What does Jack Edwards have to be so smug about anyway?

I don’t know if Edwards has a problem with Pat Maroon or just thought he was an easy enough target, being a fourth-line vet that most hockey fans are familiar with given that he’s been on a team that’s appeared in the Stanley Cup final four straight seasons, including with the Blues in 2019 that kneecapped the Bruins. So maybe Bruins fans have it out for Maroon and Edwards thought he would tap into that to try and gain some cred. Seeing as how it was three and a half years ago, it’s more likely that Bruins fans have let all that go.

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You would categorize all of this as a cheapshot, if it could even qualify as so. Maroon may be a large man, but he’s also a professional hockey player in his mid-30s. By definition that puts him in better condition than 98 percent of the population. Who cares what the outer shell might look like if the lungs and muscles contained within can still perform at this level?

This isn’t John Kruk waddling up to the plate in a night game in July. Hockey fans everywhere have mocked any hockey scribe who tried to mock Phil Kessel about his supposed out-of-shape nature, given all the stories we’ve heard from current and former teammates that express just how good of shape Kessel is always in and how loved Kessel is in general. This is the lowest common denominator that Edwards is reaching for, and he’s not even close to it.

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What were Edwards and analyst Andy Brickley’s points? “Boy that guy sure likes to eat, as he skates in his 671st NHL regular season game while I mock his body and eating habits as an addled old man who can barely decode the action in front of me much less describe it to the very audience that’s depending on me to do so?”

Edwards is actually lucky that Maroon didn’t want to make any more light of it than using it as a platform to donate to Tampa Bay Thrives. Which of course only makes Edwards look more petty and stupid than he already did.

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Maybe this is the kind of thing that Bruins fans respond to, but I tend to doubt it. And if it is then they should be as rightly mocked as Edwards is being in the hockey world. There is still room for an opposing player to draw the ire of a fanbase, and for that team’s broadcast to echo that. Hockey is better when it’s passionate. But there is plenty of on-ice material to cause that, or even stuff that’s said in the press. This was a drive-by on Maroon for no reason other than tapioca-brain Edwards thought it was funny. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson by the Bruins moving on from him after this season as play-by-play guy and replacing him with someone who doesn’t sound like he just emerged from a dark room for three days. Should that happen, Edwards may be shocked to find out that Maroon has better things to do than give a shit. 

LA Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers, a surprising move for a player once considered the successor in net to two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick.

Petersen, 28, went on waivers the day after allowing four goals on 16 shots in relief of Quick during a 9-8 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken. Quick was pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots.

Only one NHL goalie has a save percentage lower than Petersen’s .868 this season, Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets with .864. Petersen is 5-3-2 in 10 games with a 3.75 goals-against average in his third full season with the Kings and fifth overall.

L.A. signed Petersen to a three-year, $15 million contract in September 2021, and he figured to take the starting job from Quick, who turns 37 in January and is set to be a free agent after the season. Petersen has two years left on that deal after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5 million.

Ovechkin tops Gretzky for most road goals, Caps beat Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Ovechkin scored twice, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most road goals in NHL history, and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Ovechkin has scored 403 of his 793 career goals away from home. Gretzky holds the overall record with 894.

“It’s always nice when you beat the Great One,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of milestone it is. It’s history.”

Anthony Mantha added a goal and an assist for the Capitals (10-11-3). John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also scored, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots.

Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks (9-11-3), who had won three in a row. Spencer Martin made 23 saves.

“Spencer’s been great for us. He’s probably a bit like the other players tonight. They weren’t ready to play and it showed on the scoreboard,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The 37-year-old Ovechkin nearly netted a hat trick when Vancouver pulled Martin for an extra skater with just over six minutes left, but his rocket of a shot skimmed the outside of the post.

“I think he has 13 goals this year and I want to say like eight or nine have been like a new record. So it’s been cool,” Washington center Dylan Strome said. “Any time you pass Wayne Gretzky in anything, it deserves a standing ovation, which he got.”

Fehervary was the one who sealed it, flipping the puck high into the Canucks zone and into the empty net at 15:57 of the third period.

Ovechkin topped Gretzky 11:52 into the first, firing a one-timer from the left circle past Martin to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal of the season.

“On his second goal, it looks like, `Oh, maybe (Martin) should have had it.’ But I’ve seen (Ovechkin) score 100 goals like that,” said Boudreau, who coached the Capitals from 2007-11. “He’s got a shot that finds its way in.”

