The republican party refuses to recognize what the Affordable Care Act has meant to millions of Americans. They spread lies and false information, fear-mongering their way into killing it.
-If the addition of long-time nemesis Steve Downie to the Pittsburgh Penguins was a "What!?" moment, the addition of part-time pest Maxim Lapierre is more of a "Huh?" moment.
-Lapierre was a significant part of the 2009-10 Canadiens team which upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins during an Eastern Conference semifinal series. He was a force in a physical sense and agitated some of the Penguins' best players into being ineffective. Since then, Lapierre has bounced around the league with the Ducks, Canucks and Blues. Like Downie, Lapierre has brought tons of energy but it seems like his energy tires out in each of his stops.
-With the trade and the prospect for a new contract this summer, we would expect Lapierre to have a fresh spark with his new team.
-Lapierre is a temporary solution to a mostly inert fourth line. He will be a - for lack of a better non-Rated R word - jerk. He will push the boundaries of clean play. Sometimes, he'll flat-out violate those boundaries.
-According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Lapierre was on a line with Ryan Reaves and Steve Ott. Head coach Ken Hitchcock didn't need three players who play a north-south forechecking game on that line. They wanted a player in Goc who was more of of a stay at home player.
-This certainly seems like a deal which could benefit each player.
-According to the team's Web site the Penguins' lines in warmups were:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - David Perron
Beau Bennett - Brandon Sutter - Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling - Maxim Lapierre - Steve Downie
Zach Sill - Andrew Ebbett - Craig Adams
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Christian Ehrhoff - Robert Bortuzzo
Rob Scuderi - Simon Despres
-Lapierre and Downie on the same line? Okay.
-Lapierre will wear No. 40. The previous No. 40s in Penguins history:
Frank Pietrangelo, Patrick Lalime, Andy Chiodo, Alexander Pechurskiy, Nick Drazenovic.
-We'll go with Frank Pietrangelo - by a hair over Lalime - as the best No. 40.
-The NHL released its explanatory video for the Zac Rinaldo-Kris Letang hit today. There was no mention of his comments following the game where he basically boasted about the hit. We're not sure if the NHL is permitted to officially acknowledge something like a braindead comment when explaining a suspension, but we wouldn't be surprised if those words bought Rinaldo an extra game or two.
-The Penguins' starters are Beau Bennett, Patric Hornqvist, Brandon Sutter, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Mark Arcobello and Scott Harrington.
-The Capitals' starters are Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen and Braden Holtby.
-Their scratches are Andre Burakovsky and Cam Schilling.
19:44: Bennett flings a wrister from the right half wall which Holtby eats up.
18:42: Downie chucks a wrister from the right half wall. Holtby punches it away.
18:35: Lapierre (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) gives big Tom Wilson (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) a thump near the Washington bench. As play moves towards the Penguins' zone, Wilson returns the favor to Lapierre inside the blue line.
18:09: Hillen chucks a wrister from the left point. Fleury eats it up. Wilson gets into it with Downie and Lapierre. Officials separate everyone.
17:15: Off a feed by Crosby, Ehrhoff goes deep into the right circle and lifts a backhander over the net.
15:10: Washington strikes first. With Lapierre centering Sill and Adams, Alzner snaps off a wrister from the left point. Ovechkin estalbis position above the crease on Despres and reaches forward to re-direct the puck under Fleury's blocker. The Penguins were all over the place on that goal. In addition to the fourth line being jumbled, Despres was out with Martin. Alzner and Backstrom get assists. Capitals 1-0.
13:40: Off a feed by Troy Brouwer, Marcus Johansson rips a wrister from the high slot over the cage.
12:49: Off some fancy passing between Crosby and Kunitz, Perron makes a slick move in off the left wing and is enied by Holtby. He draws a delayed penalty in the process.
12:25: Play is halted. John Carlson is called for hooking Perron.
14:21: Scuderi chops a weak slapper from the right point. Holtby steers it away. Crosby, Hornqvist, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
10:52: Eric Fehr forces Despres into a turnover at the Capitals' left point. he pushes it up the right wing and as Ehrhoff closes in, he lifts a wrister over the cage.
10:25: The Carlson minor is killed with little threat from the Penguins.
8:59: Adams and Ebbett crash in trying to jam a puck behind Holtby but no dice.
8:50: Hornqvist whacks a puck from in tight to the left of the crease. Holtby holds it out.
