Nicholas J. Cotsonika
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s Three Periods column appears on Thursdays. This week’s topics include how Pascal Dupuis came back from a bad knee injury and another scary incident; how Olli Maatta has kept his composure while playing with a tumor on his neck; and notes on Patric Hornqvist, John Moore, Stephane Quintal, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
FIRST PERIOD: The incredible comeback(s) of the Penguins’ Pascal Dupuis
We watch for entertainment. We watch for inspiration – sports, hockey, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mario Lemieux came back from cancer, Sidney Crosby from concussions, Kris Letang from a stroke.
Now Olli Maatta is playing with a tumor that is probably cancerous (more on him in the Second Period), and Pascal Dupuis is continuing his fairy tale of a career.
Dupuis is 35 years old. One of his strengths is speed, and he suffered a nasty knee injury that required reconstructive surgery. Still, he came back with a goal and four points in Pittsburgh’s 2014-15 season opener, his first NHL game in more than nine months.Sat, Nov 14:00 PM PDTBuffalo at PittsburghPreview Game
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
To us, he is Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey, one of the greatest to play the game. To Cathy, Mark, Marty and Murray, he is Dad. And on Sunday, Dad, 86 years old and in failing health, had a stroke while staying at Cathy’s house in Lubbock, Texas.
Cathy used FaceTime to connect with Mark on the East Coast, and Mark could see with his own eyes: The big, strong athlete couldn’t move his right side. The funny, quick-witted man couldn’t speak.
“As soon as I hung up, I said, ‘I’ve got to get there quick,’ ” Mark said Wednesday afternoon. “The way he looked, I didn’t know if he was going to make it.”
Mark and Marty met Tuesday at the airport in Newark, N.J. They caught a flight to Denver. Mark said when they landed, he was hoping and praying he didn’t have “that message.” He turned on his phone, and it was full of voicemails and texts from reporters and well-wishers because the news had broken, but “that message” wasn’t there. They caught a connecting flight to Lubbock and landed about 11 p.m. local time.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports3 days ago
Look at the bold moves Jim Nill has made as the Dallas Stars’ general manager – Sergei Gonchar, Lindy Ruff, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky – and you see only part of the picture.
“I was close to making some moves last year,” Nill told Yahoo Sports recently, “and it was a good thing I didn’t.”
“Stayed patient,” Nill said. “Rode it out. There’s a time for everything. I’m glad I was patient with it.”
Nill wouldn’t reveal what he almost did, of course. He just laughed. But he said he might not have been so patient in the past, and he did share this: After the Stars snapped their five-year playoff drought and came oh-so-close to forcing Game 7 in their first-round series with the Anaheim Ducks, he sat with owner Tom Gaglardi and president Jim Lites. They talked hockey, as they often do, and said to themselves, “Oh, boy. Good thing we didn’t do that one.”
It’s not just what you do. It’s what you don’t do, too.Fri, Oct 314:30 PM PDTLos Angeles at DetroitPreview Game
- Nicholas J Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s Three Periods column appears on Thursdays. This week’s topics include the new reality illustrated by the Slava Voynov case; the idea of extending Marc-Andre Fleury’s contract; and notes on the lack of suspensions for on-ice conduct and the enforcement of goaltender interference.
FIRST PERIOD: Voynov illustrates new reality in handling criminal cases
When TMZ showed the video of Ray Rice punching his fiancee in the face, so much changed. The public was forced to confront the ugliness of domestic violence. The NFL was forced to confront the outrage over its initial two-game suspension of Rice and its handling of other domestic violence cases.
Now the NHL has to deal with the new reality, too. It goes beyond the arrest of Slava Voynov and his indefinite suspension with pay. It goes beyond even domestic violence. What should the NHL do when a player is accused of a serious crime? What should teams do to educate their players?
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Puck Daddy9 days ago
The Los Angeles Kings supported the NHL’s suspension of defenseman Slava Voynov after his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. But general manager Dean Lombardi also had a number of questions about the mechanics of the situation.
Voynov is suspended from team activities indefinitely with pay. So what is the timing of the NHL’s investigation? How does that relate to the criminal investigation? What is the impact on the Kings’ salary cap? The Kings have six healthy defensemen now that Jake Muzzin is ready to return to the lineup, but they have little cap room if someone gets hurt.
Team and league officials held a conference call Tuesday. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly responded to questions from Yahoo Sports in an e-mail Wednesday:
Q: Is there any more clarity on the timing? Will he remain suspended as long as the legal process plays out? Will the league hold a hearing — and make a determination — before that?
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Puck Daddy9 days ago
The lawyer for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov said he believes his client did not commit a crime and should be reinstated by the NHL.
