Heads up, goalies: A goaltender should be fair game for a legal hit when he leaves the crease. A team sport, especially hockey, shouldn't have different rules for different players. And if goalies were eligible for contact, they wouldn't be playing the puck as often and we'd see an increase in offense. However, Rule 42.1 clearly states a goalie is "not fair game" when outside the crease, so the Dallas Stars' Cody Eakin will have the book thrown at him for violently crashing into New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist behind the net during the first period of New York's 2-0 victory Thursday. Eakin was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. Supplemental discipline is on the way, and Eakin should receive more than a one-game suspension. It looked like he didn't attempt to avoid a collision and left his feet at the point of contact, sending Lundqvist into a tailspin. Lundqvist left the game but was able to return and finished with 27 saves and a shutout in his first start in four games.
Matthews is responsible: The biggest impact Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews will have during his career is building the game of hockey in the Southwest. Just like Wayne Gretzky accomplished in California when he played for the Los Angeles Kings, as a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Matthews has a chance to influence the sport kids pick while growing up. He faced his childhood team for the first time and scored a goal in a 3-2 Leafs' loss to the Arizona Coyotes in Toronto on Thursday. Matthews will get his chance to play in front of his hometown crowd when the Coyotes host the Maple Leafs next week. It's still incredible to think that the 2016 No. 1 overall pick grew up in Arizona, a nontraditional hockey market. Given his ability and hype surrounding his career, it's safe to say kids from the area will see his success and want to play the game, too.
Crosby's in their corner: In a recent conversation with me, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby compared the Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak to the Chicago Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin. That's high praise coming from the best player in the world about one of the more dynamic players in the league in Panarin, who scored two goals and added an assist to help Chicago to a 5-4 win against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The 25-year-old forward and second-year NHLer has three goals and three assists for six points in his past three games. Overall, he has 13-16-29 in 32 games. Pastrnak, 20, has 19 goals and seven assists for 26 points in 27 games. Statistics aside, both Panarin and Pastrnak are so much fun to watch. Their creativity is on display every night and it's great for fans -- especially one named Crosby.