8:21: Brouwer corrals a bouncing puck in the left circle and whacks it on net. Fleury fights it off.
8:06: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Despres whips a wrister from the right point through traffic. Holtby snags it.
7:02: Letang chops a slapper from the right point. Spaling is in front and re-directs it on net. Holtby fights it off.
6:46: Off a neutral zone faceoff, Wilson and Sill fight immediately. Wilson uses his size and reach to immediately get an advantage on Sill (6-foot-0, 202 pounds). Sill just hangs on for dear life as Wilson wings a bunch of wild rights. The fight ends when Sill's jersey slides over his face and Wilson slips.
4:35: Orpik thumps Crosby off the puck in Washington's right wing conrer.
4:28: Perron chucks a wrister from the left wing. Holtby knocks it down but allows a rebound in the slot. Crosby dives to swat it on net. Holtby eats it up.
4:15: HUGE save. Taking a touch pass in the neutral zone from Jason Chimera, Michael Latta splits Despres and Scuderi and attacks the net. He draws Fleury to the left of the crease and tries to tuck in a backhander but Fleury is able to kick it out. What a move by Latta and what a save by Fleury.
3:12: A wrister by Kunitz from the left circle is blocked and hops over the cage.
0:00: End of period. Capitals 1, Penguins 0.
-That was a pretty back and forth period. Each team had some chances. The Capitals converted one.
-Despres had a rough period. He lost a positioning battle with Ovechkin for the game's only goal. Additionally, he had a turnover which led to a short-handed chance for Fehr was was toasted on a five-on-five chance by Latta.
-Lapierre was as advertised in that period. He tried to mix it up and antagonize. Even his smile looked evil. He had 4:05 of ice time on five shifts, one shot and was 1 for 3 in faceoffs.
-The Penguins have an 11-8 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 24-16 lead in attempted shots.
-Scuderi (!?!) leads the game with two shots.
-Orpik leads the game with 8:44 of ice time.
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
-Ehrhoff leads the Penguins with 8:23 of ice time.
-The Capitals have a 14-7 lead in faceoffs (67 percent).
-Backstrom is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Sutter is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-Carlson leads the game with three blocked shots.
19:37: Backstrom fires a wrister from the high slot which catches a stick. Fleury is forced to punch it away.
18:47: Wilson rattles Bortuzzo behind the Penguins' net.
18:20: Laich lifts a wrister from the left wing which Fleury eats up.
18:12: A slapper by Orpik from the left point is blocked.
17:29: A wrister by Crosby from the right circle is blocked by Orpik
17:16: Niskanen corrals a puck in the left circle and whips it on net. Fleury fights it off.
16:42: Bennett whips a wrister from the left circle wide on the near side.
16:23: Niskanen pops a slapper from the right point. It hits Beagle in the back of the right knee. Beagle hobbles to his bench and eventually retreats to the dressing room.
15:37: Ehrhoff air mails a slapper from the neutral zone. Holtby snags it and freezes play.
15:14: Joel Ward (6-foot-1, 226 pounds) pushes a puck up the left wing but is knocked off the puck by a nice body check from Letang (6-foot-0, 201 pounds).
13:46: Mike Green gets loose deep on the right wing and lifts a wrister from the right circle. Fleury eats it up.
13:05: A wrister by Ovechkin off the left wing is blocked.
12:51: Pushing the puck up the left wing, Kunitz lifts a wrister which Holtby eats up.
11:45: Lapierre draws a penalty. Fighting for a puck in the left circle, Hillen lumberjacks the stick out of Lapierre's hands. That's a slashing minor. Hornqvist, Crosby, Perron, Letang and Martin take the ice.
10:20: Ehrhoff cranks a slapper from the left point over the cage.
9:45: The Penguins' power play meekly expires.
7:09: The Capitals get a power play as Perron is called for goaltender interference against Holtby. Spaling, Sutter, Scuderi and Letang take the ice.
5:23: Green chucks a wrister from the left half wall. Fleury snags it.
5:16: Carlson lobs a wrister from the right point. Fleury kicks it out.
5:09: The Capitals' power play doesn't look much better as it expires.
4:52: Off an offensive zone faceoff, Laich lifts a wrister from the left circle. Fleury eats it up.
4:20: Another penalty. Bortuzzo is called for interference after he dropped Ward in the slot. Sutter, Spaling, Scuderi and Letang take the ice.
4:16: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Ovechkin booms a slapper from the right point. Scuderi blocks it.
