Leading Scorer: Mats Sundin, 8 points
Last Game: 8-1 win at the New York Islanders Thursday.
Last Game Against The Penguins: 5-4 overtime win, March 31, 2007.
Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Mats Sundin. With 74 career points in 50 games, he's the all-time leading scorer among active players against the Penguins.
Useless Trivia: The grandfather for Maple Leafs forward Bates Battaglia was once the head of an organized crime outfit in Chicago.
Best Maple Leafs YouTube Video We Could Find: Sundin has mad skills.
THURSDAY'S ASSAULT IN THE NHL BROUGHT
TO YOU BY NASHVILLE AND PHOENIX
Another day, another head shot in the NHL. But this time we had two.
Predators forward Jordin Tootoo tried to catch Coyotes forward Daniel Winnik with a shoulder to the head in Thursday's 6-3 Coyotes win. After he partially connected, Tootoo received clothesline by Phoenix forward Craig Weller.
Tootoo deserves a suspension for the hit. While thankfully Winnik escaped serious injury, Tootoo aimed for the head and attempted to injure Winnik. The NHL has said hits like those are now grounds for suspension. As indicated in this video you can be suspended for:
-Hitting an unsuspecting player in the head.
-Being a repeat offender.
-Targeting the head.
-Launching yourself to make the hit.
While his hit isn't as absurd as Steve Downie's on Dean McAmmond, Tootoo is guilty of three of those criteria and deserves suspended. (We bolded the three.)
As far as Weller is concerned, while his intentions were noble (he was defending a teammate) his actions aren't much different than Todd Bertuzzi's punching of Steve Moore in 2004. He slugged an unsuspecting player during the course of a game. Thankfully Tootoo escaped serious injury as well.
The funny thing about this video is how seemingly innocent the Coyotes announcers portray Weller. We watched this happen live through while watching the Nashville broadcast and you would've thought Weller murdered Tootoo by the way the Predators announcers reacted.
NHL COMES DOWN ON BOULERICE
A day after Tootoo and Weller were hammering players on the ice, NHL chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell hammered Flyers forward Jesse Boulerice with a 25 game suspension for his cross-check to the head of Canucks center Ryan Kesler Wednesday.
The suspension is as long as the one Islanders forward Chris Simon received for swinging his stick at Ryan Hollweg of the Rangers last season.
We applaud Campbell for throwing the book at the Flyers goon. Boulerice's actions weren't as graphic as Simon's, but it appears Campbell is trying to make an example of Boulerice. If you attempt to injure someone, you'll pay.
We've been critical of the NHL in just about every way you can imagine. But we can't be critical of Campbell. He is doing what he can to rid the NHL of this sort of wild-west violence.
On a side note, EN reader Nathan Verilla of Richmond, Va. reminded us that Boulerice isn't even that talented of a fighter. While with the Hurricanes a few seasons ago, Boulerice was floored by Aaron Downey of the Stars with a single punch:
WE HATE THE NEW JERSEYS
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Evgeni Malkin's a big Starscream fan.
-The Penguins have more free time on their hands than David Littlefield.
-New flash: Michel Therrien changes his lines a bunch.
-The sale of the Kamloops Blazers, a junior hockey team, to a group of investors that included Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor, was officially approved.
-The Wheeling Nailers won a preseason game in Greensburg against the Johnstown Chiefs, 3-2, in overtime.
-It's looking like free agency losses have finally caught up with the Devils. They fell 3-0 to the Panthers Thursday.
-With an injury to forward Sean Avery, the Rangers are giving free agent forward Dave Scatchard a shot.
-The Rangers spoiled the Capitals' bid to go 82-0 this season and beat Washington, 3-1, Friday.
-Mats Sundin became the Maple Leafs' all-time leader in points and goals in an 8-1 rout of the Islanders Thursday.
-The Maple Leafs admitted (sort of) the real reason they've banned certain types of video recording equipment from their locker room. They basically want fans to go to their Web site for video of the Maple Leafs instead of sites such as the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star.
-Senators goaltender Ray Emery lost the first game of his rehab stint with Binghampton of the AHL, 4-1.
-Phil Kessel scored his first career hat trick in Boston's 8-6 win at Los Angeles Friday.
-During a 5-0 rout in Buffalo Thursday, Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk dropped the gloves with Sabres forward Drew Stafford:
Harry Neale's "shadow" line is priceless.
-The Hurricanes handed the Senators their first loss of the season and claimed a 5-3 win Thursday.
-The Capitals are still paying part of Jaromir Jagr's salary.
-Jim Balsillie will not die. The would-be Penguins and Predators owner is trying to buy to Predators again. Will someone buy this franchise and figure out what they're going to do with it once and for all?
-Several teams such as the Penguins brought their dads along for road games last season. The Wild will be bringing their moms along for a West Coast swing.
-After getting demolished by the Flyers, 8-2, Wednesday, Canucks general manager Dave Nonis called his team "lazy and stupid."
-The Flames got their first win of the season by beating the Stars, 3-2, in overtime. The Thrashers are now the only team without a win this season.
(There were Canadian and American Divisions in the NHL from 1926 until 1937)
-Former NHL goaltender Ed Belfour worked out with the University of North Dakota men's hockey team.
PEOPLE GO TO BLUE JACKETS GAMES FOR US
"The Blue Jackets are trying to build a college fan base. This year they started a student rush program (they copied it off of the Penguins, I asked). Tickets are $15 for upper bowl and $25 for lower bowl, and at the involvement fair here on campus, they even gave out free tickets to the home preseason games. I went to the game against the Canes for free! ($34 seats!) I think I'm going to take advantage of their $17 nosebleed seats, which happen to be good, and go to a game in two weeks against the Blues with my friend, my sister, and her boyfriend. It's "Slap Shot" night. The first 10,000 fans through the doors get Hanson Brothers glasses, and after the game they're having a screening of the movie. It's a big rivalry game, hence why I'm not doing student rush and buying tickets early." -Elizabeth Krenzelok, Columbus, Ohio (by way of Upper St. Clair)
EN - "Never play Lady of Spain Again!" (That was the cleanest "Slap Shot" quote we could use.)
"As a Pittsburgh transplant to the Columbus area last year, who is still a huge Penguins fan, I was excited to be in a city with an awesome arena. I could still go and check out some games on occasion since I couldn't make it back to Pittsburgh for as many Pens games as I would like to.
I cannot believe how terrible their fans are here. I was at a game last year where the Blue Jackets blew out the San Jose Sharks and there was little or no reaction. Also their organist leaves A LOT to be desired. I really think they hired this person from a funeral home. They're a terrible crowd motivator.
When I am at a Penguins game, I can get a "LETS GO PENS" chant started in no time. I tried the same here in Columbus and got ZERO response. I started with "Let's Go Jackets!" (*chirp*) Then I tried "Let's go Sharks!!" (*chirp*)
So finally I yelled "Let's go HOME!!" and still nothing.
I think the arena is full of Stepford fans or something. It's quite sad. It doesn't seem that their new cannon is making any impact either. Can't wait to get back to my next Pens game!" -- John Ladner, Columbus, Ohio
EN - This is the cannon John is referring too: