Sheriff Shanahan willing to suspend superstars

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Sheriff Shanahan willing to suspend superstars

You can attack NHL Sheriff Brendan Shanahan for many different things, but you can no longer say he lacks the stones to suspend one of the NHLs stars at a pivotal point in the playoffs.

Thats about as gutsy as you can get.

Anybody within shouting distance of the Liberty Bell certainly had issues with Shanahan suspending Claude Giroux for his head shot on Dainius Zubrus, and there were even whispers of a league conspiracy against the Flyers. But it was clearly a suspendable offense with a clearly agitated Giroux taking out his frustrations on the nearest Devils skater at the most opportune moment.

Shanahan has endured some verbal barbs and critical daggers after failing to suspend Shea Weber or Evgeni Malkin for borderline plays earlier in the playoffs. The criticism was pretty clear: there is a superstar caste system in place for the NHL lawmakers and they wont lay down the superstar on hockeys favored sons.

But that argument is out the window now.

Shanahan ruled courageously and correctly in sitting Giroux out for a pivotal Game 5 that ultimately led to Philadelphias elimination at the hands of New Jersey. Giroux was in the conversation for the Conn Smythe Trophy and still leads the playoff field with 17 points in 10 playoff games for the now eliminated Flyers.

Predictably the Flyers crumbled without their leader and best offensive player, and now theyll have an entire offseason to sharpen their arguments in Philly about how they got screwed royally by the league. But in truth this was Shanahan learning from going too easily on Weber earlier during the playoffs, and thats all anybody can really ask for.

Plenty of people will scream that Malkin or James Neal should have been strung up if Giroux was guilty of a suspendable offense, but hindsight is something the NHL Player Safety Department simply doesnt have.

I cant imagine what the @ replies read like in Shanahans NHL twitter account: Im outraged that Shanny wont suspend the superstars paired equally with Im outraged Shanny could suspend Giroux for a game and sentence the Flyers to playoff death. Never mind the fact that anyone in Philadelphia is letting Giroux off the hook for a poorly-timed action, Shanahan cant win the popularity battle while making difficult, correct decisions during these playoffs.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.