While it’s completely understandable that the Fight Night at The Garden Wednesday night was the water-cooler topic du jour throughout the day, the NHL, the media that covers the league, and too many fans are still focused on Tom Wilson and not the feel-good stories of the last 24 hours.
The stories that can truly set this league up for even more ratings and social media success going forward should be ones like the TJ Oshie story that took place in that same fight that saw a hockey game finally break out and that of former Boston Bruins alternate captain David Backes and how his original team, the St. Louis Blues honored him in what was likely his final game in the city he still calls home.
Or how about the milestones reached by Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who won his 490th game and moved into 3rd all-time in wins, and by Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, who notched his 1,000 point Wednesday?
As far as this puck scribe is concerned, fighting should still remain in the NHL. There is always room for passionate and organic fights but as for those staged line brawls that everyone knew were coming Wednesday in New York when the Rangers and Washington Capitals met in a hyped-up rematch? No thank you. There also isn’t room for the dirty Tom Wilson in the NHL but if like Brad Marchand has, Tom Wilson decides to change his approach to the game and be the power forward we all know he can be, then I’m all for that Tom Wilson.
Those aforementioned other moments from an eventful night in the NHL were what should’ve dominated the airwaves and social media Thursday and it’s a sad reflection of not only where the NHL finds itself amongst the four major pro sports (NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL), but frankly society.
Now onto your BHN Links:
ICYMI, here’s the madness that transgressed between the Caps and Rangers on Wednesday. (NBC Sports)
Now onto the videos that get you in the feels and show what the game is played for:
The Boston Bruins will look to take advantage of an emotionally and physically drained Rangers team who at least must be happy they won’t face Tom Wilson again this season. (Boston Hockey Now)
With Charlie Coyle out of the lineup Thursday, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk will get a chance to start having fun again when he hops up onto the third line with Sean Kuraly and Nick Ritchie. (Boston Hockey Now)
Speaking of Kuraly, he’s playing his best hockey of the season right when his team needs him most. My partner-in-crime Joe Haggerty has more. (Boston Hockey Now)
The legendary Stan Fischler dissects the Rangers stunning dismissals of former Bruins GM Jeff Gorton from the same post in New York and President John Davidson. (The Fischler Report)
Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich has been suspended a game for cross-checking Caps winger Anthony Mantha. (NHL)
ESPN means business with their new deal with the NHL and they’re showing it with a pursuit of ‘The Great One’ Wayne Gretzky to become part of their broadcast team. (The Athletic)
In non-hockey news, ‘Say Hey!’ and Happy Birthday to the great Willie Mays who tuned 90 on Thursday! (ESPN)
Around the Network
Still lots to play for as the Penguins, Bruins, Islanders and Capitals jockey for playoff position. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Islanders could welcome more than the 1,400 fans currently allowed to Nassau Coliseum for the Playoffs. (NYI Hockey Now)
Boston College’s Spencer Knight off to a redhot start for the Panthers. (Florida Hockey Now)
Flyers out of answers for the season. (Philly Hockey Now)
Thoughts on a rebuild. (San Jose Hockey Now)