Anaheim was carrying a three-game win streak into Thursday night’s date with the Calgary Flames, and even though its playoff hopes remain bleak, it looks as though the message was received. The Big 3 – consisting of Getzlaf, reigning NHL MVP Corey Perry and shifty winger Bobby Ryan – were finally starting to find the offensive range after a glacially slow offensive start.
Getzlaf has not spoken to Murray about his intentions and says he doesn’t need to. He "didn’t take it personally" and interpreted his message as "more of a kick in the ass than anything; that I needed to get going – and I knew it as much as anybody.
"It wasn’t that I wanted to play that way. It was a frustrating time we were going through. I planned on working hard and getting back to where I needed to be and I think I’m there. Hopefully, we’ll continue this into the second half and not have to worry about those rumours again.
The Toronto Star looks back at the first half of the season.
FIRST HALF FOLLIES:
Dustin Penner’s bad back story (re: I strained my back while trying to seat myself in a chair to eat my morning pancakes); Mike Cammallieri’s "losers" callout to his Habs teammates; head shot repeat offenders Andy Sutton, Rene Bourque, Dan Carcillo; NHLPA rejection of league’s realignment proposal; Brad Marchand complains about the length of his five-game ban; early season reports of the Devils on the verge of bankruptcy; Dion Phaneuf is SI’s most overrated player; Dave Bolland’s "Sedin Sisters" reference; Paul Bisonette’s Christmas Tweet "Just found glow in the dark toilet paper (online). Christmas present to myself. Twooping in the dark."; various racial or drunk driving incidents involving Dustin Byfuglien, Wayne Simmonds, Mike Milbury, Krys Barch, and Avery; the 1-3-1 trap; the Islanders’ third jersey
WHAT’S TO BE DONE ABOUT ...
Concussions (53 players have missed time due to concussions, according to agent Allan Walsh of Octagon Sports); hits from behind, equipment, restoring centre red line, allowing D-men to hold up forecheckers, goalie interference, realignment; getting Wayne Gretzky back in the game; Phoenix Coyotes
And, finally, the Montreal Gazette talks fighting in hockey.
Fighting is down 25 per cent in the NHL this season, even though the league has taken no steps to reduce it.
"I think there has been a shift in the way the game is being played," Phoenix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. "Right now I think the rules are protecting players, where in the past the players policed the game a little bit more."
Last season there were 697 fighting majors in the first half, and this season there were 519. Twenty-one of the 30 teams have had fewer fighting majors than they had at the midpoint last season. Seven are up and two stayed the same.
"Even though very few fights end up in concussion, there is this feeling I have that people are more careful and leery," Maloney said.