The star forward from Russia got his first of the night 5:35 in, taking the puck off the stick of Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes near the net and batting in a quick shot.

“It could have been 6-1 after the first period, quite frankly, with the amount of chances (Washington) had,” Boudreau said.

It was Ovechkin’s 135th game-opening goal, tying Jaromir Jagr for the most in NHL history.

“(Ovechkin) was really good in the first and I thought we were really good in the first so it was nice to get out and get a jump like that,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “He certainly led. We knew we needed to have a good first period, have a good game, and you need your best players to do that.”

Carlson scored the lone goal of the second, chipping in a loose puck from the low hash marks at 18:47 to give Washington a 4-1 cushion.

“It’s frustrating. Because when you lose games, it should never be about your compete level and battle level,” Canucks center J.T. Miller said. “It’s frustrating because they didn’t out-skill us today, they didn’t out-system us. They literally just outbattled us and created their own chances.”

NOTES: Washington’s Lars Eller got his 200th career assist. … Miller had an assist, extending his point streak to nine games (four goals, seven assists). … The Capitals swept the two-game season series. … Vancouver assigned winger Vasily Podkolzin and defenseman Jack Rathbone to the Abbotsford Canucks on Monday, then recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from the American Hockey League club on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Washington: At Seattle on Thursday in the second of a five-game trip.

Vancouver: Host Florida on Thursday in the second of a four-game homestand.

Ovechkin tops Gretzky for most road goals, Capitals beat Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Ovechkin scored twice, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most road goals in NHL history, and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Ovechkin has scored 403 of his 793 career goals away from home. Gretzky holds the overall record with 894.

“It’s always nice when you beat the Great One,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of milestone it is. It’s history.”

Anthony Mantha added a goal and an assist for the Capitals (10-11-3). John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also scored, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots.

Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks (9-11-3), who had won three in a row. Spencer Martin made 23 saves.

“Spencer’s been great for us. He’s probably a bit like the other players tonight. They weren’t ready to play and it showed on the scoreboard,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The 37-year-old Ovechkin nearly netted a hat trick when Vancouver pulled Martin for an extra skater with just over six minutes left, but his rocket of a shot skimmed the outside of the post.

“I think he has 13 goals this year and I want to say like eight or nine have been like a new record. So it’s been cool,” Washington center Dylan Strome said. “Any time you pass Wayne Gretzky in anything, it deserves a standing ovation, which he got.”

Fehervary was the one who sealed it, flipping the puck high into the Canucks zone and into the empty net at 15:57 of the third period.

Ovechkin topped Gretzky 11:52 into the first, firing a one-timer from the left circle past Martin to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal of the season.

“On his second goal, it looks like, `Oh, maybe (Martin) should have had it.’ But I’ve seen (Ovechkin) score 100 goals like that,” said Boudreau, who coached the Capitals from 2007-11. “He’s got a shot that finds its way in.”

The star forward from Russia got his first of the night 5:35 in, taking the puck off the stick of Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes near the net and batting in a quick shot.

“It could have been 6-1 after the first period, quite frankly, with the amount of chances (Washington) had,” Boudreau said.

It was Ovechkin’s 135th game-opening goal, tying Jaromir Jagr for the most in NHL history.

“(Ovechkin) was really good in the first and I thought we were really good in the first so it was nice to get out and get a jump like that,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “He certainly led. We knew we needed to have a good first period, have a good game, and you need your best players to do that.”

Carlson scored the lone goal of the second, chipping in a loose puck from the low hash marks at 18:47 to give Washington a 4-1 cushion.

“It’s frustrating. Because when you lose games, it should never be about your compete level and battle level,” Canucks center J.T. Miller said. “It’s frustrating because they didn’t out-skill us today, they didn’t out-system us. They literally just outbattled us and created their own chances.”

NOTES: Washington’s Lars Eller got his 200th career assist. … Miller had an assist, extending his point streak to nine games (four goals, seven assists). … The Capitals swept the two-game season series. … Vancouver assigned winger Vasily Podkolzin and defenseman Jack Rathbone to the Abbotsford Canucks on Monday, then recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from the American Hockey League club on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Washington: At Seattle on Thursday in the second of a five-game trip.

Vancouver: Host Florida on Thursday in the second of a four-game homestand.

Deal for Coyotes’ proposed arena approved by Tempe council

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Tempe City Council unanimously approved a proposal for a new Arizona Coyotes arena and entertainment district, clearing the way for a public vote on the project next year.

