Panthers Barch Receives One-Game Ban... Why?

Written by Frank Castaldi on .

The NHL has announced that Florida Panthers forward, Krys Barch, has received a one-game suspension for his insensitive and hurtful comments towards berries.

See, you just learned two things today.

1) Bananas are actually a berry


B) The NHL has completely lost its mind!

According to Dave Lozo of, Barch was indeed banned for one game today, but, I'm not exactly sure why.

During the first period of a game against the Canadiens on Dec. 31, Barch admits to asking Habs defensemen P.K. Subban if he "slipped on a banana peel," after Subban had fallen down during an altercation with the Panthers' Erik Gudbranson.

Barch heavily stated that in no way, shape or form was this a racially directed jab at Subban, and apparently NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell agreed with him.


So, let me get this straight: Krys Barch has been suspended for ...? Yeah, exactly.

If Campbell didn't deem it was a racially-provoked insult, then, why on Earth was he hit with a suspension? Something just doesn't add up here.

What do you think? Was this suspension-worthy? Or has Campbell just completely gone insane with his rationale for the one-game ban?

Were Barch's Comments Racially Motivated
   Yes, they were meant as a racial slur.
   No, just a badly timed joke.
   HEY! Bananas have feelings, too!


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NHL All-Star Game Voting A Popularity Contest, Once Again

Written by Brian McCormack on .

Senators' Fans Got Out the Vote

In a weekend that is meant to showcase the NHL's brightest stars, the home-town Ottawa Senators will be very well represented. Four of the six balloted positions will belong to an Ottawa team that has won seven of ten, yet only holds a playoff spot in the East by two points, and who have played at least one more game than every other team in the conference except Montreal and Carolina.

Of the Senators headed to All-Star weekend, defenseman Erik Karlsson's election should go undisputed. In only his third season, Karlsson, the leading vote receiver, leads all defenseman in points with 37. He is also second among all skaters with 32 assists, matching his total from all of last season, and holds a plus-1 rating while averaging over 25 minutes a night for a team with a goal differential of -12. Impressive.

WJC Semis: Russia Holds Off Canada's Surge, Sweden Downs Finland in Shootout

Written by Mike Salerno on .

You couldn't ask for much more out of a wild semifinal round at the 2012 World Junior Championships Tuesday night in Calgary. We were treated to two incredible games pitting bitter rivals against one another that culminated in two incredible finishes that will echo through the memories of international hockey for some time.

After the jump, we'll take you through all the action and set you up for Thursday's Bronze and Gold medal games.

UPDATED: Rangers Tortorella Fined $30,000 For Post-Winter Classic Comments

Written by Frank Castaldi on .

UPDATE: According to several media outlets, Tortorella has been fined $30,000 by the NHL for his comments following Monday's Winter Classic. This is a rather stiff fine for the NHL as far as coaches are concerned, where most of referee-related comments usually come with a $10,000 price tag. Tortorella has since apologized for his comments, and stated that he felt they "tainted" the game.

We like to be entertained.

Plain and simple. And when it comes down to it, there are certain individuals that just simply entertain us a lot more than others.

Many times, that form of entertainment comes via spontaneous, yet calculated (yes, they are two completely opposite adjectives) wordplay. It doesn't matter what various sect of entertainment it is; we all have people we look forward to watching practice their craft.

Whether it's wrestling fans getting excited for The Rock cutting a promo, movie buffs relishing every second of an Al Pacino monologue, or deaf people on the edge of their seats to watch a broadcast featuring Pierre McGuire, we all know the moment our favorite performer steps on that stage, we're going enjoy it.

For those whose favorite form of entertainment is an NHL head coach's post-game press conference, the New York Rangers' John Tortorella takes the honor of best in the biz.

Rivalries Abound In World Juniors Semis, Can Canada Exact Revenge on Russia?

Written by Mike Salerno on .

Our apologies for the lack of WJC coverage over the weekend. Let's just say New Year's got the best of the Scratches for the better part of the weekend. We'll be making up for it with more content today than we've ever had before (which isn't saying much, we know) but we're back and even better in 2012!

By now, everyone knows the story. Canada, 20 minutes away from reclaiming their throne atop the junior hockey circuit, fell apart in the final period of the 2012 Gold medal game, squandering a 3-0 advantage to arch rival Russia. Disbelief ran wild above the 49th parallel.

This year, Canada has returned with a vengeance. After breezing through Group B with an unblemished 4-0 record and +21 goal differential, the host nation earned a bye to the semifinals, where as fate would have it, they'll be granted their wish: a rematch with those pesky Russians.

Top Five Storylines From The 2012 NHL Winter Classic

Written by Brian McCormack on .

Brad Richards completes the come-back

The NHL presented the fifth annual NHL Winter Classic yesterday afternoon from Citizens Bank Ball Park in Philadelphia, where the New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 second period deficit to take down the Flyers for the third time this season. The win gave the Rangers a three-point lead atop the Eastern Conference (Boston has two games in hand) and a four-point advantage over the Flyers in the Atlantic Division.

