Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 hr ago
As his family does at the end of every year, President Barack Obama is currently in the great state of Hawaii, vacationing during the holiday as best as the leader of the free world can kick back.
Here’s the thing: The 2015 Winter Classic? The hockey game between the Washington Capitals, D.C.’s local team, and the Chicago Blackhawks, Obama’s local team from back home, played at Nationals Park, the baseball stadium a short motorcade away from the White House?
Yeah, not in Honolulu.
So as Russian Machine Never Breaks reminds us, despite public pleas to have him attend the game, President Obama will not be watching hockey at Nationals Park on Jan. 1.
Because he’s not getting back to D.C. with his family until Jan. 4.
But hey, he did catch that Oregon State/Akron game in Hawaii this week.
Oh well. Maybe Biden’s not busy.
Marek Vs. Wyshynski Podcast: Mike Heika on the Dallas Stars; Ryan Lambert on world juniors; Frank Seravalli on the FlyersGreg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 4 hrs ago
It's a (I don't like) Mondays edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Star: Mike Heika on the Dallas Stars; Ryan Lambert on world juniors; Frank Seravalli on the Flyers.
• The Bartkowski hit.
• The playoffs race.
• News and notes.
Question of the Day: Who deserves coal in their stocking this hockey Christmas? Email email@example.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek . Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 5 hrs ago
Matt Bartkowski’s hit on Brian Gionta on Sunday was one of those moments when you wonder how it couldn’t be a suspension.
The velocity of the contact. The way the Buffalo Sabres forward's head flew back, before his body tumbled into the air, skates over shoulders, and he face-planted on the ice. The fact that he didn’t have possession of the puck, and the fact that the hit was so heinous that the on-ice officials handed him a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct. And the fact that Gionta was injured.
And yet, from the NHL on Monday: No hearing. No fine. No suspension.
According to the League, this was an attempt at a full body check from the Boston Bruins defenseman. The main point of contact was the shoulder; while the head rocked back, the League contends it was from the jolt of the check and not because Bartkowski’s hit principally connected with it.
Looking at it again, there’s also some question about whether this hit should have been a major at all. Gionta touches the puck – was that enough to give him some semblance of “possession” before Bartkowski railroaded him, i.e. was he “ eligible to be hit”?
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 6 hrs ago
Haven’t we all struggled in life? To find our footing? To accomplish something that might seem so perfunctory, so simple, so routine?
To that end: We are all Anton Khudobin.
The Carolina Hurricanes goalie battled the boards at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, and the boards won. After stumbling in his attempt to climb onto the Canes bench, like a newborn fawn attempting to walk across a frozen pond, Khudobin finally flopped his entire body over the boards with the help of Cam Ward.
It was a perfectly symbolic moment for Carolina, considering they couldn’t get one over all night: The New York Rangers won, 1-0.
But as Anton Khudobin has taught us all, if at first you don’t succeed, do what ever you can to not embarrass yourself until your buddy literally drags you to safety.
Also, that the game is played on ice.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 7 hrs ago
Combining the mind of Ilya Bryzgalov and the iconography of the Anaheim Ducks can only lead to one thing: an absolutely awesome goalie mask.
Like, for example, a Darkwing Duck tribute.
For the uninitiated, “Darkwing Duck” was a show that ran from 1991-95, back when Disney’s Duck-related programs ruled weekday afternoons. (See also: “DuckTales,” “TaleSpin”). It was a spin on golden age superheroes like The Shadow. The city he defended was St. Canard. One of his main adversaries was Negaduck, his evil doppelganger. It was pretty much the best.
Obviously, it made an impression on Bryz, too. He has Darkwing featured on his new mask riding his super-bike “The Rat Catcher,” which itself was a takeoff on Judge Dredd’s motorcycle.
From that mad genius Dave Gunnarsson, who designed the mask:
Ilya Bryzgalov´s new Ducks mask is here, and the mask is transformed into Darkwing´s awesome super bike ”The RatCatcher”! The mask is full of speed, action and burnouts…
Bad guys, watch out, Mr Darkwing is back in town, and of course Darkwing has his gas gun ready to take action on some bad guys…
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 15 hrs ago
No. 1 Star: Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
The NHL’s leading scorer led the Stars’ rally in a 6-5 thriller over the Edmonton Oilers. Down three goals in the second period, Seguin assisted on a Jamie Benn power-play goal; he then scored goals Nos. 24 and 25 in the third period. He added a goal in the shootout, but it was former Oiler Shawn Horcoff that won the game in Round 8.