3:48: Taking a feed at center point, Green rips a wrister. It glances off a body and Fleurys tops it. Brouwer hacks at Fleury's glove hand to pry the puck loose but play is blown dead.
2:59: Brouwer rips a wrister from the right circle which Fleury fights off.
2:41: Ovechkin does what he does best. Backstrom backhands a puck from the right circle to Green at the high slot. Green slides a pass to Ovechkin in the left circle. Ovechkin powers a one-timer right by the blocker of Fleury on the near side. What a blast. Green and Backstrom get assists. Capitals 2-0.
1:06: Orpik has a wrister from the left point blocked in front.
0:13: Niskanen chops a shot from the right point wide to the far side.
0:00: End of period. Capitals 2, Penguins 0.
-The Penguins just looked dead that period. They had little signs of life. We're not sure if having games on back-to-back nights have had their impact but it doesn't seem to be an issue for the Capitals.
-The Penguins' power play has been just flat tonight.
-The Capitals lead in shots on net, 22-19.
-The Penguins have a 42-40 lead in attempted shots.
-Ovechkin leads the game with five shots.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with three shots.
-Letang leads the game with 16:05 of ice time.
-Orpik leads the Capitals with 14:42 of ice time.
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
-The Capitals control faceoffs, 26-13 (67 percent).
-Fehr was 10 for 13 (77 percent).
-Sutter was 7 for 13 (54 percent).
-Carlson, Laich and Niskanen each lead the game with three blocked shots.
-Martin and Letang each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-An EN reader spotted a Darius Kasparaitis fan roaming Verizon Center:
16:02: After a stagnant start to the period, Backstrom beat Lapierre on a faceoff in the Penguins' right circle. Ovechkin claims the puck and rips it wide of the cage.
15:30: Jay Beagle has a chance in tight blocked by Lapierre.
15:28: Downie gets away with a slash against Alzner near the Penguins' left point.
12:34: From a bad angle on the left wing, Backstrom lifts a wrister on net. Fleurys snags it.
12:25: After the Penguins ice the puck, Downie mixes it up with Latta and Wilson near Washington's left half wall. Officials break it up.
11:53: Perron rips a wrister from the right circle which Holtby fights off.
11:30: Kunitz is out with with Sutter and Bennett for a neutral zone faceoff.
10:47: Backstrom moves by Scuderi in the left circle and lifts a wrister which Fleury fights off.
9:19: Play is halted as Downie and Latta get tangled up in the Washington zone. They drop their glove and lockout. Both players pretty much wrestle around while trying to land a few rabbit punches. Latta gets his right arm free out of his jersey but doesn't do much with it. Official step in and break it up.
8:58: Game. Set. Match. Letang tries to play a dump-in from his own left wing corner out of danger but loses due in part to a forecheck by Laich. Orpik corrals the puck at the left point and fires it towards the cage. Fleury make the inital save as Fehr and Laich crash in but allows a rebound to the left of the cage. Fehr is able to lift the puck by Fleury's blocker on the near side. That was just hard work by the Capitals' third line. Laich and Orpik get assists. Capitals 3-0.
8:44: Off an offensive zone faceoff wing, Niskanen cranks a slapper from the right point on net. Fleury fights it off.
7:36: The rout is on. With the Penguins getting aggressive and pinching in, Evgeny Kuznetsov creates a two-one-one with Green against Bortuzzo. Kuznetsov pushes the puck up the right wing and deals a pass to Green in the left circle. Green rips a wrister by the glove hand of Fleury on the far side. What a shot. This is getting ugly. Kuznetsov and Johansson get assists. Capitals 4-0.
6:55: Things truly get ugly as Ovechkin and Ehrhoff battle for a puck near the referee's crease and Ovechkin simply throws him to the ice with his right arm. Play is halted as a handful of Penguins jump Ovechkin near the Penguins' bench. Sill seems to be leading the charge. Officials pull the scrum apart as athletic trainer Chris Stewart attends to Ehrhoff who is laying on his stomach. Penalties are doled out. Ovechkin gets roughing and holding minors. Sill gets a roughing minor. The Penguins end up with a ower play. Martin, Letang, Crosby, Hornqvist and Perron take the ice. Ehrhoff heads to the dressing room.
5:44: A wrister by Perron is blocked.
