Video: Union's Hoppenot Feels Impact of Montreal Headbutt in 2-0 Loss

Video: Union's Hoppenot Feels Impact of Montreal Headbutt in 2-0 Loss

It
wasn't the Union's night in Montreal, where the Impact avenged their
late-game loss at PPL Park last month, beating Philadelphia by a 2-0
count. The match was chippy most of the way, but never more so than when
Impact defender Nelson Rivas unleashed a nasty headbutt on Antoine
Hoppenot. The Union forward became entangled with Rivas and threw him
off his back, to the ground. Rivas responded by viciously headbutting
Hoppenot in the face, drawing an immediate red card and what we presume
will be a few extra games of suspension. 

Unfortunately (and understandably), Jack McInerney
responded by pushing Rivas to the turf as a scuffle ensued. The
unfortunate part is that Jack Mac was given a red card, so he'll miss
next week's match hosting the Chicago Fire. 

I thought the red card to McInerney was excessive
based on his action on its own, but it's somewhat more understandable in
the context of a referee trying to regain control of a match that saw
rough activity leading up to Rivas' headbutt. Still stings to think
about what might have happened with 20 minutes of 11 vs 10. 

The Union weren't without their chances, but
finishing eluded them. Montreal saw goals from PA native Andrew Wenger
in the 44th minute and Felipe Martins in the 78th. Just before halftime,
former Unioner Justin Mapp sent a short corner to Patrice Bernier, who
crossed it in to Wenger. The super rookie put a header on net that froze
Zac MacMath as it crossed the line. 

The U came out fired up in the second, but missing
McInerney wasn't the ideal way to solve their finishing and fortune
woes. At the other end, one of the more beautiful finishes of the season
came off the foot of Martins, who launched an arial scissor kick to
slam home a cross by Hassoun Camara. Worth a look:

Not the best exchange by MacMath and Freddy Adu there, and the Impact made them pay. 
Here's the full highlight package:

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event Giroux sat down with Michael Barkann for a game of “Who Does It Better?: Canada or the United States.”

The game started off with a a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered. “I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded. Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."