NHL Hat Trick: Who Is Passing Out the Valentines Today

Matt SitkoffCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 11:  Trevor Gillies #14 of the New York Islanders fights Eric Godard #28 of the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 11, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Isles defeated the Pens 9-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, but not so much in the NHL these days.  After a fight filled week of Bruins-Canadiens, Islanders-Penguins and Wild-Blues, suspensions, tempers and emotions are running at a high in the NHL.  Even one of the greats of the league is not happy at what is happening around the league. 

Penguin’s owner Mario Lemieux was outspoken about the league's handling of the big Penguins-Islanders brawl and even hinted he would want “out” if the league continued in this manner. 

So in the spirit of love being all around, except in the NHL, let’s give out some Valentines in this week’s Pucking Awesome Hat Trick.  



I can understand Super Mario’s frustration, as his team continues to struggle and lost some more players due to injury in the big melee with the Islanders.  I can also see how the NHL has tried to send a message to organizations and teams that this kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated. 

The NHL player is bigger, faster and stronger and the respect between players seems to have disappeared.  The NHL needs to send a Valentine to all of its teams saying the following:

Dear My Precious Teams of the NHL,

Times have been tough for us these past few days.

We have seen fights, anger and melees.

But please remember we are a sum of our parts.

And what we decide comes from our hearts.



Tim Thomas has been one of the best stories of the NHL this season.  The former Vezina Trophy winner was an afterthought, as it had seemed the future was now for Tuukka Rask. 

Then came eight straight victories to start out the season and his seven shutouts, which is already a career high.  Now the 36-year-old net minder is making believers out of his doubters as the Bruins sit atop the Northeast Division.  The Bruins need to send a Valentine to their MVP that would go like this:

Dear Tim the Tank,

You have been our knight in shining armor,

With the media you are such a charmer,

On a nightly basis you stand on your head,

Without you, our chances for a division crown would be dead.



The last Valentine is for the viewers of the NHL.  NBC is set to broadcast Hockey Day in America on Sunday with the following matchups: Flyers vs. Rangers, Capitals vs. Sabres, Penguins vs. Blackhawks, Red Wings vs. Wild.  That same afternoon, the NHL Heritage Classic between the Canadiens and Flames will be played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. 

This will be a great day for hockey fans to just sit down and relax and enjoy an exciting day of hockey. 

With that all said, the game of the week happens earlier on Tuesday, when the top two teams of the Eastern Conference square off.  The Lightning are currently on a ridiculous 11 game home stand and with a 5-2 record, thus far have proven they are going to be a team to beat in the Eastern Conference. 

The Flyers are the team right ahead of them in the standings and are 13-3 since the calendar flipped to 2011.  One of those losses was to the Lightning on February 1st, in fact, the Flyers are 0-3 vs. the Ning this season.  This game will go a long way if these two teams square off in the playoffs. 

For the Lightning, it will be the mentality of sweeping the season series and for the Flyers, one that reminds them that they can beat this team.