The City Council approved the proposal 7-0 after a lengthy meeting that included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The $2.1 billion project would include a 16,000-seat arena, practice rink, 1,600 apartments, two hotels and a theater. Approval of the project was the final step before it goes to referendum on May 16.

The team is currently playing at Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, by far the NHL’s smallest arena.

The Coyotes have been searching for a permanent home since the city of Glendale pulled out of a multimillion-dollar lease at Gila River Arena. Arizona had been playing on an annual lease until Glendale said it would not be renewed for the 2022-23 season.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The best from the start

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Rare is the player you know is among the greats from the moment they start. You may know, or strongly suspect, that a rookie or second-year player could grow into a legend, if things go right. You wait for the dips, the learning curves, no matter how much you expect that player to overcome those and then burst out. “When he puts it all together.”

But there are some who are fully assembled as soon as they arrive, and Makar is one of the very few. He showed up in the middle of the 2019 playoffs and immediately looked like the best player on the ice. Makar began weaving in and out of traffic in all three zones, opening up lanes in the offensive zone with his unseen agility, and creating chaos around the net with a wrister that always seems to get through to the crease no matter the tightness of the window to shoot through. There was little question that he was something truly different.

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Makar’s metrics are down a bit this season, though still glittering, as the Avs have had to use him more in the defensive zone more than they have before. The percentage of his shifts that start in the offensive zone so far this season is down seven percent, and his defensive zone shifts are up the same. Hasn’t really stopped him from flipping the ice.


Bellingham’s Palace

Makar wasn’t the only alien on display yesterday accomplishing something on the fields where people play yesterday. England’s Jude Bellingham became the second teenager ever to score for England in a World Cup, and when he wasn’t doing that he was simply dominating the game from all parts. Midfield is supposed to be just as hard to learn as defense is in hockey, and it has more facets. And yet Bellingham has already mastered them all at just 19. He can shield a defense, he can pass from deep to release forwards, he can be the late man in the box to score, whatever. And he did it all against Iran.

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A goal for you.

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Or maybe you need him releasing a perfect through ball on the stretch to set up England’s last goal.

Bellingham’s price tag seemingly goes up every week, and turning over opponents in the World Cup will only expedite that process. He’s been so good from jump street that his first club, Birmingham City, retired his number at the age of 17, when he left for Dortmund.

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It’s rare that historic greatness slaps you about the face the first time you see it, but yesterday was one of those days where you can’t miss it.


Devilish

Let’s cap things off with Tomas Tatar’s goal to seal the New Jersey Devils’ 13th win in a row:

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It’s not often in hockey a player gets to try the Ichiro, chipping the puck over the goalie with the puck in midair. Tatar even shortened up like there were two strikes. Except he did it on skates.

Bergeron gets 1,000th point, streaking Bruins beat Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. – Patrice Bergeron got his 1,000th career point with a second-period assist and the Boston Bruins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 Monday night for their seventh straight win.

Bergeron became the fourth Boston player and 94th in NHL history to reach the milestone with the second assist on Brad Marchand‘s goal at 15:08 that gave the Bruins a 4-1 lead.

Marchand immediately pointed at Bergeron after scoring his goal and the Boston bench emptied to celebrate with the 37-year-old center along the boards.

The other Boston players to reach 1,000 points are Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012), who was at the game as a Lightning radio broadcaster. Bergeron is the 41st player to have 1,000 points with one franchise.

David Krejci, Nick Foligno, Charlie Coyle and David Pastrnak also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 17-2. Linus Ullmark made 32 saves.

Boston needs two wins to match the 1929-30 Bruins squad that started the season a franchise-best 19-2.

Nick Paul scored twice and Rudolfs Balcers had the other Lightning goal. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 shots.

Tampa Bay had won four in a row.

Foligno and Coyle scored 31 seconds apart in the second to put Boston up 3-1.

Foligno, who took a shot off the chin during the morning skate, had a rebound power-play goal at 5:07.

Coyle was credited with his in-close goal after a video review. It was originally called no-goal when the referees ruled the net had come loose before the puck cleared the goal-line.

Pastrnak, on the power play, and Balcers traded goals 11 seconds apart early in the third before Paul’s man-advantage goal made it 5-3 at 10:38.

Pastrnak has 13 goals in 15 games against Vasilevskiy, and extended his point streak to seven games (four goals, 10 points).