In a series of real-life drama in which every moment has been chronicled by the cameras of HBO's 24/7, it is only fitting that The Scratches break down the biggest story lines from the NHL's biggest regular season event.

After the jump, we'll take you through the five biggest storylines coming out of yesterday's game including the questionable officiating, a potential star's first NHL goal, and one goalie's strong case for the Vezina Trophy.

UPDATED: Rangers Staal In Lineup For Winter Classic

Written by Mike Salerno on .

UPDATE 12:52 p.m.: John Tortorella met with members of the media and announced that Marc Staal will make his season debut in today's Winter Classic.

"He'll play on the third pair today and we'll make changes to our lineup as we go through," he told the media at an unexpected press conference. "We're not making changes on our lineup, we're not putting him in a top four position. We'll make judgements about his game as he goes along here and as he gets playing again."

Tortorella will ease Staal back into the lineup, much like the Penguins did with Sidney Crosby earlier this year.

Staal, who has missed all 36 games this season with post-concussion syndrome, was rumored to be targeting the Winter Classic for his return, much like his brother Jordan was this time last year. However the Rangers ruled Staal out of the game over the weekend. John Tortorella announced he would feature the same lineup as their previous game, a 4-1 victory over Florida on Friday.

With the Blueshirts already getting all-star caliber play from Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, adding a healthy Staal into the mix easily gives them the strongest defensive unit in the Eastern Conference, if not the entire league.

This is a huge lift to the Rangers lineup, not only for today's game, but for the rest of the season, if he can avoid further injury. While that may be a big if, it would seem as though the rich just got richer on Broadway.

UPDATE 12:40 p.m.: Dave Lozo tweets it's very possible that Tortorella will announce Staal is back while meeting with the media at 12:45. (H/T to @IAmARangerXX)

According to Nick Montemagno of The Rangers Tribune, the Rangers will hold an unexpected press conference at 12:45 today, less than three hours before puck drop of today's NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic game against the Flyers.

Could this mean the return of Marc Staal? After officially being ruled out of the game, John Buccigross tweeted that he was hearing Staal could play today.

Now, with Ryan McDonagh fighting the flu, and no other viable defensive options in town, the Rangers may be thinking twice about Staal's availability. It was widely speculated that the all-star Blueshirts rearguard was 2-3 games away from returning, but a number of factors may have accelerated that process.

Stay with Tonight's Healthy Scratches for breaking news on this story.

Flyers Opt to Start Bobrovsky Over Bryzgalov

Written by Frank Castaldi on .

Remember back to the days when you would gear up for the first day of school? Nothing would be more important than what you wore to school that day. It didn't matter how awful your schedule was; the fact none of your friends are in your English class; or that you would most likely have to sit with people you had no intention of befriending during lunch, because all your friends had sixth period lunch, while you were stuck eating meals with the smelly kid that collected Pokemon cards, in fourth period. None of that mattered, however, when you picked out your first-day outfit.

After all, it was the most important day of school, and on the most important day of school, you needed to look your absolute best.

That's what the Philadelphia Flyers had in mind this past summer when they imploded their roster, trading away captain Mike Richards and star Jeff Carter in order to alleviate cap space to sign goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million contract.

When the intergalactic warrior between the pipes inked his name to that lavish contract, the Flyers knew that on January 2nd, 2012, they would have their most dapperest outfit pressed and ready to impress for the Winter Classic.

Then this happened:

After Sergei Bobrovsky dodged reporter's questions--like Bryzgalov dodges pucks of late--of who would start in net for the Flyers for tomorrow afternoon's Winter Classic, the Russian Sputnik delivered the answers we had all been seeking.

The Flyers' pricey offseason acquisition will not be between the pipes at 3 p.m. (the game was pushed back due to a new forecast) when the puck drops against the New York Rangers, instead the 23-year-old Bobrovsky will make his 11th--and most important--start of the season.

So much for the Flyers impressing the 45,000-plus fans with their first-day outfit ... I guess the old hand-me-downs will have to do.

WJC Day Five: Americans Eliminated From Medal Round

Written by Mike Salerno on .

For the first time since 1999, USA Hockey will not be taking part in the knockout round of the World Junior Championships. Thanks to a 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic yesterday afternoon, the Americans will be forced to play in the relegation round, and face the possibility of being demoted to a lesser group in 2013, something that was deemed unfathomable just a few days ago.

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WJC Day Four: Canada, Russia Roll; Previewing Friday's Matchups

Written by Mike Salerno on .

Canada and Russia took on rather soft opponents on Thursday at the 2012 World Junior Championships, each dispatching them rather easily. The Canadians toyed with Denmark en route to a 10-2 win, while the Russians floored Latvia, 14-0, thanks to captain Evgeni Kuznetsov's nine-point effort. Yep, you read that right.

After the jump we'll get into detail about today's matchups, which include the Americans trying to bounce back from their loss to Finland and Sweden's matchup with a pesky Slovakia team. Could we see another upset?

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