No. 2 Star: Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers forward scored goals Nos. 13 and 14 in their 4-3 comeback win over the Winnipeg Jets in OT. He opened the scoring in the first period and then potted the game-winner just 10 seconds into overtime, converting a Dustin Byfuglien turnover into an extra point for the Flyers.
No. 3 Star: Calvin Pickard, Colorado Avalanche
Pickard made 34 saves in regulation and overtime and then outdueled Petr Mrazek in a nine-round shootout in the Avs’ 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Jarome Iginla had the shootout-winner.
Did You Know? Oilers rookie center Leon Draisaitl was a healthy scratch, despite not being loaned to play for Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 20 hrs ago
Matt Bartkowski of the Boston Bruins delivered what could be kindly called a “controversial” hit on the Buffalo Sabres’ Brian Gionta on Sunday night, earning a game misconduct at 14:08 of the first period.
Gionta tried to snag a pass -- a really, really bad pass that put him on the trolleytracks -- and tapped it with his stick. Bartkowski skated over and cut him off, as Gionta skated towards the blue line, connecting with Gionta’s shoulder and, potentially, his head.
The aesthetics were damning: Gionta flipping skates-over-shoulders and crashing to the ice. Marcus Foligno immediately engaged Bartkowski in a fight, earning an instigator, fighting major and a misconduct himself.
Bartkowski was given a 5-minute major for interference, five for fighting and a game misconduct. Gionta did not return to the game. Foligno also suffered an upper body injury and did not return.
Head-shot or no head shot, Bartkowski is likely going to get something from the NHL for delivering this kind of his to a defenseless opponent.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago
Goalie Rob Zepp has played in Florida, Lowell, Finland and Germany. He’s been an Everblade, a Monster, a Polar Bear and a Phantom.
For the first time in his career on Sunday. Zepp will be something he’s never been before: a starting goalie in the National Hockey League.
Zepp, 33, is scheduled to make his debut for the Philadelphia Flyers at the Winnipeg Jets. He was the backup to Ray Emery in the Flyers’ wild 7-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, as Emery gave up four goals on 25 shots. With back-to-back games and with Steve Mason injured, Zepp gets the call.
“He showed me in preseason he is a capable goalie,” coach Craig Berube said. “Definitely [had] a good preseason. Moved really well in net, side to side. Good structure to his game.”
Zepp worked on puck-handling with the Phantoms and Berube feels he’s improved there.
It’s been a rather unorthodox journey for Zepp to the NHL.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago
This week, James Neal of the Nashville Predators became the first player in the NHL to be fined under the new diving punishment standards. He was given a warning, then was given a $2,000 fine and a heaping spoonful of public shame.
The question is: How many other NHL players have been warned on diving, and are set up for a potential fine?
According to Damien Cox of Sportsnet, there are 22 players that have receiving a warning about diving this season.
Cox explained the procedure for the NHL in ruling on diving:
“Here’s how it works: Every Monday morning, they all get together. Nine voters in all, some from player ops, some from hockey ops, and they look at these videos. You need six of them to say ‘yeah, that’s diving’ before you issue a warning or in Neal’s case, a fine.”
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 days ago
Say, were you on the fence about casting an NHL All-Star Game ballot for Jonathan Toews?
Perhaps you’re worried he can’t rock a headband. Or pump iron. Perhaps you’re concerned about him not being the Canadian dream.
Well, the Chicago Blackhawks are about to knock your backside off that fence. Because it’s time to Exercise Your Right To Vote!
(Well, clearly someone inside the Blackhawks video team is a Tim and Eric fan…)
The Blackhawks debuted the first in what we assume is a series of kitschy player-centric videos that feature headbands, tanktops, pastel colors and a 1980s aesthetic.
And if you’ve ever wanted to see a super-intense Patrick Kane in aerobics gear on a step machine winking at you, merry Christmas.
Is it uh hot in here did someone maybe leave the Yule log on a little too long swoon …
The lesson here, folks: Jonathan Toews is a comedy genius who chooses not to unleash his powers, and any time you mine the 1980s for comedy, it’s gold.
And yes, that is an excuse to run this Los Angeles Kings video again: