Many fans worry that the NHL is slowly but steadily legislating physicality out of the game, and this year delivered plenty of fuel for debate about player safety in the form of big, thundering checks that sent players end-over-end, tumbling into benches, and, on rare occasions, through the glass. Most of the hits were well within the rules, while others were cause for supplemental discipline as the NHL continued to place added emphasis on preventing head injuries. After sorting through nine-plus months of game highlights, we present the 13 most bone-rattling hits of 2013:
Posts Tagged ‘Ryan McDonagh’
By Allan Muir
It’s been a busy summer at the NHL’s home office.
The league has registered nearly 200 new player contracts since the Blackhawks skated off with the Stanley Cup at the end of June. Most of those were low-level signings, players happy to find a chair before the music stopped. But there were scores of deals signed by legitimate NHLers as well, players who cashed in on their free agency or settled in for some long-term security with their current club.
Most of those deals left fans shaking their heads at the money that will be changing hands even though we all understand, on some level, anyway, that the numbers are bound to be crazy.
But there were others that seemed shockingly, well, sensible. Put in context, they’re set up to provide great value for the team . . . and in most cases, the player probably isn’t complaining, either.
Here are the deals signed this summer that should provide the best bang for the buck:
By Allan Muir
One down, two to go.
The decision of Rangers GM Glen Sather to lay off the open market and focus on his own restricted free agents paid off today when he inked Ryan McDonagh to a new deal.
Brooks thought it was fair value for the 24-year-old. That might be faint praise.
McDonagh, stolen from the Canadiens in a 2009 deal that deserved more attention from Quebec authorities than Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty, has emerged as one of the better young defensemen in the game. During his three seasons with the Rangers, he’s proven to be a reliable two-way performer who can be counted on to chew up big minutes in any situation.
By Sarah Kwak
Less than five minutes remained in the first overtime of Game 1 and the Bruins were outplaying and completely outshooting the Rangers with almost goal after almost goal. It was clear the Bruins were due for an actual goal any second. And for the last two weeks, their Little Ball of Hate has been due, too.
Brad Marchand, the team’s leading scorer in the regular season, was kept muzzled through the first round, picking up only three assists in the seven-game series against the Maple Leafs. But in the closing minutes of overtime against the Rangers, with the score knotted at 2-2, Marchand tipped in a beautiful feed from Patrice Bergeron to win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals for Boston. The pesky yet diminutive winger did it by powering through the even more diminutive Mats Zuccarello (5-foot-7, 174 pounds), who is probably the only NHLer Marchand (5-9, 183 pounds) could realistically muscle off.
In the fight between these two big, burly and tough hockey teams, the battle between two flyweights decided it. Figures.
Here are some more observations from the Bruins’ 3-2 Game 1 win:
NEW YORK — After being held to one goal while losing the first two games of their opening round series in Washington, the Rangers went home and got an emotional boost from the return of defenseman Marc Staal, who had not played since March 5 because of a brutal eye injury he suffered when he took a slap shot to the face and went down in a writhing heap. Staal, who replaced Steve Eminger in the lineup, was paired with Anton Stralman and tested on his second shift when Capitals forward Troy Brouwer plowed him into the sideboards. Staal emerged unhurt and the Rangers went on to snap a long scoring funk, get their power play back on track and hold off the Capitals for a crucial 4-3 win. The Rangers’ Game 3 victory cut the Capitals’ series lead to 2-1.
Here are some more thoughts and observations from the game: