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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hockey

Roman Polak continues to have rough series for Sharks

Roman Polak

Roman Polak continues to have a rough series for the San Jose Sharks.

The defenseman was partially responsible for the first goal scored by Pittsburgh in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday as Ben Lovejoy’s shot deflected off him and made its way past Martin Jones to put the Penguins up 1-0.

You may also recall that Polak made a critical error in Game 2 as well. During the Sharks’ Game 2 loss in Pittsburgh, Polak’s turnover in San Jose’s zone resulted in a goal for Phil Kessel:

That was Pittsburgh’s only goal until overtime of Game 2. His +- has been a -3 over the past four games.

Logan Couture says everyone cheats on faceoffs

Logan Couture

Logan Couture is trying to backtrack somewhat after making controversial comments that were viewed as bitterness coming from a sore loser.

Following the San Jose Sharks’ 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, Couture vented that Sidney Crosby cheats on faceoffs. Crosby of course won a faceoff that led to the winning goal. Now Couture says he and pretty much everyone else tries to cheat on faceoffs.

“Everyone cheats on faceoffs,” Couture said Friday. “I cheat, Jumbo cheats. That’s how you try to win draws. He’s one of the best at it. He wins a lot of faceoffs.”

Crosby responded and said he doesn’t think he does anything different from what others do.

“I think we are all doing the same thing in the faceoff circle,” Crosby said.

Crosby has enjoyed extra success on faceoffs against the Sharks. He has won 23 of 40 (65 percent) through two games, which is up from his regular season rate.

Couture is at least trying to minimize the damage of his original comments.

Logan Couture: Sidney Crosby is a ‘cheater’ on faceoffs

Logan Couture

Sidney Crosby is facing an accusation of being a “cheater” on faceoffs from one of his Stanley Cup opponents.

Crosby helped set up the winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday when he won a faceoff and passed to Kris Letang, who set up Conor Sheary for the goal.

Entering Wednesday, Crosby was winning 51.7 percent of his faceoffs this postseason. That’s not a staggering amount, but his faceoff win to set up Sheary’s goal had San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture steamed. After the game, Couture called Crosby a cheater on faceoffs.

Crosby won 17 of 24 (70.8 percent) faceoffs Wednesday, while Couture was 6-for-15 (40 percent). His frustration is understandable given the circumstances and lack of success in Game 2, but he’s probably focusing on the wrong thing.

While Crosby’s reputation probably helps him not get calls from referees, there are many more players better than him on faceoffs, including his own teammate, Matt Cullen.

PK Subban will give Jose Bautista ticket to Raptors game for a bat flip

Jose Bautista bat flip

Jose Bautista’s flip against the Rangers during last year’s playoffs was so epic that he’s now being asked to bat flip in exchange for goods.

The Blue Jays began a weekend series against the Red Sox on Friday but did so without one of their best players. Bautista served the one-game suspension handed down as a result of the brawl against the Rangers earlier this month.

With the Raptors and Cavaliers playing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Toronto on Friday, and Bautista needing something to do, the Jays right fielder reached out to P.K. Subban in hopes of securing a ticket.

The Canadiens defenseman seemed willing to part with the ticket, for a small favor. Subban wanted Bautista to do a bat flip during Saturday’s game. Bautista declined because, well, he doesn’t want to be suspended again.

It’s tough to blame Bautista for turning down the offer, even if it means not being at Air Canada Centre to see what should be a good playoff game in person. I guess you can’t fault Subban for trying either. Since it doesn’t appear Bautista will be bat flipping anytime soon, you can re-watch the greatest one ever here.

Jonathan Drouin offsides on goal as Penguins win challenge

Jonathan Drouin offsides

Is there anything more frustrating than scoring a goal in front of your home crowd to put your team up 1-0 in the playoffs and seeing it wiped off the board due to an offsides call? That’s what happened with Jonathan Drouin and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

During Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Drouin scored for what would have been the first goal of the game. With his team up 3-2 in the series, taking a 1-0 lead would have had the Lightning well on its way to reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. But the goal was erased after the Penguins challenged and the officials determined Drouin was offsides.

Yes, Drouin was offsides on the play, but you hate to see a goal erased due to a matter of inches on something seemingly so innocent and having so little to do with the actual goal.

Georges Laraque helps detain suspect in attempted kidnapping

Georges-Laraque

An attempted kidnapper was subdued and arrested in a Montreal park over the weekend, and former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque helped bring the 24-year-old man into custody.

According to CBC News, a 7-year-old girl was in Jeanne-Mance Park with her parents when a man allegedly grabbed her and started to walk away. Family members tackled the man before he got far, and several people who were playing in a charity baseball game nearby rushed over to see what had happened.

One of them was Laraque, and he helped watch over the attempted kidnapper until police arrived.

“I just wanted to make sure that if he got up that I was going to tackle him right away,” the former Canadiens forward said.

Laraque was one of more than 20 people who surrounded the suspect. He said the incident was “crazy” and really hit home for him as a father.

“I have twins and this could happen to anyone,” Laraque said. “We’ve heard stories of a child being abducted and to see [something] like that — it’s pretty scary.”

We’ve heard uplifting stories before about athletes helping to take down criminals, but this one is a bit more disturbing than most. We’re glad there were enough people watching over the little girl to avoid a crisis.

Tampa radio show gives out free Lightning tattoos to fans

lightning-tattoo

The NHL Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins has gotten pretty serious. How serious? Controversies over rally towels, traitorous tourism bureaus, and mayoral candidates getting tattoos.

How did this start? With Elliott Falcione, a Pittsburgh transplant living in Bradenton who heads up the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Said bureau sponsored the towels given out in Pittsburgh at Friday night’s Game One.

Naturally, when word of this got back to Florida, folks weren’t happy, and Falcione’s mea culpa wasn’t enough. It led to the latest promotion: 102.5 The Bone’s “The Mike Calta Show” linked up with an area tattoo parlor and, on Wednesday morning, offered free Lightning tattoos to anyone who showed up.

Over 150 people took advantage of the offer, including host Calta and Bradenton mayoral candidate Warren Merriman. You can see video of the pair getting their tattoos here.

Don’t ever try to claim that Tampa isn’t into their hockey. If the Lightning go on to win the Stanley Cup, maybe they can immortalize that moment in ink as well, just like this fan did with another iconic sporting moment.