Red Wings player loses temper, retaliates with brutal high stick

This was absolutely brutal.

During Sunday’s game between the Red Wings and Wild, Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist lost his temper after he was cross-checked by Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon.

Nyquist retaliated with a terrifying and vicious high-stick to the face of Spurgeon.

Two nights later, Stamkos scored to draw even with Crosby and Ovechkin by scoring his 48th, but the Penguins captain also tallied, pushing him back into the outright lead. The very next night, Ovechkin lit the lamp twice, giving him 50 on the season, and putting him one ahead of Crosby on the Richard leaderboard. A night after that, Stamkos scored twice, pulling him even with Ovechkin at 50, and setting up the final day of the NHL season: Stamkos 50, Ovechkin 50, Crosby 49.

Stamkos scored against the Panthers, his 51st of the season. Then, in dramatic fashion, Crosby got two against the Islanders, reaching 50 for the first time in his career while drawing even with Stamkos in the dying moments of the regular season.

The wait was finally over when Crosby and the Penguins took the ice for against the Devils Oct. 5, 2005. After the 2004-05 season, what would have been Crosby’s rookie year, was canceled due to a lockout, Pittsburgh and its teenage wunderkind traveled to New Jersey for his first true NHL action. And though the Penguins lost, Crosby got onto the scoresheet, recording his first career NHL point with an assist early in the third period on a Mark Recchi goal.

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NHL referee blurts several F-bombs into live mic during penalty call

As the old broadcasting adage goes, always assume the mic is hot.

NHL referee Frederick L’Ecuyer learned this the hard way during Thursday’s game between the Blue Jackets and Predators. L’Ecuyer skated to center ice to announce an interference penalty on Ryan Murray when he decided to share a few choice words with another player on the ice, forgetting his mic was live. You know the rest.

Crosby joined elite company in 2015 at the IIHF World Championship. Already with a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal to his name, Crosby and the rest of Team Canada traveled to the Czech Republic, looking to end an eight-year gold medal drought in the tournament.

With Crosby serving as captain, Canada flexed its international hockey muscles, out-scoring opponents 49-14 in the seven group games and 17-1 in the three knockout rounds. Canada defeated Russia 6-1 in the championship game, and Crosby had a goal and an assist in the winning effort. Crosby became the first player to join the triple-gold club (Stanley Cup, and Olympic and IIHF gold), having captained all three teams, and finished the tournament with 11 points in nine games.

Canada dominated the 2014 Winter Olympics, and did so without the goal-scoring services of Crosby, for the most part. Despite Crosby being held without a goal in Canada’s first five games, the defending Olympic champions were still rolling, outscoring their opponents 14-3.

But Crosby came through in the tournament’s biggest moment, giving Canada an insurance tally against Sweden and a 2-0 lead in the second period. Crosby broke in all alone on Henrik Lundqvist before sliding the puck past his left skate, his first goal of the 2014 tournament.

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Bruins’ team plane diverted due to Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

The Boston Bruins’ charter flight to Fort Lauderdale was diverted Friday afternoon following the shootings at the city’s airport.

The team issued a statement saying it landed at nearby Miami International Airport at 5:05 p.m. The Bruins are scheduled to play the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

The thoughts and prayers of the Bruins organization are with the victims of today’s shooting and the entire Fort Lauderdale community, the statement concluded.

This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past, said Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of Kings parent company AEG. But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority.

Sutter, who was hired in December 2011, leaves with a 225-147-53 record in the regular season — the best by a coach in the franchise’s history — and a 42-27 record in the playoffs, another team high.

Lombardi, who also was president, had been the longest-serving general manager in Kings history, having been in Los Angeles since 2006.

Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise, Beckerman said. They built this team and helped lead us to two Stanley Cup Championships and will forever be remembered as all-time greats in Kings history.

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Hurricanes’ Bryan Bickell continues battle with MS, headed to AHL

Bryan Bickell’s battle against MS will continue in the AHL but with an eye toward the NHL.

The Hurricanes placed the veteran forward on waivers Thursday with the intent of assigning him to the Charlotte Checkers, the team announced.

The Checkers are scheduled for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, the start of a six-game homestand a little more than two hours from Raleigh.

When the Stars announced the attendance for Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, they poked fun at the disputed number.

Trump claimed the media has lied about the number of people in Friday’s crowd. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on Trump’s claim, saying Friday’s crowd was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, a statement that photographs clearly show to be false.

The largest crowd ever to attend an inaugural address is believed to occur in 2009 when an estimated 1.8 million people watched live as Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s first black president.

Why Trump has decided to continue his running war with the media over something as benign as an inauguration crowd is odd, but nobody should get bent out of shape over it. Just laugh about it and move on, as the Stars have taught us.

Joe Thornton, C ( Re-signed with Sharks ) With longtime teammate Patrick Marleau gone to Toronto, the Sharks upped the ante to keep Thornton in the fold with a one-year, $8 million deal. It’s a sigh of relief for San Jose to get Jumbo Joe back in the fold for another run at the Cup. He was courted by a number of teams along with Marleau. Not a bad 38th birthday present.

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He’s now working with Eric Cressey, who has worked with multiple Cy Young winners before

This one makes a lot of sense, given Sogard’s lack of production before 2017 mixed with Villar being responsible for the deepest hole in the Brewers’ lineup. Kinsler also isn’t in a situation like Justin Verlander where the money still owed to him is so huge that a deal seems unlikely even if it makes sense.

Kinsler to the Brewers is an A- rumor. It’s easy to believe it could happen, Kinsler is at a point in his career where the Tigers don’t really need to try to hold on to him any longer than they have, and the likelihood feels high given Milwaukee’s needs.

In his interview with The New York Times, Syndergaard says:

So much of what I’ve learned this year, is that I thought I was doing what I needed to be doing. But I realize now how messed up my body was, and I’m working hard to get it back to normal.

That includes doing too much yoga and Pilates, which he says were not exactly sports specific, focusing more on cardio, stretching to become a more well-rounded athlete, and working on his core strength and posture to avoid lower back tightness down the road.

He also qualified the amount of weightlifting he did, with previous estimates stating that he gained 17 pounds in muscle before spring training this year. Syndergaard says he wasn’t powerlifting but that when he was working with weights, certain things were incorrect about his form, especially in his lower body. He needs to build a better base to avoid such time away from the game in the future.

He’s now working with Eric Cressey, who has worked with multiple Cy Young winners before, and doing the Kinstretch program, which is a more athletic advanced yoga that helps with strength and flexibility.

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Sabres’ Kyle Okposo hospitalized in ICU; team ‘very concerned’

The Sabres are very concerned for forward Kyle Okposo, who is hospitalized and in intensive care with an undisclosed ailment.

WGR-AM 550 in Buffalo first reported Tuesday Okposo has been in the hospital undergoing multiple tests to determine the cause of an illness he’s been dealing with since March 28. Okposo is in in-patient care in the Neuro Surgical ICU at Buffalo General Hospital, The Buffalo News confirmed.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma offered few details, including a diagnosis, while meeting with reporters Wednesday following the team’s morning skate.

Stamkos, who has been sidelined since Nov. 15, remains on the 4-6 month timeline he was initially given after tearing a lateral meniscus in his right knee and undergoing arthroscopic surgery. Though he still hasn’t ruled out getting back on the ice before the regular season ends on April 9, the team is still unable to update his return timetable.

He’s progressing well, general manager Steve Yzerman said, via the Tampa Bay Times. He’s doing well, but can’t give a return date yet.

Stamkos, 26, was tied for second in the NHL with 20 points when he got hurt. No stranger to the injury plague, he missed most of the 2013-14 season after breaking his leg in early November and missed seven weeks late last season after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

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Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth collapses in net without contact

Saturday’s game between the Flyers and Devils was suspended early after Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth collapses in net.

Neuvirth went down without any contact.

Neuvirth, 29, had made six saves while on the ice for the first 7:37. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher and replaced in net by rookie Anthony Stolarz, who was called up earlier in the day. Neuvirth was conscious and moving on the ice.

The Flyers scored the first two goals of the game and held a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. The Flyers went on for a 3-0 victory and Neuvirth was credited with the win.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Neuvirth was awake and alert and was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital for observation. The team would provide more information on his condition on Sunday.

The Stars have been really bad at drafting hockey players for a long time. Actually, that’s not entirely true. From Mike Modano to Jarome Iginla to Jamie Benn, the Stars have selected some great players. They just never get two in the same draft. They’ve never drafted two 500-point scorers in the same year, and we’re going back to 1967 here. That’s pretty remarkable.