Paul and Krejci had first-period goals. Krejci has four goals during a three-game goal streak.

Tampa Bay outshot 9-0 over the first eight minutes of the game.

TEAMMATE HIT

Boston’s David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk collided in the offensive zone and wound up on the ice during late first-period power play. DeBrusk skated to the bench afterwards but was OK and finished with two asists.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Bruins: C Trent Frederic left with an upper-body injury.

Lightning: C Ross Colton (upper body) was scratched.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Play Wednesday night at Florida.

Lightning: Host St. Louis on Friday night.

Bruins hire firm to review player vetting process

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins have hired a law firm led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review their player vetting process after signing prospect Mitchell Miller and then rescinding his contract offer.

The team announced it retained Lynch of the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an independent review of the process. Miller, who was convicted of assault in 2016 for bullying a Black classmate with developmental disabilities in middle school, signed an entry-level deal with Boston this month even though the Arizona Coyotes previously relinquished their rights to him after drafting him in 2020.

The Bruins rescinded Miller’s contract offer after facing harsh criticism around the hockey community and from players currently in the NHL. In their latest statement, they pledged to cooperate with Lynch’s investigation and publicly disclose the results of the review when completed.

“We recently fell short of our high standards and disappointed both ourselves and many in our community,” the Bruins said. “Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that our values are reflected in everything we do as an organization, including our process for vetting future players.”

Bruins President Cam Neely said the team “dropped the ball” in its vetting process in the aftermath of the signing and rescinding fiasco, which still has multiple ways it could get worked out since Miller is technically still under contract and part of the organization until it’s terminated or bought out or there’s a settlement.

Neely said in a statement the Bruins thought Miller’s conduct was an isolated incident and that the team reversed course based on new information – particularly that the team hadn’t spoken to victim Isaiah Meyer-Crothers or his family.

Neely met with Miller, agent Eustace King and Miller’s mother prior to signing him. Neely said he shouldn’t have assumed the vetting process also included a meeting with Meyer-Crothers’ family. Asked why that didn’t happen, Neely said: “It’s a great question. Something I need to find out.”

After the Bruins announced the signing of Miller, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the 20-year-old defenseman would not currently be eligible to play in the league without major changes. Boston players voiced opposition to adding Miller, with veteran forward Nick Foligno saying it was “hard to swallow.”

In a statement released by the Hockey Diversity Alliance, Meyer-Crothers said he hasn’t seen any proof Miller has changed his ways. Meyer-Crothers said Miller reached out by text to apologize and to say he was doing community work to help young people.

Lynch was already involved in another high-profile sports matter relating to race. The NFL in February hired her and her firm to defend it and its teams in the race discrimination lawsuit brought by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

The Bruins said retaining Lynch “will help us ensure that our process going forward reflects our core values.”

Drake may have lost a couple of big bets on Saturday

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Drake has not been shy about placing bets, whether it’s at casinos or with other entertainers. He lost $60,000 to French Montana in 2016 when the Cleveland Cavaliers upset the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, and won six figures off of Gucci Mane when taking his hometown Toronta Raptors to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks.

He’ll still take a bet with his celebrity friends, but much of his wagering these days is done on an online crypto currency gambling platform. Stake announced a partnership with Drake in March, and that he had been using the platform for some time.

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Through Stake, Drake has been dropping large amounts of money on European soccer matches, F1 races, and took in over $1 million in crypto winnings with bets that he placed on the Super Bowl in February. In May, he posted that he won $2.6 million on a three-leg parlay on some NBA and NHL Game 7s.

Stake, however, has been under some scrutiny. The Observer used a VPN to create and account place crypto wagers. It is illegal to place crypto wagers in Europe, and the Observer made the account after Stake claimed that it would be extremely difficult to use a VPN to bypass regulations. The platform pours a great deal of money into advertising in the UK, knowing that its citizens cannot place a wager on their site just by simply logging on.

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Also, even though Drake placed a massive wager, cryptocurrency is in quite a questionable place following the events of last week. The world’s second-largest crypto exchange, FTX, has filed for bankruptcy. After one season holding the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s arena, the franchise has ended its business relationship with FTX. The $135 million deal that was signed was supposed to be for 19 years.

Drake may have actually lost in a major way twice on Saturday. Once when the referee stopped Adesanya’s championship fight, and again with the crypto market took a massive hit, leaving a lot of questions surrounding the industry.