this week: encore des maux de tête et des raideurs au cou

rangers americans

New York, New York: It was Rangers versus Americans that night at Madison Square Garden, December 16, 1937, with the visiting team winning 2-0, which is to say, the Rangers. “A speedy, well-played contest that was packed with action,” reported The New York Times. It was Ching Johnson’s first game as an American after 11 years as a Ranger, and he almost scored. Here Rangers’ goalie Dave Kerr smothers the puck in front of John Gallagher. Tailing him are Rangers Lynn Patrick (9) and Ott Heller (3), with the Americans Sweeney Schriner (11) following up with Art Coulter. Tussling in front: Cecil Dillon of the Rangers and the Americans’ Hap Emms, the latter in his only shift of the game. According to The Times, Toronto manager Conn Smythe was in the house and at the end of the game offered the Rangers’ boss, Lester Patrick, $20,000 to sell his son Lynn to the Leafs. The answer was no.

Jay Feaster lost his job this week as GM of the Calgary Flames. Stepping up in his place was Brian Burke, whose torrid hair made big news when he went to meet the press.

“We want black-and-blue hockey here, that’s what we do in Alberta,” Burke mentioned. “We’ve got to be big and more truculent — I know you’re all waiting for the word, there it is. I want a little more hostility out there than what I’m seeing right now.”

He said he wasn’t kissing babies, i.e.: “I’m not running for office. This is about winning hockey games. And I have to take the steps that I think are going to lead us to win the most hockey games we can win.”

“I’m tellin the real world what goes on,” is something Don Cherry said, this week.

Bob Cole watched a Chicago goalie take the net for his first NHL minutes in Toronto on Saturday night, Kent Simpson was his name, 21, from Edmonton, the score was 5-2 for the Leafs and Finnish rookie Antti Raanta had done all that he could do for the Blackhawks, and the first shot that Toronto took, it was Joffrey Lupul, passed Simpson by, and Cole said, “Ya gotta feel sad for that young man.”

Brian Burke: “Easier to fill out the roster with bangers than skill players. Anyone can paint a barn.”

In New York, the Rangers continued to falter. Katie Strang of ESPN heard about it from defenceman Ryan McDonagh. “The hockey gods are testing us,” he told her.

Larry Brooks from The New York Post wrote about the Rangers’ Derek Stepan who, in his struggles, hadn’t scored a goal in ten games. A non-factor, Brooks called him. Maybe was he, quote, playing his way off the U.S. Olympic Team?

“Enough is enough,” Stepan said. “I have to score.”

About his team, he said this: “Our confidence is really fragile. We’re so fragile.”

Fallguy: Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell published his first children's book this week. It's the story of a hockey player who falls down a lot but (spoiler alert) always gets back up again. For more information, visit: http://shop.hartnelldown.com/products/hartnelldown-children-s-book.

Fallguy: Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell published his first children’s book this week. It’s the story of a hockey player who falls down a lot but (spoiler alert) always gets back up again. For more information, visit:
http://shop.hartnelldown.com/products/hartnelldown-children-s-book.

Twitter logged a goal on Saturday, the first one in Vancouver’s eventual 6-2 win over Boston. Starting at 7.41 pm on the Pacific clock, it went like this:

@VanCanucks: SCORES!

@VanCanucks: JUST LIKE HANSEN DREW IT UP!

@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Rask fooled by long shot that seems to deflect off Chara. Still, wow

@imacVanSun: Lidstom. Scores!

@NHLBruins: #Canucks on the board first. Long drive deflects off Zee’s stick, knuckle pucks in through Rask’s five-hole. That was crazy trajectory

@hockeynight: The @VanCanucks open the scoring against the @NHLBruins in the 1st. #hockeynight  

@VanCanucks: From just over centre ice, Jannik Hansen fires a slapshot at Tuukka Rask. Rask acts like an elephant seeing a mouse, jumps and GOAL!

@VanCanucks: #Canucks draw first blood, lead 1-0 after 20 minutes. Jannik Hansen with the goal, his 5th of the season. Shots are 10-9 Bruins.

