Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Malkin missed the final 11 games because of a hairline fracture to a bone in his right foot. He participated in a full practice Tuesday and centered a second line with Neal and Jussi Jokinen as his wingers.
Malkin said he felt “no pain” immediately after the session. He needed to meet with Penguins physicians to gain clearance to play in Game 1.
Malkin appeared at ease on and off the ice Tuesday. His skating stride was fluid, and he handled turns and stops without signs of discomfort. He even took a friendly jab at Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, a fellow Russian.
“He stays in the net,” Malkin said, smiling. “All Russian goalies do.”
Malkin said he likes how the Penguins match up with Columbus. He cited the clubs' similar systems and structure, hinting that the Penguins' familiarity could lead to a sense of calmness he feels they lacked in two previous opening-round series against Philadelphia and the New York Islanders.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins couldn't have asked for a better -- read: easier -- first-round opponent than the Columbus Blue Jackets. Game 1 is Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins went 5-0 against Columbus this season. The Blue Jackets will be playing without one of their top players, big forward Nathan Horton. They have had zero postseason success since joining the NHL in 2000-01. They were swept by Detroit in 2009 in their only playoff appearance.
The Penguins can't lose this series, right?
They will win in five games.
But the pressure is on the Penguins to do a lot more than just beat Columbus. They also need to win the second-round series against Philadelphia or the New York Rangers, then take their chances in the Eastern Conference final, almost certainly against the powerful Boston Bruins. Anything less will be considered a local sporting disaster.
The heat is on everybody to win, but it's especially hot on coach Dan Bylsma, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and captain Sidney Crosby.
added 7:14pm, because Twitter only allows 140 characters, it is sometimes hard to get the exact quote, so here is the CP's Steven Whyno with more from his game story...
After the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win, Bylsma was asked if — even though doctors assured the team and the 26-year-old defenceman that hockey would not put him more at risk for another stroke — he had a little pause seeing Hartnell and Letang shoving each other.
"I did have that thought when that was going on there," said Bylsma. "(Letang) kind of had the play there and the puck on his skate to try to score a goal. It fell off his stick and the whistle and everything ensued after that. Yeah it does, a guy picking on a guy who had a stroke."
Told of Bylsma's comment regarding Hartnell, Flyers coach Craig Berube fired back.
"Then he shouldn't play," Berube said. "He shouldn't be out there playing, bottom line. It's a stupid comment."
Letang, who scored 10 minutes later, said it's "part of the game."
"I got hit from behind, I turn around and it was him," Letang said. "I was not really shocked. but things happen in the game fast. I don't regret (it)."
added 7:23pm, via Whyno tweet,
Bylsma clarified to me that Hartnell "picking on" Letang quote absolutely said tongue-in-cheek
Watch the minor dust-up between Hartnell and Letang below...
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins have become a mediocre hockey club, 11-9-2 since the Olympic break, including their 4-3 shootout home win Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings. They are ready to do another quick exit from the playoffs, perhaps even a one-and-done. Marc-Andre Fleury will wilt again under the pressure. The rest of the team will be undisciplined. Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang and even Sidney Crosby will take stupid retaliatory penalties out of frustration. Dan Bylsma will be fired as coach.
That about sum it up?
I don't get it. I'm not sure why people are so down on this band of Penguins. If they win one of their final two regular-season games this weekend against Philadelphia and Ottawa, they will finish with 109 points, the second-highest total in franchise history.
I really don't get why everyone is so down on Bylsma. Shouldn't he be the NHL's coach of the year? He won't get the award, of course. The voters will hold Crosby against him. "Anyone can coach a team with the greatest player in the world." What the voters won't look at closely are the Penguins' 512 man-games lost, easily the most in the league. Crosby has played in all but one of the 80 games, but most of the team's other key players haven't been so fortunate.
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Outshot, 12-6, and out-goaled, 2-0, in the middle frame, the Penguins had just escaped to the dressing room down, 3-1, to the spectacularly indifferent Carolina Hurricanes. If you've always wanted to see an AHL game and just never got around to it, you can cross that off the list if you've got a ticket stub from this one....
The Penguins didn't flinch; after all, they are themselves a markedly flaccid 8-8-1 since March 1. Between themselves and the 'Canes, it was hard to tell which was the team playing out a dreary winter and which was the team hawking playoff tickets between periods.
Dan Bylsma's team has spent too much time trying to differentiate between opponents who are already playing playoff hockey and those already playing for next season, and there's no longer much question as to the urgency level wafting off the Penguins.
You've heard that tired construct "If the playoffs were to begin tonight ... "?
Well, had the playoffs began Tuesday, the Penguins would be down, 1-0. Facing a genuine playoff-caliber opponent, they could easily have lost, 8-0.
Sidney Crosby also went down in the game last night, watch below...
By Tom Murray,
A few thoughts in the wake of what was the major topic of discussion early this week—the hit on Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews by Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Predictably, there were opposing reactions to the hit, all of which can be summed up by the opinions of two well-known hockey pundits.
Greg Wyshynski, aka “Puck Daddy” at yahoo.com, delivered an impassioned defense:
“It was a hellacious check by one of the NHL’s best hitters,” he wrote, “injuring one of the NHL’s best players. Was it headhunting? No. Was it a defender taking liberties with an opponent? No, unless we’ve redefined any hard check in the game as ‘borderline.’”
An interesting take, and one that completely avoided the fact that we’re not talking about just any hardnosed player who delivered the hit, but Orpik, a player whose shady reputation precedes him, a point that was thoroughly covered by Mike Milbury on NBCSN after the game.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
As he lay crumpled on the ice following a devastating hit by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, Jonathan Toews uttered something apparently unprintable, got to his feet and skated off to the bench, clutching his left arm with his right. He sat on the bench, hunched over in pain a couple of times, then got up again and left for the dressing room.
The question now is, when will he come back?
Already without one of the top offensive players in the world in Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks might have lost one of the most irreplaceable players in the world, too. Toews left the Hawks’ 4-1 loss to the Penguins with about 6:30 left in the second period, and didn’t return.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville deemed him “day to day,” but said he’d know more on Monday.
“I don’t think it’s serious,” he said.
continued and watch the hockey hit below...
Shouldn't this type of play be reviewable?
I am not saying it was the wrong call, but with so much going on in the play, reviewing it would guarantee the correct call.
Watch the play below...
from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
It took Dan Bylsma less than an hour.
The Penguins coach quickly canceled Wednesday's practice after an underwhelming 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday.
If that performance wasn't enough to convince Bylsma his team is out of gas — and when veterans suggest “pride” and “passion” are lacking or that something is missing — statistics support the possibility.
Eight Penguins — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Matt Niskanen, Craig Adams, Tanner Glass and Jussi Jokinen — are receiving significantly more playing time this season compared to last season.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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