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Greg Thornberry The Hockey Writers

Published on Friday, April 8, 2016





Dirty Hit, Bad Acting Highlight Penguins’ Clincher

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched second place in the Eastern Conference with an overtime win against the Washington Capitals Thursday night.

There was a lot of skill on display, and some shenanigans as well.

Washington forward Tom Wilson received a 5-minute major after a dangerous hit on Penguins’ Nick Bonino. The hit is yet another example of what is wrong in the NHL. Bonino went to the locker room, but returned later for the rest of the game. He was lucky.

The NHL is allowing these situations to continue. Their complete nonchalant attitude toward the safety of its players is simply disgusting. The NFL is hardly an example of caring, but at least they are taking steps to protect their players, even if it was forced under public pressure.

Why the players don’t respect each other is beyond me. It was time long ago for the NHLPA to speak up. Somehow the league needs to make it clear that they have no place for dirty players anymore.

No, I am not saying this because I am a Penguins writer. I criticized Matt Cooke for his many transgressions, and James Neal’s knee to the head of  Brad Marchand was one of the most despicable things that I have ever seen.

There is no place in the game for any of these players.

Kris Letang vs. Alex Ovechkin

Letang’s defensive play was incredible all night, but particularly when he faced Ovechkin.

One instance when the two faced off was particularly amusing. Ovechkin checked Letang, who checked Ovechkin relatively lightly. Ovechkin went down like a sack of potatoes


Letang was sent to the penalty box for cross checking, while Ovechkin was penalized for embellishment.

While we are on the subject of Letang, he had an amazing play in the overtime period. Moments after helping to prevent the Capitals from scoring on a close-quarters opportunity, he sent a beautiful feed to Crosby, springing him on the breakaway that led to the game-winning goal.

Amazing talent on display.

Matt Cullen, the Other Ageless Wonder

The 44-year-old, Jaromir Jagr, is getting all of the attention, and deservedly so. But what about the play of Cullen?

The 39-year old is playing like a 29-year old. He scored the first two goals of the game, and was a force throughout.

In 2009, the Penguins had Bill Guerin putting up solid numbers, while adding his valuable leadership. In 2016, Cullen is filling that role.

If the Penguins go anywhere in the playoffs, Cullen will certainly be a big part of the reason why.

Until next time.


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