@NHLBruins: #NHLBruins trail 1-0 to #Canucks after the first. Shots 10-9 in Bruins’ favor

Toronto coach Randy Carlyle on the Leafs’ performance in a loss to St. Louis: “We looked like we were totally brain-dead.”

Tampa Bay’s broken-legged supernal star Steven Stamkos talked, this week or last, about making a return to the ice in time for February’s Olympics. He has a “a pretty long road ahead of myself,” he told Hockey Night in Canada’s Mark Lee, who wished him the best on behalf of all Canadians. “It’s tricky when it comes to bones,” Stamkos reminded him. “Only time will tell.”

Back In Calgary: Longtime Flame Jarome Iginla returned to play his old team this week with his new one. (Photo: @NHLBruins)

Back In Calgary: Longtime Flame Jarome Iginla returned to play his old team this week with his new one. (Photo: @NHLBruins)

Jarome Iginla returned to Calgary on Tuesday, a member, now, of the Boston Bruins. Tweeted The Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek: “I’m arguing he is the most popular player in Flames’ history just ahead of TFleury and LMacDonald. Yes? No? Others?”

“In my mind, he’s the best power forward in the league,” said Shawn Horcoff of his Dallas teammate and captain, Jamie Benn.

The price of kneeing Brad Marchand in the head was established this week, and it’s US$128,205.15.

That’s how much Pittsburgh’s James Neal will end up forfeiting, anyway, while he serves the five-game suspension the NHL gave him for the knee. The amount is based on his average annual salary and goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Monday that was announced. It was Saturday before the NHL’s Brendan Shanahan brought down his verdict on Shawn Thornton’s attack on Brooks Orpik in the same game.

“I mean, what do you want me to say?” Neal asked reporters. “That I was trying to hit him? No, I’m going by him. I don’t get out of the way, like I said. I need to be more careful and I guess get my knee out of the way, but I’m not trying to hit him in the head or injure him or anything like that.”

There were calls from fans for Thornton to be banned for 20 games or more.

While the wait went on, Renaud Lavoie from Le Journal de Montréal updated the status of Orpik’s health: “a encore des maux de tête et des raideurs au cou.”

On Wednesday, Don Cherry took to Twitter to pen a poem, @CoachsCornerCBC:

A big beautiful hawk was killed on North Sheridan Way Service Road last night. How can anybody kill a beautiful bird like that?

The bird had to be seen. I can understand, although sad, when I see a squirrel killed on the road, the way they dart in and out .

But this hawk did not know how to time it when to get out of the way of as a car comes. Sad. I love hawks. They always look so cool as

they sit on a tree like they should be wearing sun glasses.

From Moscow, R-Sport reported on Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Nikita Nikitin, whose English isn’t getting any better, and doesn’t need to.

With three Russian teammates, he says, there’s always somebody to explain stuff to him. “Because of that,” he said, Russianly, “I should admit I don’t learn English.”

“I understand everything I need to, but I can still only speak with difficulty. But there’s always guys around who give me prompts.”

Russian national assistant GM Alexei Yashin got back to Russia this week from a scouting tour of North America ahead of the Sochi Olympics. “I met with Malkin and spoke to Ovechkin, and the guys are really up for it,” he told R-Sport. “Everybody is excited about the Olympic Games, what’s going to happen in Sochi. Our guys are preparing and the Olympics are stuck in their subconscious, because this event is very important and prestigious for our country.”

For Toronto’s David Clarkson, checking Vladimir Sobotka’s head will cost US$128,048.78. (He was also suspended two games.)

When Shawn Thornton finally got his news of his ban, it was 15 games, which put the cost of his attack on Orpik at US$84,615.45.

Excused from the ice for two games, Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf paid US$66,666.66 for launching Boston’s Kevan Miller into the boards.

Ottawa’s Jared Cowan, for a blow to the head of Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons: two games and US$31,794.88.

The two games Tampa Bay’s Richard Panik got for boarding Karl Alzner of Washington cost him US$7,589.74.

No games for Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn, just a fine. Cross-checking Chicago’s Kris Versteeg cost him US$2,230.77.

“Did you know that Southern Ontario is the only place in the world where there are black squirrels?” tweeted Don Cherry.