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Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL May 29, 2014

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

More and more players are using their water bottles to show displeasure.

Here come the waterworks. Again.

Water bottle shenanigans have kind of become a thing in the playoffs. Corey Perry got things started when he filled an opponent’s glove with water. Henrik Lundqvist got in on the action when he sprayed Sidney Crosby after the Penguins star speared a Ranger in the groin. Shawn Thornton even squirted P.K. Subban while play was going on.

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is just the latest alleged perpetrator. But Crawford’s accuser is a fan, not a fellow player, and he has reportedly gotten police involved.

According to TMZ, 27-year-old Kings fan Clark Wong filed a battery report with Los Angeles police claiming the goalie sprayed him in the face during Monday’s game. TMZ also reported that police were investigating Crawford, but a spokesman told CBS Chicago that they were not investigating any matter related to Crawford.

Mirtle has an article about the lateness of hits.

Historically, hitting in hockey has been about separating an opponent from the puck so that a player could get said puck. But somewhere along the way, it became more than that, and players who no longer had the puck were – briefly anyway – fair game.

It became a way to hurt, legally, and coaches set out to push that new tactic to its limits.

What constitutes a late hit in the NHL doesn’t appear to be codified in the rulebook, unless you consider the vague language under interference to do so. But what’s happened with players like Prust is they’re given the language the league has hidden somewhere in a Department of Player Safety desk drawer and a stopwatch when they cross the line.

A hit that comes 0.6 seconds after a player has the puck, they’re told, is okay.

At 0.7 seconds and beyond, they’re in trouble – especially if the hit causes an injury.

“The hit itself wasn’t really a topic in the hearing,” Prust explained. “It was all about the timing of it.

“The NHL deems a hit late around 0.6 seconds, and I’m at 0.8 seconds, so you know, that’s on me. It’s late, but for me my focus was on trying to make a good, clean bodycheck and not leave my feet, [with] my elbows tucked. Everything about the actual contact is clean. It’s just late.”

Joakim Lindstrom returns to the NHL... becomes a member of the Blues.

The St. Louis Blues signed veteran forward Joakim Lindstrom to a one-year contract Wednesday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the deal is worth $700,000.

Lindstrom, 30, has spent the past two seasons with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League, including 2013-14 when he posted 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) and 72 penalty minutes in 55 games.

In the postseason, Lindstrom was tied for the league-lead in points (18), helping his team to its second consecutive title. He also helped Sweden to a bronze medal with 11 points in the 2014 world championship.

What's going on with Ovie?

While there are other players involved, and some significant ones, the Caps and Pens are still defined in a major way by Ovechkin and Crosby, respectively.

Indeed, in Washington, the choices of Brian MacLellan as GM and Barry Trotz to coach were immediately accompanied by the same question: What in hell are they going to do about Ovechkin and his maddening minus-35 inability to lead this team forward?

That’s what this is about, now. It’s no longer the unmentioned elephant in the room. Bruce Boudreau worked with Ovechkin, Dale Hunter benched him and Oates tried to change him, or at least the side of the ice he played on.

Oates, an analyst for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada these days, told an Edmonton radio show this week that he enjoyed coaching Ovechkin and didn’t fight with him, but acknowledged changing the not-so-young-anymore Washington captain — set to turn 29 before next season starts — won’t be easy for anyone.

“The biggest challenge is you’re fighting a lot of years of habit,” he said.