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Phil Kessel blasted by Maple Leafs fans after tweet about night fishing

Phil-KesselThe Toronto Maple Leafs have made the playoffs just once in the past nine seasons. They lost to the Boston Bruins in the opening round last season and missed the postseason this year with a 38-36-8 record. As you might expect, Maple Leafs fans are getting a bit restless. Many of them decided to take out their frustrations on Phil Kessel Monday night.

While several other NHL teams were battling it out en route to the Stanley Cup, Kessel went night fishing with his buddies. There’s nothing wrong with fishing during the offseason, but Maple Leafs fans pounced all over him for the way he worded his tweet. Next Impulse Sports captured it before Kessel deleted it.

Phil-Kessel-night-fishing

The responses from Toronto fans went something like this.

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Matt Cooke takes out Tyson Barrie’s knee with dirty hit (Video)

Matt-Cooke-knees-Tyson-BarrieStop me if you’ve heard this before — Matt Cooke is facing a possible suspension for a cheap shot he threw on an opposing player. His latest victim is Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with an MCL injury after Cooke took a run at his knee on Monday night.

Cooke tried to hit Barrie well after the puck was gone, and he stuck his knee straight out as Barrie was looking to avoid contact. The end result was a brutal knee-to-knee collision that forced Barrie to leave the game for good. Cooke, a 14-year veteran who is known for being a goon, was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for kneeing.

According to the NHL Player Safety Twitter account, Cooke has been asked to have an in-person hearing with the league for the play. That typically means a suspension of five or more games is on its way, which would not be a surprise considering Cooke’s history of being a dirty player.

The Minnesota Wild went on to win Game 3 to avoid falling into an 0-3 hole. Barrie has emerged as one of the Avalanche’s best puck-moving defenseman this season, so his loss could be huge for this series and beyond.

H/T Eye on Hockey

Lightning lose to Canadiens after controversial goaltender interference call (Video)

The Tampa Bay Lightning desperately needed a win against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday to avoid falling behind 0-3 in their opening round playoff series, but they were unable to get. Thanks in part to a controversial goaltender interference call, Tampa Bay is now one game away from elimination.

It looked like the Lightning had taken a 2-1 lead in the second period when forward Ryan Callahan scored after a series of shots that sent Canadiens goaltender Carey Price scrambling all over the ice. However, an official ruled that a Lightning player had interfered with Price and waved off the goal.

Lightning-goaltender-interference

Lightning center Alex Killorn inadvertently ended up in the net after losing his balance. When he went to make his way back into the play, he barely grazed Price. Apparently the official felt that he made enough contact with Price to affect his ability to make a save. Here is the official rule on goaltender interference, courtesy of Puck Daddy:

69.3 Contact Inside the Goal Crease – If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

The fact that it happened in the crease probably made the call easier. Still, there was no way Price was going to get back into position in time to make that save. Shortly after the call, Steven Stamkos took a knee to the back of the head and had to leave the game. Montreal went on to win 3-2 and may have put an unofficial end to the Lightning’s season.

Zdeno Chara laughs at Brendan Smith during fight (Video)

Zdeno Chara and Brendan Smith play the same position. You wouldn’t know that by looking at the Boston Bruins captain when he almost squared off with Smith on Sunday, but that’s because Chara is a giant.

A scrum broke out during Game 2 of Boston’s opening round playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, and Chara and Smith ended up exchanging a few minor shoves and punches. It was disappointing as far as fights go, but the fact that Chara was laughing in Smith’s face made it hilarious.

Zdeno-Chara-laughing-Brendan-Smith

That was clearly Chara’s way of saying, “You sure you wanna go little guy?” It was a no-win situation for Big Z, as he would have been seen as a bully if he actually dropped the gloves against a player who is seven inches shorter than him. The size difference alone would have made it an impossible fight for Smith to win, but Kudos to him for not punking out. I’m sure Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is glad a linesman eventually got in the way.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has great reaction to winning goal (GIF)

Marc BergevinIf anyone had a better reaction to the Montreal Canadiens’ game-winning goal in overtime of Game 1 in their Eastern Conference playoff series with the Tampa Bay Lightning than GM Marc Bergevin, I’m all ears.

Would you just look at the man’s right hand gyrating? I can’t tell whether that’s his “slap dat a–” motion or if he was showing us how he runs the turntables. It’s like he was in the beginning stages of a Jim Valvano reaction where he was so excited he didn’t know what to do and was just looking for someone to hug.

Below is video of Dale Weise’s goal that gave the Habs a 5-4 overtime win:

Tip via David B.

Flyers make it easy for you to unfriend Rangers fans on Facebook

Flyers-Rangers-fight

The Philadelphia Flyers are set to take on the New York Rangers in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The two teams have been fierce rivals for more than 30 years, and this will be the 11th time they have met in the postseason. In fact, they dislike each other so much that the Flyers think their fans should unfriend Rangers fans on Facebook.

On Monday, the Flyers official Facebook account shared the following status.

Flyers-Facebook-stats

If you have a Facebook account and you click the link they provided, it brings you to a list of your friends who “like” the New York Rangers on Facebook. Pretty clever, eh? This should be a fun series.

H/T Crossing Broad

Justin Johnson knocked out John Scott in fight (GIF)

Justin-Johnson-knocks-out-John-ScottThe NHL season is just about over, but New York Islanders rookie Justin Johnson may have snuck in the knockout of the year on Sunday. The 33-year-old Johnson, who was appearing in just his second NHL game, landed a punch square to the face of Buffalo Sabres forward John Scott.

As you can see, Scott towers over Johnson. He is 6-foot-8 whereas Johnson is just 6-foot-1, but it didn’t seem to matter. The fight looked even at first and Scott landed a couple of shots before Johnson landed and incredible knockout punch that would make any boxing trainer proud.

Talk about making your presence felt.

GIF via @PeteBlackburn