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The Flyers took an early lead on Voracek’s power

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Drew Doughty watched other playoff games this season and couldn’t believe that George Parros Adidas Carter Hutton Jersey , the NHL’s discipline czar, had suspended him for a head shot.”I saw four hits last night that deserved more than that,” the Los Angeles Kings defenseman said.Doughty’s one-game suspension was the first of several in the first round for a hit to the head of an opponent. Toronto’s Nazem Kadri got three games and Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey and Nashville’s Ryan Hartman got one game each. Washington’s Tom Wilson and Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov were among those who got off without significant punishment.The criticism, from Columbus to Colorado and from New Jersey to Los Angeles, was loud enough that the NHL’s department of player safety put out a video last week explaining its reasoning for suspending Doughty and Hartman but not Kucherov or Predators center Ryan Johansen.”The illegal check to the head rule is often misunderstood or misstated,” the league said in the video. ”Illegal checks to the head and legal full body hits often look similar at first glance because the difference between legal and illegal can be a matter of inches in a sport that moves fast.”Discontent over the goalie interference rule has been grabbing headlines for weeks, but the head shot discussion carries far more serious implications for a league still grappling with how best to protect its players. What’s acceptable has evolved from the early days of hockey through Scott Stevens’ then-legal crushing blow on Eric Lindros in 2000 to today, where checks to the head are parsed frame-by-frame to determine if a line was crossed. The NHL, too, is still facing a federal class-action concussion lawsuit filed by former players alleging it failed to warn them about the health risks associated with head injuries.Meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors last week, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman insisted there was nothing new about the subject. Asked about player safety, Bettman said Parros is off to good start in the former enforcer’s first season as vice president of player safety. He said he is proud of player safety’s transparency in the form of videos detailing the reasons for suspending a player.”Sometimes we get accused of splitting hairs Adidas Conor Sheary Jersey , but that’s exactly what they have to do,” Bettman said. ”I think he’s reached the appropriate conclusion when it’s been a hockey play that doesn’t transcend the rules and I think he’s been appropriately punitive in cases where it warranted it. There’s never going to be a shortage of critics of what they do.”Doughty, a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, said he hit Vegas forward William Carrier’s shoulder first before his head in Game 1. Kings coach John Stevens added: ”As long as I’m on the earth, I’m going to agree to disagree with that decision.”The league video emphasized that an illegal check to the head concerns a player’s head being the main point of contact, not the first point of contact. Based on experience, the league said, a player’s head snapping back on these kinds of hits indicates significant head contact.Los Angeles general manager Rob Blake, who worked under Brendan Shanahan in the department of player safety from 2010-2013, said it’s a tough job while at the same time reiterating the organization was unhappy with the suspension of Doughty. Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen was upset forward Josh Anderson was ejected from Game 1 against Washington for boarding Michal Kempny and called a hit to the head of Alexander Wennberg from Washington’s Tom Wilson that got only a minor penalty ”dangerous.”Wilson was not given a hearing or suspended. Wennberg missed Games 2, 3 and 4 and the hit was not included in the NHL’s explanation video.Columbus coach John Tortorella didn’t want to weigh in on the lack of punishment for Wilson, a common refrain across the NHL because nothing can be done after the fact. For a more specific reason Adidas Matt Hunwick Jersey , Bettman doesn’t weigh in on suspensions because any appeals go to him. He does look at suspension videos before they are issued.”I watch as a fan to make sure they make sense,” Bettman said. ”I want to make sure the videos we send out are clear.””I think player safety as a whole has done an extraordinarily good job of changing the culture,” Bettman said.” We have players not making certain types of hits anymore. We have players who are more accountable for their conduct and understand it and I believe that they’ve been consistent.”—AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, and Sports Deputy Editor for Newsgathering Howie Rumberg in New York contributed. LAS VEGAS (AP) Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant for months talked about his team’s hard work, ability to battle and their devotion to playing a full ”200 feet of hockey.”In pockets of Game 2 in the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, the Golden Knights were surprisingly outworked, outbattled and outhustled in losing 3-2 to the Washington Capitals. Game 3 is Saturday night in Washington and Vegas is going to need to up the energy level even further in a frantic series with scoring chances galore.Vegas outshot the Capitals 39-26, but the hustle stats in Game 2 went to Washington, which handed the expansion club just its second home loss of the postseason. Washington had 18 blocked shots to eight for Vegas, helping goaltender Braden Holtby turn things around. He allowed five goals in the opener but was sublime in Game 2 as he made 37 saves – none bigger than stopping Alex Tuch with the paddle of his stick in a sprawling move with just 1:59 left.Washington also showed its mettle on the penalty kill, limiting the Golden Knights to a single goal in four attempts – including a 5-on-3 on the third period.”You’ve got to try and capitalize on those Adidas Jeff Skinner Jersey ,” Vegas defenseman Luca Sbisa said. ”It’s just one of those games, even at the end, with Tuchy having that chance. Most of times it goes in. It’s just one of those games.”And while Washington outhit the Golden Knights, 46-39, it was some of Vegas’ bigger hits that ignited the Capitals in the second period.Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb hammered Washington’s first-line forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, sending him to the dressing room with a little more than five minutes left in the first period. He didn’t return.Washington coach Barry Trotz didn’t provide an update on his star afterward, but said it was the key moment in the game for his team.”It galvanized us as a group, I think it might be a turning point for us,” Trotz said.With Kuznetsov out, Trotz added Nicklas Backstrom to his top line with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. And 5:38 into the second period, with the game tied at 1-all and the Capitals on a power play, Ovechkin scored his first career Stanley Cup Final goal to give the Capitals the lead.”I think they got energy from that Adidas Tage Thompson Jersey , I think they were pissed off, that’s how sports go,” Vegas forward Erik Haula said. ”You see one of your best players go down and you’re pissed off, that’s part of it. It’s no excuse for us. Bottom line is we were right in that game I think, it was right there for us to grab, we just came short.”Vegas unraveled and gave up more uncharacteristic chances in front of Marc-Andre Fleury, who has yet to lose consecutive games this postseason. The Golden Knights also had 12 turnovers compared to Washington’s four.”We shot ourselves in the foot a few times with some turnovers,” Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt said. ”At the end of the day you really have got to see where your game is at. If you look at it as a whole, we played really well for parts of the first period and we got caught up in the transition game in the second period – and that’s not the game we want to play.”Instead, Washington fed off the momentum and dictated the tempo, and a little less than four minutes after Ovechkin scored, Brooks Orpik broke a 220-game goal drought with the eventual game winner. It was his first goal since Feb. 26 Adidas Rasmus Andersson Jersey , 2016.”I haven’t yelled that loud for someone to score a goal since Ovi scored one of his milestones,” Washington forward T.J. Oshie said.Though the Golden Knights outshot Washington 15-6 in the third period, the Capitals skated faster, competed better, worked harder and played smarter to steal home-ice advantage with their first-ever Final win. The Capitals return to Capital One Arena, where they have just a 4-5 record in the postseason. Vegas is 6-2 on the road in the playoffs.—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals

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