Voynov was suspended from team activities indefinitely with pay Monday after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence by Redondo Beach police. He has not been charged. Police are investigating.
Craig Renetzky, Voynov’s lawyer, said he interviewed the woman involved for more than an hour Tuesday with his own interpreter and his own investigator. Renetzky said Voynov was not present at the interview, but he and the woman are currently together again. He said his client had not spoken to the NHL yet.
In short, Renetzky confirmed the woman was injured. But he said it was an accident and Voynov did not hit her. He said a language barrier led to miscommunication when police spoke to the woman at the hospital. He declined to give details.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports10 days ago
The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum sits in suburban Uniondale, N.Y., surrounded by a vast parking lot. Birds fly in the rafters near banners commemorating the glory days of the early ’80s – four Stanley Cups, six retired numbers. The showers in the dressing room take a long time to heat up.
Too often, the old barn hasn’t been full. Too often, the New York Islanders haven’t given fans a reason to come – screwy owners, crazy contracts, horrible hockey. Fourteen out of the last 19 seasons, the Isles have missed the playoffs. Not since 1993 have they won a playoff round.
So much of the focus is on the future – new ownership, up-and-coming players, the move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn next fall – and it should be. Still, there is one more season to play at Nassau, and this is a team that wants to make noise now. Literally.
Only three members of the current roster were alive the last time the Islanders won the Cup. These guys don’t know what Nassau used to be like. But enough of them know what it was like in May 2013, when the Islanders appeared in the playoffs for the first time in six years and put a scare into the Pittsburgh Penguins in a six-game first-round series.Sat, Nov 17:30 PM PDTNY Islanders at San JosePreview Game
NHL's indefinite suspension of Slava Voynov: It's the right call – and the only way to go – after NFL criticismNicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports11 days ago
Good. The NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov indefinitely after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. It was the right move. It was the only move.
The NHL knew a woman suffered injuries so severe she needed treatment at a hospital. The NHL knew Voynov was with her at the hospital and taken into custody there. The NHL also knew, of course, the criticism the NFL received for failing to act swiftly and stiffly enough to address incidents of domestic violence.
So at 10:32 a.m. ET on Monday – or 7:32 a.m. PT, about two-and-a-half hours before Voynov was even released from jail on $50,000 bond – the NHL issued a statement. It not only announced the suspension, it broke the news of the arrest. The NHL beat TMZ.
That’s how you send the message that domestic violence is unacceptable. That’s how you get in front of a story and come off as proactive, not reactive. That’s how you keep Gary Bettman from becoming another Roger Goodell. If it was because of the NFL PR nightmare – in whole or in part – fine. At least someone learned something and it led to real progress.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports15 days ago
Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s Three Periods column appears on Thursdays. This week’s topics include a “major” change by Zdeno Chara, the real-world impact of the Canadiens’ leadership change and notes on Daniel Alfredsson, Tyler Myers, Brian Campbell, Dallas Eakins, Jason Spezza, Scott Hartnell & more.
FIRST PERIOD: Zdeno Chara makes ‘major’ change as he tries to remain a force
Zdeno Chara came up with a plan after the Boston Bruins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs. General manager Peter Chiarelli said he decided to “tweak his training.” Chara said he did more than tweak it.
“The summer,” Chara said, “was major.”
Chara has always worked hard. He has had to. He is 6-foot-9, and this is hockey, not basketball. His size is a disadvantage as much as an advantage. He turned himself from a project drafted in the third round into a winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman.
Now he has to work differently. He has to move his 255 pounds in a game that is getting faster and faster, and he has to stop – or at least slow – the inevitable decline of every athlete. He’s 37 years old.
Up to now, much of the focus has been on fatigue.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports16 days ago
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Come on. No way. They wrapped sandpaper around the edges of pucks, put a match in a vise on the goal line and stationed Tyler Seguin in front. The Dallas Stars center fired a puck inches off the ice, just to the right of the vise, so the sandpaper scraped the match head and lit a flame.
Out of all the trick shots Seguin and Jamie Benn did with YouTube sensation Dude Perfect – firing at bowling pins and a mannequin head and a target between a guy’s legs, scoring on a goalie with a big rubber duck and a small pumpkin and a partially eaten doughnut – that might have been the most unbelievable.
They shot the video over two days in early September, before training camp. The video was posted at 5 p.m. CT Monday, and it had more than a half-million viewers in 24 hours. One of them was Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, who made his own video a year agoin which he displayed some sick stickhandling, then flipped the puck on his blade … and faked hitting the camera.
Kane sent Seguin a text message.
“Is all that stuff real?” Kane asked.