5:23: After Perron and Orpik get tied up at the Washington blue line, play is halted for the Penguins being offside. Crosby gives Orpik a drive-by shoulder to the chest. Orpik looks a little stunned then points at Crosby. Crosby skates to Orpik to explain something. Nothing comes of it.
4:34: The power play is wiped out as Kunits is called for a high stick against Chimera in the Capitals' left circle. We'll see four on four play for 37 seconds.
4:17: Ebbett tries to jam in a puck from the right of the cage. Holtby kicks it out as Orpik washes out Ebbett.
3:19: Niskanen whacks a one-timer from the left circle
3:07: Backstrom fires a one-timer from the right circle. Fleury fights it off.
2:56: Niskanen takes a pass in the left circle, has 48 minutes to operate and rips a low wrister which Fleury's left leg kicks out.
2:45: Fleury is still playing. Off a give-and-go with Backstrom, Green taps a one-touch feed from point blank range above the crease. Fleury kicks out his left leg and makes a great save. Wow.
1:52: A wrister by Scuderi from the left point is blocked.
1:45: Ward is called for tripping Despres. Crosby, Hornqvist, Perron, Martin and Letang take the ice.
0:59: Brouwer pushes a puck up the right wing and is pinned against the boards on a hip check by Letang. Brouwer wrestles him to the ice with a leg sweep. Perron skates back and jumps Brouwer and throws a few uppercuts. A dogpile gathers in the Penguins' right circle. Officials break it up. Perron gets a double minor for roughing as Brouwer gets a single minor for roughing.
0:47: A wrister by Perron from the right wing is
0:32: Carlson booms a slapper from the right circle. Fleury fights it off.
0:03: Sill chucks a wrister from the left point. Holtby kicks it out.
0:00: End of game. Capitals 4, Penguins 0.
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Snow got you down? Pick yourself up with music news, reviews and more:
From Unique at Penn: Vladimir Jurowski thumbs through an Ormandy score http://uniqueatpenn.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/vladimir-jurowski-studies-eugene-ormandys-changes-to-a-rachmaninoff-symphony/
From the Washington Post and the New York Times: Anne Midgette pans Amazon's new show, "Mozart in the Jungle" http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/the-off-pitch-mozart-in-the-jungle-charismatic-acting-conducted-among-cliches/2014/12/22/1cbed300-89aa-11e4-a085-34e9b9f09a58_story.html whereas Zachary Woolfe rather likes it http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/arts/television/mozart-in-the-jungle-an-amazon-series.html
From NPR, a Civil War album from Anonymous 4 http://www.npr.org/2015/01/04/373979156/first-listen-anonymous-4-1865
From the New York Times, a concert hall seeking to bridge a divided Paris http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/arts/music/a-concert-hall-in-paris-aims-to-bridge-divides.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share and http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/16/arts/music/in-paris-a-music-hall-built-for-unity-offers-stirring-first-act.html?partner=socialflow&smid=tw-nytimes
From the L.A. Times, Beethoven's (possible) arrhythmia http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-beethoven-heartbeat-20150108-story.html
From the New York Times, the effect of the encore http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/arts/music/calls-of-encore-bring-surprise-to-classical-music.html?_r=2&referrer&referrer=
From the New York Times Magazine, an interview with Valery Gergiev http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/18/magazine/valery-gergiev-anyone-can-buy-a-ticket.html
From the Guardian, a piano that kind of looks like the Batmobile http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2015/jan/20/boganyi-piano-budapest-sound-beyond-time
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The NHL's Department of Player Safety released its video explaining the eight-game suspension of Flyers center Zac Rinaldo in regards to his hit against Penguins defenseman Kris Letang Dec. 20.
The suspension was announced Monday. Production of the video was delayed due to poor weather on the East Coast earlier this week.
For the video impaired, the video states:
"As the video shows, having pursued a loose puck along the boards, Letang attempts to chip it out of the Pittsburgh zone on his backhand while Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds pinches down the boards to intercept. Approaching from the middle of the ice, Rinaldo strides towards Letang and - seeing only his numbers for some time and distances - launches into a shoulder check that drives Letang's body and into the glass.
This is both charging and boarding.
Is it essential to note that throughout this play, from the moment he gets to the puck until the moment of impact, Letang remains facing the boards. What's more, he does so in a predictable way and for understandable reasons. As a right shot, Letang much face the boards to retrieve and play the puck and once Simmonds blocks his attempt to clear it up the boards, the puck comes back towards Letang giving him no reason to change his posture. It is also important to note that Letang does nothing just prior to or simultaneous with the hit to change his posture and make himself vulnerable. The onus therefore is entirely upon Rinaldo to take an angle of approach that enables him to hit Letang from the front or side or if unable to do that, to avoid contact completely.
Instead, Rinaldo adjusts his path to take a direct angle toward the boards. Then, having seen nothing but Letang's numbers for considerable time and distance, rather than minimizing the impact of his hit, Rinaldo loads up out of a crouch and launches up and into Letang from behind causing the defenseless Letang to crash dangerously into the glass.
-This was both charging and boarding.
-Letang suffered an injury as a result of the hit, let the game, and did not return.
-Rinaldo has been suspended twice and fined twice previously during his 201-game NHL career. As his most recent suspension occurred in April , he is considered a repeat offender under the [collective bargaining agreement]."
The department of player safety has suspended Zac Rinaldo for eight games.
(Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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A preview of the Capitals.
When and where: 8 p.m, EST, Verizon Center.
TV: NBC Sports, SportsNet1, TVA.
Record: 24-14-9, 57 points. The Capitals are in fourth place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division.
Leading Scorer: Center Nicklas Backstrom, 48 points (15 goals, 33 assists).
Last Game: 4-3 road loss to the Blue Jackets last night. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist for the Capitals.
Last Game against the Penguins: 3-0 road win Dec. 27. Goaltender Braden Holtby (right) made 27 saves for the Capitals.
Capitals Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Backstrom. He has a four-game scoring streak.
Ex-Penguins on the Capitals: Defensemen Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and assistant coach Todd Reirden.
Ex-Capitals on the Penguins: Assistant coach Rick Tocchet.
Useless Capitals Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Orpik (2000) is one of four former Penguins first-round picks who have played for the Capitals. The others are defenseman Jamie Heward (1989), right winger Jaromir Jagr (1990) and left winger Greg Polis (1970).
The last time the Capitals played the Penguins, this happened:
Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (22-9-5, 2.31 GAA, .921 SV%) for the Penguins. Braden Holtby (22-10-8, 2.31 GAA, .920 SV%) for the Jets.
Injuries: For the Penguins, center Sidney Crosby ("lower body") is questionable. Right wingers Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), defenseman Olli Maatta (shoulder), center Evgeni Malkin ("lower body") and left winger Blake Comeau (wrist) are on injured reserve. For the Capitals, defensemen John Erskine ("upper body"), Dmitry Orlov (wrist) and left winger Aaron Volpatti (neck) are on injured reserve.
Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins did not hold a morning skate today. Consider this a guess based on their primary lines and defensive pairings last night against the Jets:
14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 39 David Perron
19 Beau Bennett - 16 Brandon Sutter - 72 Patric Hornqvist
26 Mark Arcobello - 13 Nick Spaling - 23 Steve Downie
38 Zach Sill - 40 Maxim Lapierre - 27 Craig Adams
7 Paul Martin – 58 Kris Letang
41 Robert Bortuzzo – 10 Christian Ehrhoff
47 Simon Despres – 4 Rob Scuderi
-The Capitals held an optional skate. Their primary lines and defensive pairings for yesterday's game:
8 Alex Ovechkin – 19 Nicklas Backstrom – 65 Andre Burakovsky
90 Marcus Johansson – 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov – 20 Troy Brouwer
21 Brooks Laich – 16 Eric Fehr – 42 Joel Ward
25 Jason Chimera – 83 Jay Beagle – 43 Tom Wilson
44 Brooks Orpik – 74 John Carlson
27 Karl Alzner – 2 Matt Niskanen
38 Jack Hillen – 52 Mike Green
-Newly acquired Penguins center Maxime Lapierre will wear No. 40. His status for tonight's game is uncertain.
-Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has played in 99 career games.
-“We need to be better. Wake up this morning, frustrated, didn’t sleep well after the loss, but wake up this morning, say we’ve got the Pittsburgh Penguins in our barn tonight. Rivalry night, 8 o’clock game, team that we’re trying to chase, team that we don’t like. Best day of my life so far. Here we go, we’ve got a hockey game to play, a hockey game to win. There should be a lot of intensity in the building tonight to win.” - Capitals center Brooks Laich.
-The referees are Graham Skilliter (No. 24) and Tim Peel (No. 20). The linesmen are Derek Nansen (No. 70) and Andy McElman (No. 90).
-Our live blog begins at approximately 7:45 p.m. Please tune in.
(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)