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‘Going to Get Testy’: Islanders Angry w/ Matheson ‘Vicious Crosscheck’

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Mike Matheson Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders Mathew Barzal

Mike Matheson was already on the New York Islanders radar. The current Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman, who is enjoying the beginning of what looks like a career resurgence, dished a hard hit last postseason which ended defenseman Johnny Boychucks career.

Thursday night, Matheson caught star center Mathew Barzal near the boards in the third period of the Penguins 4-1 win. Matheson was called for boarding, which was probably the right call, But New York head coach Barry Trotz called it a “vicious crosscheck” and had a few more things to say.

“He’s got a couple of our guys here,” Trotz said. “(Matt Martin) sent a message to him, but yeah it’s going to get testy. We have to play these guys a whole bunch. I think another four times coming up here, so as it gets ramped up it will probably get harder and harder.”

In other words, the Pittsburgh Penguins may need to defend Matheson because New York would like a word.

Mike Matheson was the star of the game on Thursday. Despite only one assist, he was the catalyst for the first three Penguins goals, including a brilliant self pass. 

Trotz said Barzal was fine after the hit.

New York fourth-liner Matt Martin went after Matheson late in the game. Martin received a minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct penalty.

New York center Brock Nelson was also unhappy and voiced his displeasure.

“I think guys take notice,” said Nelson. “It’s a fast game and things are going to happen. You just want to respond in a positive manner and make it hard on him moving forward. Let him know that we didn’t appreciate some plays, but at the same time, we just have to play our game. That’s the bottom line.”

Take note, that is two New York voices who said New York has to make it harder on Matheson.

Anders Lee poked at Matheson and Martin went after him following a whistle late in the third. Evgeni Malkin and Scott Mayfield tangled near the Penguins bench during the final 90 seconds. Each also earned a 10-minute game misconduct.

Game on, Saturday night.

Stick tap to our colleagues at NYI Hockey for the postgame quotes.

UPDATE: PHN asked Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan about the situation. While Sullivan avoided the New York public warnings, he addressed the hit and Mike Matheson.

“Well, I don’t think Mike is a dirty player. He was trying to defend,” Sullivan began. “Mathew Barzal is a real dynamic player. He’s elusive. I think (Matheson) is simply trying to defend as best he could. It was unfortunate the way it happened, but I don’t think there was intent.”

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Katz
Katz
8 days ago

Pittsburgh is ill equipped for that type of game. Better to skate with head up and turn away. Hopefully the referees will watch LOL.
Islanders know Pittsburgh’s skill is at a higher level and if Pgh gets a lead the Isles need to exit their defensive scheme. That’s when the stuff might happen. Waxing nostalgic for number 75 but that ship sailed.,

Last edited 8 days ago by Katz
rkjrceem
rkjrceem
8 days ago

Trotz being Trotz. Funny how they switch to intimidation when they are losing. This is why Hextall and Burke are right. Penguins need a couple of guys with size that step up and play hard (not just fight) all game. I wish it was Lafferty and Oconner, but haven’t seen it. I don’t want to see other teams beating on Tanev because he is playing well or taking liberties with Geno to keep him off his game. Where is the pushback from the Pens on the Oshie hit on Peterson. They have to be able to keep the other team… Read more »

Crosby32746@yahoo.com
Crosby32746@yahoo.com
8 days ago

Barzal turned and put himself in jeopardy. I think the Islanders realized this and just were trying to send a message for the next game. Now if the Pens tonight repeat their performance, I think the Isles will try to start something.

mja
mja
8 days ago

Barzal folded like piece of crepe paper. And Trotsky’s comments are flat irresponsible.

Rick
Rick
8 days ago

Didn’t look that bad to me!

Katz
Katz
8 days ago

Marcus Pettersson to Anaheim for Nicholas Deslaurius and Josh Manson . Maybe throw in Colton Sceviour??

Cal
Cal
8 days ago
Reply to  Katz

That one I would do in an instant. Two gamers for sure.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
8 days ago

I think the Isles are coming after us tonight. The only problem is we do not have anyone to protect Matheson! 10 years ago the Isles set out to destroy us and they did. They beat us 9 to 3 and physically beat us up all over the ice. I guess we didn’t learn though because we are still the ice capades and softer than Charmin!

Katz
Katz
8 days ago

Well at least they chose to not dress Ross Johnston . They don’t need him vs Pgh but he’s an animal

GoPens
GoPens
8 days ago

Pettersson to Ottawa for Gudbranson needs to happen asap.

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