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NHL: pluses and minuses around the league

Corey Crawford's play in net has been a big factor in the Blackhawks' incredible start. Goalie Rick DiPietro's reaction to being waived by the New York Islanders, jokingly saying he considered suicide, is wrong.

March 03, 2013|By Helene Elliott
  • Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane celebrates his shootout goal to defeat the Detroit Red Wings.
Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane celebrates his shootout goal to defeat… (Duane Burleson / Associated…)

+ When will the Blackhawks lose in regulation? Their 2-1 shootout victory Sunday in a classic game at Detroit extended their point streak to 19-0-3 from the season's start. Patrick Kane tied it late in regulation and won it in the shootout on a clever, slow-down move. Their depth fuels them but Corey Crawford's surprisingly clutch goaltending has been crucial. Their only losses came in shootouts, against Minnesota on Jan. 30, Vancouver on Feb. 1, and the Ducks on Feb. 12.

+ So much attention has been focused on the Blackhawks — and rightfully so — that the Boston Bruins' excellent start has been overshadowed. They were 14-2-2 through Saturday had won six in a row. But the schedule will soon become a hurdle: After playing only 10 games in February, they began a stretch Saturday of 31 games in the season's final 57 days. They'll have two days off in a row only once more, March 28-29.

+ Winger Simon Gagne wasn't going to play a lot for Kings Coach Darryl Sutter so the team did him a favor by trading him to the Flyers for a conditional draft pick (third if the Flyers make the playoffs, fourth if they miss). He still has skill, though he wasn't finishing for the Kings. Nice of Philadelphia fans to give him a loud ovation when he scored a goal in his first game, last Wednesday.

- Goalie Rick DiPietro told a Long Island, N.Y., TV station he contemplated killing himself after the New York Islanders waived him and sent him to the minors. "It felt like someone ripped out my heart, and stuck a knife in it and then lit it on fire and then flushed it down the toilet," he said. He quickly backtracked and said he was joking about suicidal thoughts. Not funny. Because of his "joke," others who are depressed and considering suicide might not be taken as seriously as they should be.

- The NHL wasn't severe enough with its four-game suspension of Flyers forward Harry Zolnierczyk for a hit to the head of Ottawa defenseman Mike Lundin on Saturday. NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said every player must keep his head up and expect to be hit, "but what no player should expect is that his opponent will launch upward, off the ice and into his head." Lundin has a concussion and is out indefinitely. A four-game ban isn't enough of a deterrent.

- If the Vancouver Canucks had scheduled a CT scan of Ryan Kesler's foot sooner, they might not have put forward Aaron Volpatti on waivers and lost him to the Washington Capitals. After losing Volpatti they learned Kesler has a broken foot and will be out four to six weeks. The Canucks then claimed Tom Sestito on waivers from the Flyers. He's not an upgrade but he won fans Saturday by fighting Kings winger Jordan Nolan.

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