They also haven’t drafted a goaltender who became a consistent starter in the league since Marty Turco in 1994. There’s no one else in Modano’s class, but he’s the best player in franchise history.

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Senators’ Erik Karlsson ruled out Thursday vs. Bruins

Ottawa will be missing it’s captain when it fights for a playoff spot.

Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson has been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Bruins with a day to day lower-body injury, coach Guy Boucher announced.

The USA Today report says NHL players will boycott if USA Hockey attempts to use replacement players for the Women’s World Championships, which begin Friday in Plymouth, Mich. The governing body has reportedly been reaching out to potential replacements for several days with little luck.

I don’t know of any player who told USA Hockey, yes, Anya Battaglino, the head of the National Women’s Hockey League Players’ Association, told ESPN.com Friday.

The women’s national team players have been at odds with the governing body for more than a year over compensation and other issues.

The men’s World Championships will be held in France and Germany from May 5-21.

But the latter question is one that will probably go unanswered, because Draisaitl will be handcuffed to McDavid, and head coach Todd McLellan will likely throw away the key, because the success the two have found together makes it clear that it’s at least somewhat of a symbiotic relationship, and Edmonton needs to do whatever it can to put McDavid in a position to succeed, and to keep him happy.

The real trouble and not-so-quiet-anymore question the Oilers will have to answer is how will they flesh out a roster that has committed such a large chunk of its cap space to a relatively small group of players.

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Bob Costas introduced Nelly in the worst possible way at 2017 NHL Winter Classic

Nelly entertained the masses at NHL’s 2017 Winter Classic, but whatever excitement there was for his performance was immediately killed by Bob Costas.

The NBC broadcaster’s introduction of one of St. Louis’ favorite sons went horribly wrong Monday.

First of all, it’s not even hot. This is the Winter Classic. They are playing hockey outside because it is so not-hot in here. It would have at least been tolerable if he said It’s getting cold in here, so keep your clothes on, but even then it wouldn’t be enjoyable to listen to.

Drafting the guy who was the captain of the franchise’s two championship teams in nearly 50 years is a pretty good start. Bobby Clarke (No. 17) had 1,210 points and later helped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final three times as general manager. They also added Dave Schultz (No. 52) in this draft.

There really is only one option here. Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang from the 2005 draft have been fantastic for the Penguins, but Mario Lemieux is one of the three best players of all time and has probably meant more to the franchise (both during his playing days and after) than any draft pick has in any sport. Doug Bodger (No. 9) also played more than 1,000 games and, most importantly for the Penguins, they fetched goaltender Tom Barrasso in a trade with the Sabres.

Patrick Marleau (No. 2) is the greatest player in franchise history and owns many all-time team records, including games (1,493) and goals (508). Scott Hannan (No. 23) played more than 1,000 games as a sturdy defenseman. Bonus points because while the Sharks didn’t draft Joe Thornton (No. 1), they did steal him from the Bruins in 2005.

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Jason Pierre-Paul says it’s possible for the Giants to go undefeated in 2017

The New York Giants finished 11-5 in 2016 and made the playoffs, but they’re thinking much bigger in 2017. Jason Pierre-Paul thinks even a perfect season is within the realm of possibility.

I feel with the players we have, as long as we work together we’ll be undefeated,” Jason Pierre-Paul told the New York Post.

That’s a bold statement by any stretch and even more so considering the schedule that the Giants will have to contend against. The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East in 2016 with a 13-3 record, but New York handed Dallas two of those three losses.

Giants players aren’t worried about a repeat performance from the Cowboys in 2017.

It’s over with, Giants safety Landon Collins told ESPN. They’re not going to win, I can tell you that much.

New York got a bargain when Adams, who was projected to be a top-three pick, fell all the way to No. 6. He’ll have the opportunity to contribute immediately for a team caroming deep into the valley of a long rebuild. He could be the brightest spot on a bad Jets team in 2017.

The Toledo back is facing a major jump in competition but stood out as one of the nation’s most explosive and inconsistent runners in college. Hunt failed to follow up on an incredible sophomore campaign in which he ran for more than 1,600 yards and eight yards per carry, but his 2016 proved he can be a versatile addition after making 41 catches out of the backfield. That’ll be useful for a Chiefs team with conservative quarterback Alex Smith behind center for at least one more season.

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