There’s never enough #HockeyTalk coming out of this office so Pat, Gorms, and I decided to do something about it out. We’re going at it, debating the trending topics on and off the ice in a new weekly segment dedicated to finding the best, raw, unfiltered, takes from around the NHL.

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Christmas is Over but Crosby is Still Giving Gifts

Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins blew the doors off of the Rangers in Madison Square Garden last night. Every night Crosby is on the road he is public enemy #1 in that city (Unless it’s Canada).

There are a few places though that his play and antics drive the crowd into a frenzy on part with the old Roman Coliseum, namely Philadelphia, Washington, and New York. 

Last night was no exception and as Crosby took a rare trip to the sin bin he met a heckler unlike most… One with some style, some flavor, some fresh chirps. None of the same old “Crosby Sucks!”, “Cindy Crysby!”, baby, diver, bullshit. The guy was so unique with his trash talk it actually got Sid’s attention. First he gave him the classic squirt of the water bottle between the glass to let him know hey buddy fuck off. Then after the game he gifted him something special.

Greg Wyshynski the former Puck Daddy himself was able to track down the heckler and found out what he said that managed to get one the most serious and focused athletes on the planet to drop his guard and actually smile. Nick Lipeika is his name, a true New York Rangers fan, who said:

“Not a lot of cool things happen to me, but this is up there, for sure,” … Never would have guessed.

A few of the quips he reportedly dropped on the Captain include:

He began laying into him, starting each taunt with an exaggerated “heyyyyy Crosby” before shouting his chirps. “He’s probably heard it all. For me, I wanted to tell him things he hasn’t heard before,” he said. “He’s won everything. That’s why everyone wants to heckle him.”

“Hey Crosby, [Evgeni] Malkin would have more Cups if he had a better supporting cast.”

“Hey Crosby, you were voted third toughest Canadian, behind Celine Dion and a close second to Avril Lavigne.”

“Hey Crosby, when Gatorade wanted a tough guy, Justin Bieber turned them down so they settled for you.”

“Hey Crosby, Malkin wants to know where your Calder Memorial Trophy is.” (Please note that for all of Crosby’s accomplishments, NHL rookie of the year was not one of them, while Malkin won it in 2007.)

Admittedly creative, though I would knock him a few points for lack of vulgarity, I thought this was New York after all, the Garden, MSG, The MECCA. 

Keep the hate coming folks, it only makes Sid stronger.

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NHL Seattle Expansion News and Game Notes from Last Night

It’s official Seattle is getting an NHL franchise starting in the 2021 season. I Love it. Ladies and gentlemen your 2022 Stanley Cup Runners Up! The Seattle ____ !

They still haven’t picked a name yet, let’s look at some of the favorites…

Eh, I dunno about yinz guys, but I’m not sold on any of these. I have a few suggestions myself…

They actually made a few other decision’s though that deserve some praise. For one this levels out the league to an even 32 teams and coming off of the heels of the success of the Vegas team this has fans eager and excited that winning is possible and should help build a good base. The second important thing the NHL didn’t fuck up here is rushing this team. There was an option on the table to have the team start playing in the 20-21 season, which would have required starting the team on the road until the arena in Seattle would be ‘allegedly’ ready in November of that season. There’s 0% chance that arena will be ready by that date and this team would have been playing 67 road games, 13 outdoor games, and playing their “home” games in Vancouver’s barn. A classic NHL clusterfuck, thankfully crisis avoided. 

Interesting night around the rest of the league as well…

Pittsburgh and Colorado went at it again for the second time in as many weeks in a weird bizzarro universe version of the game last week. Both games featured a team jump out to a big lead, a hat trick, and a comeback.  Weird right? It get’s weirder; all 9 goals in this game were scored into the same net on the same side of the ice. Whaaaat? This time it was the Pens who benefited with Patric Hornqvist scored the fastest most casual random sloppy natural hatty in Penguins team history. Pretty impressive feat for a team that’s featured a few of the greatest players the league has ever seen.

Things managed to get even more weird after the game

Auston Matthews put on a show last night for the Leafs as they took down the surprisingly dominant Sabres 4-3 in OT. First this little dandy where he looks like a dad toying with a few of his kids in the backyard…

Matthews is daddy.

Then he ends the game with this OT snipe so pure it would make Frank Lucas all warm and fuzzy inside.

Tough night for Jimmy Howard who’s been tossed around in some trade rumours lately. This performance isn’t going to help.

Wings lost in the shootout 6-5.

Montreal took down Ottawa 5-2, maybe not so surprising, however Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin are enjoying their mini resurgence in Montreal. Both guys had a goal and 2 assists EACH!  Tampa doesn’t really miss Drouin, but Arizona has to have a little regret giving up on Domi so soon. He’s got 30 points on the year and 13 goals already, while Galchenyuk has just 10 points total. Woof.

The Blue Jackets fell to the Flames by a score of 6 – 9 (NICE!) in an absurd game. If you’ve got the time you can watch all of those goals here:

Somehow James Neal didn’t get a point. Problematic.

“That’s what happens when you run into a lion in the jungle.”

