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SHANABANNED! Montreal’s Ryan White suspended five games for head shot

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By Allan Muir

A five-game suspension for Ryan White? Now we’re starting to get somewhere.

Montreal’s blunt object was banished to the sidelines for all but the final game of the regular season by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety after a flat-out stupid hit on Philadelphia’s Kent Huskins on Monday night.

It probably didn’t take too many video reviews for Brendan Shanahan and crew to recognize that this was one of the easier calls they’ve faced this season. Huskins was skating the puck out from behind his own net and had just dished it off when White drew a bead on him, then slammed his shoulder directly into Huskins’ chin. The force of the blow left Huskins with a concussion.

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2013
  • Ilya Bryzgalov wronged by Courier-Post

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    Ilya Bryzgalov of the Philadelphia Flyers was misquoted by the Courier-Post.

    It’s been a tough season and Ilya Bryzgalov knows the score, but he does care. (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    At this point, Ilya Bryzgalov may not care whether he wears black and orange or some other team’s colors next season. But that’s not exactly what he said on Tuesday to Courier-Post writer Randy Miller.

    In fact, Bryzgalov, whose loquaciousness makes him just about the best friend a journalist could ask for in this game, was wronged by the editor who cobbled together the headline for Miller’s piece in today’s Courier-Post piece: “Bryzgalov on staying a Flyer: ‘To be honest, I don’t care.’”

    No surprise that the phrasing caused a bit of controversy online. Short of suggesting that the best cheese steaks are found in Pittsburgh, lacking passion for the privilege of being a Flyer is just about the best way to get under the skin of one of hockey’s most devoted fan bases.

    It’s a provocative hed. I got sucked in by it myself when I was putting together this morning’s Top Line column. But what Bryzgalov really said was something different.

    First, he was asked about the possibility of being a buyout candidate this summer.

    “To be honest, I don’t care,” he said. “Really, I don’t care. I have no control on this, so why should I care?”

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  • Published On Apr 10, 2013
  • Top Line: Flyers rejoin playoff hunt, Iginla to Kings rumor ripped, more links

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    Flyers-morning-links

    This year has been a trying one for the Flyers, who might be looking at a premium draft spot come season’s end. (Eric Hartline/US Presswire)

    A notated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Heading into Friday’s game with the Devils, the Flyers had an equal statistical chance to finish 29th overall as make the playoffs. That was until a rare shootout win took Seth Jones off their minds…at least temporarily.

    • No doubt the vote of confidence GM Paul Holmgren gave coach Peter Laviolette was a great source of relief and comfort for all involved.

    • Those Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings rumors don’t sit well with Eric Duhatschek.

    • NHL owners will never pass on the lucre of an 82-game season, but let’s face it: this 48-game sked is pretty boss, isn’t it? The players of the Minnesota Wild seem to agree.

    • Roberto Luongo reclaims the No. 1 job in Vancouver, making his third consecutive start tonight against the Red Wings. Coach Alain Vigneault has to go with the guy who is winning more games, and that’s Bobby Lu.

    • If the Canucks watched the Wings Friday night, they learned it takes more than a 40-minute effort to beat them. The Oilers had the drop on them early, but the more experienced Wings stuck around long enough to capitalize on an own goal and a brilliant Pavel Datsyuk bid in OT to steal two points.

    • Brent Burns has two goals in two games since being bumped from the blue line to Joe Thornton’s line. The erstwhile defender doesn’t see why a big deal is being made of the switch, but hey, versatility like that is pretty unique in the game today.

    • In the midst of a disappointing season, defending Vezina winner Henrik Lundqvist is working on becoming a better puck distributor to help out his struggling blue line.

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  • Published On Mar 16, 2013
  • Ryan Carter? This is Brendan Shanahan calling…

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    By Allan Muir

    Philly agitator Zac Rinaldo might be the only guy held in lower regard around New Jersey than those Southern congressmen who voted against funding Hurricane Sandy relief, so I’m guessing no one in the Prudential Center was too sorry to see him get blown up by Ryan Carter tonight.

    Shoot, there was probably a hat being passed around the arena to raise funds for a statue in honor of the heroic Devil.

    The league’s Department of Player Safety will probably take a dimmer view of the incident in which Carter appeared to intentionally instigate knee-on-knee contact with Rinaldo midway through the first period of New Jersey’s 5-2 win over the Flyers.

    Sometimes these collisions are purely accidental, the result of two players oblivious to one another who end up occupying the same ice at the same time.

    This one…not so much. Looking at this replay, it’s going to be tough for Carter to convince anyone there was no ill intent on this play.

    Look for him to get a meeting with DPS tomorrow, with a suspension of at least a couple games for his effort.

    But hey, at least he’ll have the statue, right?


  • Published On Mar 13, 2013
  • Goalie Masks: Flyers’ Bryzgalov debuts tribute to Star Wars

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    Ilya Bryzgalov's new Star Wars goalie mask

    Flyers pic.twitter.com/8qkpXHx8DF

    By Allan Muir

    We got a sneak peak today at Ilya Bryzgalov’s new mask, courtesy of the Flyers’ Twitter feed. And it is out of this world.

    No surprise that the man who fears space danger and spent part of his off-season studying up on how to be a cosmonaut went with a cosmic theme. But we weren’t expecting him to prove he’s down with the trilogy.

    Outside of Yoda carrying a red light saber (even I know it’s supposed to be green), this is a beauty. One of the top-five in the league? What do you say?


  • Published On Feb 26, 2013
  • Dire Flyers reacquire Simon Gagne

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    Simon Gagne was traded back to the Philadelphia Flyers

    The Flyers will be happy if they get more than a ghost of Simon Gagne’s former self. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    This is how dire the situation is in Philadelphia: Simon Gagne is regarded as a viable improvement over NHL players they’re currently dressing.

    Needing some help on the wings, the Flyers went the retreat-to-move-forward route on Tuesday, re-acquiring the once-useful winger from the Los Angeles Kings for a 2013 fourth-round draft pick that originally belonged to Phoenix.

    Just to be clear on this (because I’m not sure Philly GM Paul Holmgren is), the Flyers did not acquire the 2008-09 Simon Gagne who scored 34 goals and 74 points in 79 games for them. They got a 32-year-old who hasn’t played anything close to a complete season since then, who looked hopelessly slow after returning from injury to skate in the Stanley Cup Final, and who has spent six of the Kings’ first 17 games in the press box because his work ethic didn’t match coach Darryl Sutter’s expectations.

    That’ll fire up the fans, right?

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  • Published On Feb 26, 2013
  • Ilya Bryzgalov: “We can’t protect ourselves from the space danger!”

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    A wall of a local zinc plant is shown after being damaged by a shockwave from a meteor in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, on Feb. 15. (Oleg Karogopolov/Getty Images).

    A wall of a local zinc plant is shown after being damaged by a shockwave from a meteor in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, on Feb. 15. (Oleg Karogopolov/Getty Images).

    By Allan Muir

    It’s not just bears in the forest that frighten Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov now. It’s unstoppable meteors hellbent on destroying the earth and taking our attention away from hockey.

    Bryzgalov, appearing on the Mike and Ike Show on Philadelphia radio station WIP this morning, was asked for his thoughts on the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, last week.

    Seriously, we need to treasure this guy.

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  • Published On Feb 22, 2013
  • Top Line: Fun with Flyers and Penguins; meet the Sabres’ new coach; more links

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    The Flyers and Penguins played another wild game.

    Flyers-Penguins games are like coins spinning wildly, unpredictably on edge. (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    A guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    “A dozen preposterously fun things happened” on the way to Philly’s thrilling 6-5 win over the Penguins last night. Please, hockey gods, let these two teams meet again in the playoffs!

    • Get to know new Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston.

    • Don’t know the origin of this, but it’s brilliant and a great sentiment. Stay classy, Buffalo!

    • The Rangers aren’t talking, but all signs point to a concussion as the ailment that’s sidelining star forward Rick Nash.

    • Great story by Dave Stubbs on the falling dominoes caused by a goalie recall.

    • Tim Wharnsby’s a fine writer, but I think he makes a lousy case against the introduction of a coach’s challenge. I can’t imagine any system being introduced that would allow games to get “bogged down.” Check it out and see what you think.

    • Apparently, there are seven levels of dirty plays in hockey. This thing cries out for a visual aid, much like the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.

    • Statistics show Alex Ovechkin isn’t the first superstar to see his goal scoring decline at age 27. True enough, but most of those other superstars found ways to compensate by rounding out their games. Still waiting on that from Ovi.

    • The Avalanche made their own luck in Wednesday’s OT win over the Blues. Our own Adrian Dater called this Mark Olver/Vladimir Tarasenko collision a clean hit. How did you see it?

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  • Published On Feb 21, 2013
  • Top Line: Rinaldo breaks code, Boston’s best steal, more links

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    By Allan Muir

    A guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • In Philly, they’re calling it a huge bolt of energy. But did Zac Rinaldo go too far in his fight with Tampa Bay’s B.J. Crombeen? Looks like it to me.

    • Mike Richards earned himself a Gordie Howe hat trick, but it was Brandon Dubinsky’s boarding major that will be the topic of conversation after L.A.’s 4-2 win in Columbus.

    • The Washington Capitals gave away Nicklas Backstrom garden gnomes to fans and two points to the visiting Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. The Caps now “boast” a league-worst 2-7-1 mark after their 3-2 loss. There already are calls for Adam Oates’ job, but I have to believe that GM George McPhee makes a personnel move before canning the rookie coach.

    • Maybe the Leafs should barnstorm the rest of the season because they’re historically (and hysterically) bad at home.

    • I mean, yeah, it has the makings of an epic steal, but was the Phil Kessel trade really the best in Boston sports history?

    • SI.com’s own Adrian Dater has the latest on the Ryan O’Reilly contract talks.

    • David Clarkson scored twice in a 3-1 win over the Rangers, giving him seven on the season. Maybe that 30-goal campaign wasn’t a fluke after all.

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  • Published On Feb 06, 2013
  • SHANNABANNED! Capitals’ John Erskine suspended three games for vicious elbow

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    By Allan Muir

    John Erskine has always played the game close to the edge, but on Friday night the big, physical defender stepped over the line.

    As a result, Erskine will miss the Washington Capitals next three games for his blatant elbow to the head of Philadelphia forward Wayne Simmonds.

    In making his ruling Saturday night, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan noted that there was “no malicious intent” and Erskine was just reacting to being beaten at the offensive blueline, but “this was a reckless elbow to the head that caused a serious injury.”

    Simmonds didn’t return after the hit in Washington’s 3-2 victory, and was initially said to be suffering from a mild case of whiplash. He’s not skating tonight in Philly’s game against Carolina and there’s no timetable for his return. (UPDATE: Flyers confirm Simmonds suffered a concussion on the play.)

    Shanahan noted that Erskine had no previous suspension history — a factor that always plays into his decisions — but you have to wonder if that weighed a little too heavily into this ruling, especially with Simmonds’ status still up in the air. Three games (and the loss of more than $24,000 in pay) will probably get the point across. But considering how dangerous the play was, there was room for this suspension to keep Erskine off the ice for as many as five games and make a stronger statement to the rest of the league. Quick reaction play or not, this was a pretty vicious hit. The next guy who tries this shouldn’t get off so lightly.


  • Published On Feb 02, 2013


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