NHL Postseason Morning Coffee Headlines – Friday, May 3, 2013.

Bloody hit on Lars Eller overshadows Senators win over Canadiens, Blues take two-game series lead over the Kings, Red Wings even their series with the Ducks, Capitals down the Rangers, and more.

Lars Eller stretchered off the ice during Game One of Canadiens-Senators series.

Lars Eller stretchered off the ice during Game One of Canadiens-Senators series.

OTTAWA CITIZEN/MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Ottawa Senators scored three unanswered third period goals and Craig Anderson made 48 saves to down the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 and grab a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven conference quarterfinal.

Overshadowing the victory and Anderson’s stellar performance, however, was a blindside hit by Senators defenseman Eric Gryba on Canadiens forward Lars Eller which left Eller a bloody mess on the ice.  Gryba received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, and faces a disciplinary hearing later today. The two clubs face each other again tonight for Game 2 in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Viewing the replays, while Gryba’s hit is a blindside on Eller, he didn’t target the latter’s head; rather, there was incidental contact with Eller’s head, as Gryba’s intent appears to be the body of the Habs forward. Eller suffered his horrific injuries (concussion, broken nose, facial and dental fractures) striking the ice face-first. It remains to be seen how long Eller will be sidelined, but I’m guessing he’s out for at least the rest of this series. His absence is also a serious blow for the Canadiens, as he was their best center and had been enjoying a breakthrough season.

STLTODAY.COM/LOS ANGELES TIMES: Barrett Jackman’s goal with less than a minute remaining in the game lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the LA Kings and a 2-0 series lead heading to Los Angeles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings captain Dustin Brown is fortunate he didn’t injure Blues forward Jaden Schwartz with this hit  or he would’ve been facing his second suspension in as many weeks. That would’ve further depleted the Kings sputtering offense, which has managed only two goals in this series thus far.

DETROIT NEWS/LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Detroit Red Wings blew a four-goal lead, but rookie Gustav Nyquist’s overtime goal (his first career NHL playoff goal) lifted the Wings to a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks, knotting their series at a game apiece as the series shifts to Detroit.

WASHINGTON POST/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Capitals scored three unanswered goals in the second period overcoming an early 1-0 deficit to down the NY Rangers  3-1 and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven conference quarterfinal. Braden Holtby made 35 saves for the win. The Rangers got a bit of good news, as  playing in last night’s game means forward Mats Zuccarello becomes a restricted free agent this summer, rather than an unrestricted free agent.

TSN.CA: The NHL has suspended Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference one game for his hit to the head (elbow) of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski on Wednesday.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skated with regular linemates Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on Thursday, but stil has no timetable for his return to game action. The Penguins face off against the NY Islanders tonight in Game Two of their conference quarterfinal

MERCURYNEWS.COM: It appears the mysterious injury sidelining San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat may have been a sneaky spear to the groin by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa during Game One of their conference quarterfinal series.

CSNCHICAGO.COM: Ray Emery and Dave Bolland remain sidelined as the Blackhawks face off tonight against the Minnesota Wild in Game Two of their conference quarterfinal.

5 Comments

  1. Big-time Habs fan here and have to agree – the Eller injury was the result of horrific luck, not any bad hit. I hope Gryba isn’t suspended.

    Anyone else notice how average (or sub-par!) Price looked? I’d say it’s too early to get worried… if Price had won a playoff series in the last 5 years.

    • I’ve been a long time admirer of the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge and one thing that continues to amaze me is how the Montreal fan’s have been able and so good at intimidating the referee’s during games at both the Forum and now the Bell Centre. I get last nights call, player down with plenty of blood etc. Even though it shouldn’t have been a penalty, not calling something might have caused a riot! What did catch my surprise was the referee’s calling an additional 2 minute penalty during the major providing a 5 on 3. This should have gift wrapped the game for Montreal but obviously didn’t.
      In a very twisted way Price is lucky that the attention isn’t all on him today. He was clearly not the better of the two goalies last night.

  2. Blindside hit? Really? Almost everyone is saying it was a clean hit except the Mtl media and the players.

    It was a suicide pass. McLean said that after the game and said he hopes Eller is okay.

    Then Prust opens his yap today with rude remarks to McLean. That crosses the line.

    You are a hypocrite Mr. Prust. I mean it’s not like you were suspended for a blindside, in the back of the neck, elbow to Volchenkov last season or anything. You do hard hits as well…. so you don’t have the right to ridicule anybody… or threaten Gryba like you did today…

    My guess is the Habs target Anderson & Karlsson tonight to get them both out of the game…

    If Eller had fallen on his side there would not be the talk today of the hit as much. I feel really bad that he was injured the way he was.

    But if that hit is suspended.. then they might as well outlaw any open ice hit in the NHL…

    • Therrien and others in the Montreal media are ranting about players being in a “vulnerable” position, and thus the league should get these types of hits out of the game, but how can you deliver a clean hit if the player isn’t somewhat vulnerable? Head down, admiring the pass, looking back to receive a pass, all examples of varying degrees of vulnerability. Any NHL player will easily avoid a prospective check if they see or know it’s coming. What does Therrien propose, eye-to-eye contact with the opposing player before you step into him, some kind of acknowledgement that it’s okay to finish the check? Next stop, non-contact pro hockey!

      • I couldn’t agree more. Shanahan’s description of the suspension is a joke. So here’s where we’re at: don’t hit a player who’s smaller than you because there’s a risk of hitting his head; if a player is carrying the puck with his head down don’t get in his way or risk a penalty or worse; if a player is seriously injured on a play the last person to touch him, whether it was accidental or otherwise, risks a game suspension or worse. These are Swiss league rules and simply put will change the way hockey is played in the NHL. I can see it now, certain players deliberately rolling around the ice after being hit while holding their melons in hope of drawing a penalty. I for one will stop watching if that’s the case. Seen enough of it with Euro football (soccer).