate to a local charity they get $5 off of a game ticket.”

    If only the NHL could do in-game charity drives like these, because they're pretty great. 

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    Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • We’ve seen what it’s like to watch a giant in 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara play hockey. We came close to seeing 7-foot-7 Manute Bol on the ice, but sitting on the bench during an Indianapolis Ice game in 2002 caused his chronic rheumatoid arthritis to flare up and swell his feet, preventing him from taking a shift during a publicity stunt.

    But if you want to see a 7-foot-2, ex-NBA player lace ‘em up and skate, head out to the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona and you’ll catch Greg Ostertag playing beer league hockey.

    Ostertag, who spent 11 years in the NBA with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings, grew up in Texas loving hockey before steering himself towards a professional hoops career. Once he left the game in 2006, he eventually grew tired of the standard retired athlete hobby of hitting the links.

    From Jim Leitner of USA Hockey Magazine:

    “One day, I just decided to go find something to do besides playing golf every day,” says the 41-year-old Ostertag. “I was lucky to have a guy in Utah send me a pair of skates. Then I went to a rink, started skating around, and, once I got my feet under me again, I got into a league. I’ve been doing it ever since.
    “I don’t do it to stay in shape. I do it because it’s fun. I love playing hockey, and I love being around the guys. I’d do it five days a week if I could and if I had time.”

    Ostertag told Leitner that he gave up hockey for the same reason many kids do at a young age: it became too expensive. Obviously growing in a 7-foot-2 frame helped his hoops career along.

    After moving to Arizona, Ostertag became friendly with Shane Doan and Derek Morris of the Coyotes, who helped keep his love of hockey alive.

    Once a big presence on the basketball court, Ostertag now prides himself on his good positioning on the ice and his ability to act as a screen in front of opposing goaltenders. It makes sense. Chara is used in the same way at times. With a few extra inches on the Boston Bruins captain, how is any netminder supposed to see around that?

    Stick-tap Lost Lettermen

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    Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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