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GIF: Blues’ Backes goes after Avs’ MacKinnon in midst of heated game

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By Amy Lilek

The St. Louis Blues play a tough and physical style of hockey and on Saturday afternoon, Colorado Avalanche rookie Nathan MacKinnon found out just how physical the Blues can be.

Late in the third period with the Avs leading 3-0, MacKinnon knocked down David Backes and the Blues captain allowed his frustrations to boil over. Backes dropped his gloves and went after the 18-year-old rookie.

MacKinnon left the ice and went straight to the Avalanche locker room. He did not return to the game, which Colorado won 4-0.

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  • Published On Apr 05, 2014
  • Matt Duchene of Colorado Avalanche out four weeks with injury

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    Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche

    Matt Duchene, who leads the Avalanche with 70 points, won’t return until the playoffs. (Michael Martin/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Despite a solid 3-2 win over the Sharks, the Avalanche took a couple of lumps on Saturday night. Center Ryan O’Reilly lost his bid to make it through the entire season penalty-free when he was called for, of all things, playing with a broken stick. (Come on, stripes, it was a bogus call and you know it.) And first-line center Matt Duchene skated all of one shift before he collided with teammate Jamie McGinn and was forced him to leave the game.

    As it turns out, the Duchene incident will have an impact going forward.

    Colorado announced at practice on Monday morning that Duchene, the club’s leading scorer, will miss approximately four weeks with a knee injury. With the playoffs two weeks away and a postseason date with the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks all but booked, it’s not exactly the most fortuitous timing.

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  • Published On Mar 31, 2014
  • Patrick Roy returns to Montreal for first time as coach of the Avalanche

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    By Darian Somers

    Patrick Roy, the legendary goalie for the Canadiens from 1984 to 1995, has returned to Montreal to take on the franchise he backstopped to two Stanley Cups before it famously traded him after a humiliating incident that made him angrily tell Habs president Ronald Corey that he would never play for the Habs again.

    Tonight marks the first time that Roy has visited Montreal’s arena as an enemy coach, but according to him, he reconciled with the Canadiens when his No. 33 was raised to the rafters of the Molson Centre (since renamed the Bell Centre) in 2008. Roy dramatically attended that ceremony and was warmly welcomed.

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  • Published On Mar 17, 2014
  • Fine for fuming: Notable NHL coaches who paid for their antics

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    NHL coach Jacques Demers tried to cheat by throwing coins on the ice to stop play.

    Bad penny: The wily Jacques Demers once tossed coins on the ice to stop play. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By John Rolfe

    Chicanery is alive and well on the sidelines these days as Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets had their wallets lightened by $100,000 and $50,000 respectively–Tomlin for slyly interfering with Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones during a kick return; Kidd for purposely spilling a soda on the court in order to gain a timeout in the waning moments of a loss to the Lakers. Their despicable acts inspired Down Goes Brown blogger Sean McIndoe to offer up a few notorious examples of NHL coaches behaving badly. The most interesting was Jacques Demers of the St. Louis Blues, who copped to tossing pennies on the ice during a 1986 playoff game against Minnesota in order to give his players a breather. Demers, believe it or not, got off with only a warning from the league.

    Other coaches have not been so lucky, as the NHL forced them to cough up some cake — though not nearly as much as Tomlin will surrender — usually for antics like running their mouths in an inappropriate manner or letting the rough stuff get out of hand. Here are 10 notable instances.

    John Tortorella, New York Rangers

    The fiery Torts has a history of throwing checks at the NHL. He was relieved of $30,000 for deeming the officiating in the 2012 Winter Classic “disgusting” and suggesting that the refs had been in cahoots with NBC in an effort to send the game into overtime. Three months later, he scribbled a one for $20,000 after impugning the character of the Penguins following a 5-2 loss. (Among his sentiments, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were “whining stars” who played for “one of the most arrogant organizations in the league.” In 2007, ripping the refs cost Tortorella $10,000, and in 2009, he was suspended for Game 6 of New York’s first round playoff series for squirting a Capitals fan with water and hitting another with the bottle after throwing it over the glass. For good measure, Torts also grabbed a stick, but was restrained by assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld, who was at the center of an infamous incident in 1988. (See below)

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  • Published On Dec 04, 2013
  • Patrick Roy’s hiring adds layers of intrigue to Colorado Avalanche rebuild

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    Patrick Roy

    Patrick Roy was officially unveiled as the new coach of the Colorado Avalanche. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Looks like Stephane Roy knew what he was talking about after all.

    His brother, Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, finally was named as the new head coach of the Colorado Avalanche after days of speculation.

    It’s a hiring that should energize a disaffected fan base, and stabilize a position that has seen five changes in the past 10 years.

    But Roy faces a tall challenge, and not just the obvious task of making a winner out of a roster that, for the moment, is overly reliant on young talent and lacks the depth to match up with the top teams in the Western Conference.