Those are the words of Ryan Reaves after his run in with Tom Wilson last night in a 5-3 VGK win. For some reason these guys won’t just fight and get it over with, they buy each other drinks all night but never take each other home, it’s all the foreplay without insertion, they just love to take runs at each other.

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Pens/Caps in the Nation’s Capital… Malkin Suspension?

Division rivals, arch nemesis, and the past two Stanley Cup winning franchises squared off for the 2nd time this season last night and did not disappoint. Pittsburgh and Washington is appointment viewing hockey, there’s no shortage of adjectives, cliches, and hype when you get a handful of the best players in the world squaring off, especially when both teams have been getting subpar goaltending from their Cup winning goalies.

Holtbeast thinks your dive is pathetic and will show you perfect form.

Braden Holtby currently sitting at .899 sv% and 3.37 GAA in 11 games compared to Matt Murray and his troublesome .886 sv% and 3.87 GAA. Murray has struggled so much he didn’t even get the start and was spelled by Pens backup Casey DeSmith who played as well as could be asked in the situation. 

Son of a…

Before we get into the action shoutout to the Capitals organization who I will often criticize as I think Ted Leonsis is a huge goober, HOWEVA they did a great thing tonight.

It was a low scoring game, but not for lack of chances as each team had multiple frenzies in front of the others crease. Crosby got the scoring started in the first, absolutely burying a snipeshow on the PP. Only one spot to put it and he didn’t miss on a great pass from his BFF Jack Johnson

Not to be outdone the Great 8 equaled the score and wow factor with a Power Play rocket of his own we’ve seen so many times from the Russian Machine.

With the game tied up in the 3rd you got the feeling this was going to a classic finish one way or the other. Entering the zone halfway through the period Geno Malkin laid a hit on TJ Oshie that changed the game.

The officials wasted no time hitting Geno with a 5 minute major and Game Misconduct ending his night in Washington (MUCH more on this below). Oshie was already banged up after taking high stick from Olli Maatta earlier in the game that was missed by the officials and left a wicked gash on his nose near his eye. To the Penguins credit they didn’t fall to pieces and kept coming with several more chances to win the game after the 5 minute kill.


After going to the locker room for the 2nd time in the night (clearing the concussion protocols) Oshie would return with a vengeance and put the nail in the coffin with for the Pens with just over a minute left slamming home this perfect dish from Carlson.
This still hurts to watch

Caps win 2-1, even the season series at 1 game a piece. The Pens have now lost 5 straight games for the first time under Mike Sullivan. You can rest assured GMJR is contemplating a roster move as we speak for a spark.

Now let’s dive into this Malkin hit, buckle up. My initial reaction at game speed was “oh shit, that’s a bad Geno penalty right there.” He has a reputation for poorly timed offensive zone penalties. Upon watching it a few times over and seeing the slow mo my line of thinking changed to “HOW IN THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO THROW HIM OUT! HE’S BRACING FOR CONTACT! GET YOUR HEAD UP OSHIE, GET YOUR BIG DUMB PERFECT JAW LINE OUT OF GENO’S SHOULDER IDIOT!”

Interference? Sure… Fine. 2 minutes have a seat. A game misconduct? Still not sure… but here’s the thing, above all it’s a hit to the head. This is what matters now to the league (at least this month it does). Malkin is for sure bracing for contact but he’s definitely throwing his weight into it and the principle point of contact is the head, plus the way Oshie went down I see why the refs made the call they did in real time. 

Oshie didn’t seem bothered and even related as he often does a similar tactic.

Because of the severity of the calls on the ice and the fact that Oshie came back into the game to play (which matters to the league whether we think it should or shouldn’t) I don’t think there will be a suspension involved. It wasn’t one of those predatory head hunting hits (like this hit from Brendan Lemieux which got him 2 games where the head contact was most definitely avoidable). The NHL hands out suspensions from a plinko board though so you can never really be certain.

UPDATE: I was right, he won’t.

That being said it’s time the NHL decided if they’re all in or all out on hits to the head. Call it soft, but body checks in this game are meant to separate player from puck, not injure. Here is the current ruling on NHL hits to the head:

  • Rule 48.1: Illegal Check to the Head: A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted.
  • In determining whether contact with an opponent’s head was avoidable, the circumstances of the hit including the following shall be considered:
  • (i) Whether the player attempted to hit squarely through the opponent’s body and the head was not “picked” as a result of poor timing, poor angle of approach, or unnecessary extension of the body upward or outward.
  • (ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable.
  • (iii) Whether the opponent materially changed the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact.

Still a lot of gray area as you can see, especially in this case. Malkin has a height advantage on Oshie naturally placing his shoulder at head level when Oshie “assumes a posture that made head contact unavoidable.” To save the NHL and the officials from themselves the time has to come to just adopt the IIHF rules on hits to the head:

All of them. Penalize all of them. Make it consistent across the board. It’s the only way guys will stop ramming their shoulders and elbows into each others faces. 

What do you think? Suspension worthy? Fine as it is? Let me know on social til we get the comment section up and running.

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