It’s time for another edition of the NHL three stars and three bums of the week, ranging from the games that took place between Monday, March 19 and Sunday, March 25.
The past week featured a trio of Penguins that lit up the scoresheet, a superstar that has finally returned to form in Washington and two elbowing suspensions along with a “Wild” Facebook faux pas on the bums’ side.
In case you haven’t noticed already, I’ll be alternating with fellow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Andrew Eide in terms of which member of the three stars, three bums crew publishes this weekly list.
I hope you enjoy the March 26 edition. Feel free to let your opinions be known in the comments section below.
There were a few members of the Pittsburgh Penguins that could have ranked among the three stars last week. Evgeni Malkin continues to put up MVP-like numbers and Sidney Crosby has been racking up the assists since his return from the injured list.
However, the best Penguin from last week was the other forward that has been lighting it up this season, James Neal.
The highlight of the week for Neal was his hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets last Tuesday. In total, Neal produced eight points and was a plus-five on the week.
For his All-Star numbers, Neal is the third star of the week.
Four games, four wins and just five goals against are the reasons why Ryan Miller is the second star of the week.
Miller is the biggest reason why the Sabres have turned their season around and are pushing for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. His 34-save shutout over the Montreal Canadiens was surely the highlight of last week, not to mention his stellar performance at Madison Square Garden against the league-leading New York Rangers.
For keeping his team in the playoff hunt and being easily the best goaltender over the past week, Miller is our second star of the week.
The Washington Capitals finished the week with a 2-0-2 record and Alexander Ovechkin scored goals in all of those four games. Ovechkin is now on a five-game goal-scoring streak and racked up a total of six goals and seven points during the Capitals' four games last week.
He finally seems to have found the deadly scoring touch that has eluded him for most of the season, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Capitals, as they’re back in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
For scoring at an even better rate than he was during his back-to-back MVP seasons, Ovechkin is our first star of the week.
It may seem odd to see a generally classy player like Shane Doan on a list involving the bums of the week, but that’s what happens when you get suspended for delivering a vicious elbow to the head of a fellow NHL player.
Last Tuesday, Doan leveled Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn with a cheap elbow as the two players skated by each other. Doan clearly stuck his elbow out intentionally in order to hit Benn’s face, which is exactly why the NHL suspended him for three games.
For his actions during his only game of the week, Doan is the third bum of the week.
The only thing worse than a three-game suspension for delivering a vicious elbow is a five-game suspension for delivering a vicious elbow.
That’s what happened to Duncan Keith after he hammered Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin with what appeared to be a premeditated elbow. Sedin suffered a concussion on the play.
The reason it may have been premediated is because Sedin delivered a high, but fairly clean, shoulder check to Keith just a few minutes earlier.
Keith received a five-game suspension from NHL disciplinary sheriff Brendan Shanahan, and many fans and media members thought the length of the suspension was at the low end of the scale for a play like that.
This may have something to do with the fact that Keith, much like Doan, is generally a clean player and is not a repeat offender of such hits. However, last week he disgraced himself and is our second bum of the week as a result.
After a 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks last Tuesday, the Minnesota Wild organization showed a lack of professionalism on their official Facebook page:
We’re not sure who is in charge of social media for the Wild. Maybe it’s someone in the media relations department or the marketing department. Perhaps it’s an intern. Regardless, these types of insulting editorial posts are almost never found on the official Facebook or Twitter accounts of professional sports teams, and there’s a reason for that.
While it’s nice to show a bit of personality when interacting with fans on social media platforms, stooping to the same level as certain message board posters and YouTube commenters shows a lack of class and is never a good idea for any type of business or organization.
Furthermore, when you post a comment from an official team page, you’re speaking on behalf of your entire organization.
Is every single person that works for the Wild, from the players to the coaches to the managers and front office employees that immature?
Probably not, but the fact that no one in the organization stepped up and decided that it would be best for that post to be removed over the past week makes them come across as extremely immature and unprofessional.
At the very least, they’re either not monitoring what’s being posted on their Facebook page or they simply don’t care that their business is being marketed by someone with the maturity level of a 12-year-old.
At least other organizations have the common sense to remove any scathing editorials that appear on their team pages, as was the case with the Calgary Flames recently.
For displaying a level of immaturity and a complete lack of sportsmanship after a victory, the Minnesota Wild organization is our collective first bum of the week.