The NHL playoff race continued to be full of piping hot drama this week as players continued to put their bodies on the line to better their teams’ playoff positions—none more so than Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators.
In this Saturday Seven we’ve got Crosby and Melnyk, the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise record-setting season, Gary Bettman on the Olympic hockey outlook and more…
Matthew Tkachuk is Just a Teenage Dirtbag, Baby
This isn’t 19-year-old Tkachuk’s first appearance in the Saturday Seven, as his widely covered penchant for slew footing earned him a mention in late-January after he felled Maple Leafs defender Martin Marincin with a nasty boot to the back of the legs.
I can’t GIF but here’s Tkachuk slewfooting Marincin twice in slow motion pic.twitter.com/oWBZXtYbFc
— Tyler (@kerdy19) January 24, 2017
The Flames rookie was at it again this week when he ploughed an elbow into the face of Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. If you care, former Flame Theo Fleury praised the act.
— VICE Sports (@VICESports) March 22, 2017
The rest of the world thought it was garbage, including the victim of the vicious elbow, who was mostly surprised by the brazen act of dirtbagery.
Doughty, on the Tkachuk hit: “He’s a pretty dirty player, that kid.” His quotes on the play at the end of the first period: pic.twitter.com/D1TIuogKPB
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) March 20, 2017
Sidney Crosby Rivals Tkachuk for Greasiest Play of the Week
Sidney Crosby must have seen Matthew Tkachuk’s medieval jousting reenactment and figured he’d one-up the young sprite with this slash on the Ottawa Senators’ Marc Methot.
Sidney Crosby slashed Marc Methot and chopped off a part of his finger. Of course the Refs didn’t call anything pic.twitter.com/EyAcigdp0U
— Bar South N Celly™ (@BarSouthNCelly) March 24, 2017
Here’s another look at the aftermath of the slash. Content warning: it’s a little gruesome.
Marc Methot was slashed by Sidney Crosby annnnnnnd this was the result… pic.twitter.com/qfabcDflR3
— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) March 24, 2017
Marc Methot’s finger is shattered and he’s “out for weeks” #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 24, 2017
Regardless of how innocuous the slash might have looked at first glance, Crosby still managed to hack off the tip of Methot’s finger through his glove. Reminds me of the time I ran my pointer through the bandsaw in shop class…
Sens Owner Eugene Melnyk Unhappy Over Aforementioned Butchering
Eugene Melnyk responded to the incident on TSN 1200, calling Crosby a bunch of names and advocating for a tough response from NHL Player Safety.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 24, 2017
No penalty was called on the play and one highly doubts the NHL is about to suspend the best player in the game while he’s in the thick of an exciting scoring race, now just five points back of Connor McDavid for the league lead after scoring a goal in last night’s game against the New York Islanders.
Crosby’s agent responded predictably when he called for Melnyk to be fined for his comments regarding his client.
— theScore (@theScore) March 24, 2017
Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better
Crosby wasn’t just up to not good this week as he and NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid have been going back and forth with beauty plays all season long. This week was no exception.
Crosby scored this one-handed dandy on Tuesday night…
GIF: This Crosby goal on loop all night long… pic.twitter.com/MSZ3ceqoZx
— Benstonium (@Benstonium) March 21, 2017
…and McDavid responded with a play of his own, crispier than a tall glass of ice cold Schweppes ginger ale.
Oh, it’s McDavid again. pic.twitter.com/CAFedwjYnd
— NHL (@NHL) March 23, 2017
McDavid had 8 points (2-6) in four games this week to widen the gap between himself and the rest of the pack in the Art Ross race.
The Oilers Are Back
The statement appears to be true as the Oilers are in shape to make the playoffs for the first since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in the 2005-2006 season, only to lose to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Edmonton Oilers have won 40 games in a season for the first time this decade, and for the third time since the turn of the century.
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) March 24, 2017
The McDavid effect is truly magic.
The Blue Jackets Are Fire—But it Won’t Matter With the Current NHL Playoff Format
— Jeremy Crowe (@307x) March 24, 2017
The league’s current system, focussed on pitting divisional teams against each other for the sake of cultivating “rivalries”, might cost the Blue Jackets big time, who have the fourth best record in the league with a game on hand over the third-place Blackhawks, but are set to face to Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round—without home ice advantage.
(Screenshots courtesy of NHL.com as of 03/24/2017)
Read Dom Luszczyszyn’s full critique at The Hockey News.
The NHL is Probably NOT Going to the Olympics (Maybe)
Gary Bettman on NHL’s participation in Winter Olympics: “If nothing changes I don’t see any way that we are participating.”
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) March 24, 2017
But don’t forget, it’s about the fans.
The Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty seems to think this is mere posturing on the part of the NHL overlord. He fully expects the players and the fans to get what they want when the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang roll around.
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) March 22, 2017