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  • Published On May 23, 2013
  • Patrick Roy to coach Colorado Avalanche? Not so fast…

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    Patrick Roy may be hired as the next coach of the Colorado Avalanche

    Avalanche icon Patrick Roy has a reputation as a bit of a loose cannon behind the bench. (Leon T. Switzer/ Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    SI.com’s Adrian Dater, writing in the Denver Post, said that Patrick Roy will be announced as the next head coach of the Colorado Avalanche.

    “They’re discussing the final details of an arrangement. Colorado is going to be very happy. Patrick is looking for a new challenge,” said Stephane Roy, the younger brother of the Hall of Fame netminder.

    From the Post:

    If Roy is hired, it would cap a whirlwind last few days, after which [Avalanche vice president of hockey operations Joe] Sakic said he was in no hurry to name a new coach. But Sakic acknowledged to The Post and to KKFN 104.3 FM that Roy was a candidate, and told KKFN: “I love Patrick. He was probably the greatest goalie that ever played. There’s a guy who was a winner. That’s all he wanted to do. I know he’s done a tremendous job with his junior team in Quebec and for sure he’s a guy that you would consider, yeah.”\

    Roy was offered the Avs’ coaching job in 2009, but turned it down, citing his family as a top reason. But his sons, Jonathan and Frederick, who once played under him with the QMJHL’s [Quebec] Remparts, are no longer there, and Roy has said he would consider an NHL job if it were offered.

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  • Published On May 21, 2013
  • Two Minutes For Booking: The secrets of the C; more hockey reading

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    Scott Stevens

    Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens knew full well the motivational value of a big hit — in games or practice — while serving as the captain of the Devils’ three Stanley Cup championship teams. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/SI)

    By Stu Hackel

    Unless the owners and players restart negotiations, the closest that NHL fans may come to their favorite sport this season is by reading a book. If you are still stumped about what to give the fans in your life this holiday season, you might select one of these, or from our earlier list of gift books.

    Wearing The C: Hockey’s Highest Honor, by Ross Bernstein. Triumph Books, 272 pages. $22.95 — The question of leadership among players has always been an essential part of hockey, often discussed and cited as a key reason why teams win or lose. “Putting a C on natural leaders,” Scotty Bowman says in this book, “is what sets average teams apart from the great ones.” There are different reasons why a player is selected to be a captain — some inspire and instill confidence with words in the dressing room and on the bench, some lead by example on the ice, some get the C on their sweater by virtue of their playing talent, some by virtue of their physical play — and this book explores all of that and more. Here’s SI.com’s photo gallery of its top 10 NHL captains of all time.

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  • Published On Dec 19, 2012
  • Two Minutes for Booking: Holiday gifts

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    Gump Worsley

    To Red Light’s dismay, Gump Worsley only ranked 20th in the new edition of Without Fear: The Greatest Goalies of All Time, even though he won four Stanley Cups during his career. (Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The holiday season is already upon us, which you no doubt noticed a couple of weeks ago. The question is: what do you buy a hockey fan during this sad December, this festival of darkness in NHL arenas with no peace on the CBA front and good will in short supply?

    You can’t buy tickets to games that are not being played. If you are of the mind that you’re not going to pay a penny to the owners or players as long as there’s a lockout (or even longer if you’re part of the Just Drop It movement), you’re not buying any NHL merch, either.

    How about a good book?

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  • Published On Dec 11, 2012
  • Will Therrien’s second time be a charm?

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    If Michel Therrien does not adapt to the current NHL game, his next stint in Montreal will end as unhappily as his first one did. (Photo by Paul Chiasson/AP)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s unusual when big hockey news intrudes on the Stanley Cup Final, but fittingly in this unusual playoff year, there’s already been a lot: the announcement that the NHL and NHLPA will start CBA negotiations shortly, Nick Lidstrom retiring, Tim Thomas saying he’ll sit out next season, the Flames hiring Bob Hartley as coach, Marian Gaborik’s surgery and the Penguins acquiring Tomas Vokoun.

    Now there’s another story, and it’s a curious one — the Canadiens hiring Michel Therrien as their coach, a move that returns him to the Habs’ bench for the second time.

    The curiosity stems in part from Therrien’s penchant for installing a passive defensive system on the teams he coaches. Both the Canadiens players and their fans groused at Jacques Martin’s passive approach to the game and it’s pretty obvious that when teams wait for the opposition to make errors and then counterpunch, they don’t have much success in the NHL anymore. The Kings and Devils reached the Cup final because they abandoned that style of hockey. The Bruins and Canucks, last year’s finalists, did as well.

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  • Published On Jun 05, 2012
  • Playoff pressure on goaltenders is more intense than ever

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    Brian Elliott’s sudden reversal of form is the last thing the Blues need in their 0-3 hole against the Kings. (Harry How/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s a cruel world in which goalies live. The numbers may tell us they haven’t been this good since the days of Georges Vezina, George Hainsworth, Tiny Thompson and Frank Brimsek but — then as now — gaudy regular season stats are meaningless when the playoffs roll around. The Blues’ Brian Elliott may have posted eye-popping numbers between October and the first round, like a 1.56 goals-against average and .940 save percentage, but in his last three games against the Kings, his  performance has been abysmal and will likely leave a lasting impression.

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  • Published On May 04, 2012


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