Of referees, Alex Ovechkin said, “Right now you can’t say nothing to them. Even if you’re captain, even if you’re not a captain, even if you’re the fan, you’re still gonna get two minutes.”
Chicago played 24 games, soaring up to the top of the Western Conference standings and onto the cover of Sports Illustrated, who said they’d saved hockey. Then they lost this week to Colorado. “I’ll join the chorus,” wrote Gare Joyce. “What the hell is wrong with the Blackhawks?”
Regarding Sports Illustrated and that cover, lots of people (or at least Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports), said: puh-leeze and (more or less) Are you kidding me? and Thanks a lot but just because Americans non-fans weren’t paying attention to hockey doesn’t that it needed saving when they finally noticed what Chicago was doing.
Told that Toronto’s population had surpassed Chicago’s to take fourth place on the list of largest North American cities, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Go Blackhawks.” Well, his office did, anyway.
Kevin Bieksa told The Vancouver Sun that his groin felt fine.
“I love The Hockey Song,” said Ken Dryden. On the day of a memorial service for Stompin’ Tom Connors held at Peterborough’s Memorial Centre, Dryden recalled meeting the singer for the first time at rink in Huntsville, Ontario, in a room “that months after the season had ended still smelled like a hockey bag — like 20 hockey bags.”
Ovechkin: “Of course some refs don’t like some personalities on our team, but anyway, you have to respect us. We’re emotional, we’re in the game. When we say something bad to linesmen or bad to referees, we can’t give them two minutes when they yell at me or they yell at coaches or yell somebody. It’s kind of position when they have to give us a break.”
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma talked about the concussion Evgeni Malkin doesn’t have. “There is not a concern,” he said. “Just an upper-body injury.”
For his part, Sidney Crosby said he didn’t mind if Malkin ends up making more money than him, Crosby, when he, Malkin, signs his new contract. Malkin’s.
Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang said that he and Simon Depres, his partner on defence and a fellow Montrealer, speak English when they’re on the ice, French on the bench.
The New York Times said give the Hart Trophy to Scot L. Beckenbaugh, the U.S. federal mediator who helped to settle hockey’s lockout in January. “Without Beckenbaugh, there would be no NHL season.”
Wayne Gretzky talked to Pierre LeBrun from ESPN. “I don’t think there’s any question Sidney Crosby is the best all-around player in the game. His hockey sense is so strong and so solid, combined with his God-gifted talent of being able to see the ice, see the entire picture in front of him. And, most importantly, I don’t care how good you are, if you don’t have a work ethic, it doesn’t matter. There’s no question that each and every game, he’s one of the hardest-working guys on the ice. In my mind, he’s the best player in the game today.”
Toronto’s former general manager was on a panel in Boston at the 7th Annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. “As a GM, if you pay attention to what the sports writers write, you’re a fool,” said Brian Burke. “The sports page, when you are losing, has value only if you own a puppy or a parakeet.”
“There’s a relationship,” said Mike Johnson of TSN, talking about face-offs, “between the centreman and linesman.”
More from Burke: “Statistics are like a lamp post to a drunk: Useful for support but not for illumination.”
Don Cherry reported that one of his two goldfish that he’d had for five years was having a tough time and not swimming right. “Kind of sad,” he said.
The Ottawa Senators traded this for burly Matt Kassian and The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) lamented: “David Dziurzynski kayoed and out, Matt Kassian brought in. The disgusting nature of NHL meat grinder for punchers. #moneyforbraininjuries
The Oilers returned from a long road trip. “Finally home :),” said Nail Yakupov. “Не родной , но все равно теперь уже дом :)”
Someone said that if they ever got a really feisty cat they’d have no choice but to name him Clawed LeMew.
In Buffalo, goalie Jhonas Enroth started the game against New Jersey but didn’t finish it: Ryan Miller had to take his place after Enroth went down to a leg injury in the third period as the Devils tied the game. A leg cramp, as it turned out. “I cramped up,” Enroth said after it was all over. “Pretty much my whole body there. Probably I should stop drinking coffee on gamedays.”
“Hard outcome for him,” said Buffalo coach Ron Rolston, “but life’s hard.”
Guess who wasn’t happy when the Sabres beat the New York Rangers? “I don’t think the Sabres were the hungrier team — I thought we stunk,” New York coach John Tortorella said. “I’m not going to give Buffalo any credit.”
“I couldn’t be more disgusted and disappointed with the way our top guys played, the way we handled ourselves through it,” Tortorella went on. “That team was ripe to be beaten, and we simply did not play the way we were supposed to.”
“Get the man some penicillin,” said Bruce Dowbiggin when he heard Kevin Quinn say on Sportsnet, “Kyle Quincey has Hartikainen all over him.”
“I don’t know what else to tell you,” John Tortorella also said.
The Rangers went to Winnipeg next. They lost there, too, to the sound of the home crowd taunting the visiting coach: “Tor-to-rella! Tor-to-rella!”
The Rangers’ Brian Boyle said: “He knows what he’s doing.”
“You have to live in the present in this league,” added a teammate, Carl Hagelin.
“We’ve got to score,” said Brad Richards. “We’re not scoring.
Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist said, “My leg is pretty blue. ”
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault: “We’re faced with some good adversity that I’m confident will make us better.”
Blake Geoffrion of the Canadiens told the team he was retiring. In November, playing in the AHL, Geoffrion suffered a skull fracture and a concussion. “I know in my heart I’ll come back from this,” Geoffrion, 24, said at the time, after surgery in which doctors replaced a piece of his skull with titanium and mesh. “I’ll do whatever I have to do to come back to play the game. I miss the game dearly. I’ve watched every single game of the Canadiens.”
This week what he said was this: “I love the game of hockey more than anything and this decision tears me up inside. But we’re talking about my brain.”
Illustration: Carleton “Mac” McDiarmid