Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bill West of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The copycat tendencies of NHL teams led general manager Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Sullivan to speculate about a continued shift toward deep, speed-centric lineups after the Penguins claimed the Stanley Cup last spring.
Sure enough, many of the most lauded offseason roster moves in the league involved trades and signings of puck-moving defensemen and skilled-but-affordable bottom-six forwards.
One month into the regular season, tempo remains trendy. Aside from the Penguins' early success, Montreal leads the league standings, the New York Rangers share first place in the Metropolitan Division and Edmonton sits atop the Pacific Division.
“I think teams have to play a style of play that fits their personnel,” Sullivan said. “Not everybody can play a speed game. It all depends on what the core strengths are of your group and trying to play to your strengths. At least that's our philosophy.”
Baesd on results and shot metrics, there is little indication any of the speedy squads are significantly more effective with their style than the Penguins.
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
Longtime nemesis Sidney Crosby scored the winner with 2:25 to play in the Islanders’ 4-2 loss to the Penguins on Thursday night. The Pittsburgh captain got room to beat Jaroslav Halak from in close by standing up Johnny Boychuk behind the net with what the entire Islanders room felt was an elbow to Boychuk’s head. Boychuk was stunned, lost his stick and went to retrieve it while Crosby nestled in the slot.
“It’s frustrating when you get elbowed in the head and that guy scores the goal,” a heated Boychuk said after the Islanders fell to 3-5-0. “I’m sure if it was reversed, I’d be getting a phone call from the league and a suspension.”...
“It was a high hit, no question,” Jack Capuano said. “The disappointing thing is the official is right next to [Boychuk]. He didn’t even have the puck.”
Boychuk said the referee closest to him, Jean Hebert, asked him if he was OK. “And their players were asking me,” an incredulous Boychuk said. “I’m fine, so I guess that’s good. But if it was anyone else, they’d be getting a call from the league.”
more and watch the goal below...
from Wes Crosby at NHL.com,
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be a game-time decision and may make his season debut against the Florida Panthers at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, FS-F, NHL.TV).
Crosby participated in a full-contact practice Monday for the first time since sustaining a concussion during an Oct. 7 practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. The concussion, Crosby's third in six years, forced him to miss Pittsburgh's first six games.
"[Crosby] had a strong practice this morning," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after the morning skate Tuesday. "Everything is pointing in the right direction. If he's comfortable, he could play."
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed goalie Matt Murray to a three-year contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The deal begins with the 2017-18 season and runs through the 2019-20 campaign, and it carries an average annual value of $3.75 million.
Murray, 22, backstopped the Penguins to the franchise's fourth Stanley Cup championship in June, becoming just the fourth rookie goalie in NHL history to lead his team to a championship. Murray racked up 15 postseason wins along the way, equaling the NHL record for wins by a rookie netminder.
The 6-foot-4, 178-pound netminder broke into the NHL last December, making his NHL debut against Carolina on Dec. 19, 2015, then earning his first win two days later against Columbus.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
But this season’s Pittsburgh Penguins have a better shot of repeating than any team in the salary cap era, including the Kings or Blackhawks.
It’s not that they are a mightier team than the Kings or Blackhawks were during their championship run. It’s that these Penguins have a history of stepping up when faced with formidable challenges....
The perception of the Penguins is that they are a warp-speed skating offensive team, but their speed aids their defensive play more than it probably helps their offensive game. Defenseman Kris Letang is an example of that.
“His offense speaks for itself. … I don’t think (Letang) gets the credit he deserves for his defensive play,” Sullivan said. “He’s got a quick stick. He’s ultra-competitive. He can be physical when he needs to be. He defends hard. To me, that’s why he is one of the top defensemen in the league.”
Nothing seems to bother the Penguins. They lose Crosby, the world’s best player, to a concussion, and they came roaring out of the gate last week playing like they did in June when they won the Stanley Cup.
The Penguins lose players, they change lines and keep hurtling toward their destination. To the Penguins, it is one small step each day with the hope it becomes the giant leap toward becoming the first NHL team in two decades to be a repeat champion.
In all its glory.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Crosby’s latest concussion happened on Friday at practice. It wasn’t a big open-ice hit — those observers who were there noticed nothing — but of course we realize that it doesn’t have to be a Scott Stevens hit anymore. When two NHL players collide in a battle drill, or even during line rushes, the impact can be enough to bounce one’s brain off the inside of one’s skull.
So we are left to wonder: Did whatever happened to Crosby in that Friday practice have a worse effect because of his concussion history? And will the next one require incrementally less force, and less force, until contact sports are no longer an option for Sid?
Is it possible that Crosby and concussions become in 2016 what Bobby Orr and bad knees were in the 1970s? We surely hope not.
“They happen, in a lot of different sports,” Crosby said Tuesday, having skated alone and shot some pucks before the Penguins practiced as a team. “Guys have multiple concussions and they’re fine. You just have to treat them the right way, and make sure that they handle it right and that you’re honest.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
There are lots of other storylines — P.K. Subban in Nashville, Carey Price’s return, Taylor Hall in Newark — but nothing earthshaking. Indeed, the Subban for Shea Weber off-season deal was enormous, but now the flamboyant Subban will be tucked away in Nashville, rarely to be seen on national broadcasts in either country. Ditto for Hall.
Having all seven Canadian teams miss post-season play last spring delivered a punishing blow to NHL interest in the Great White North as illustrated by television ratings, and right now you’d be hard-pressed to guarantee a playoff berth for any of the seven this season. Certainly none go into the season appearing to be challengers for the Cup.
Six of the seven acquired a top young player in the entry draft last June, which bodes well for the future. Toronto got Auston Matthews, Winnipeg got Patrik Laine, Edmonton took Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary landed Matthew Tkachuk and Montreal selected Russian blue-liner Mikhail Sergachev, who will start the season with the Habs.
But it will take time for these players to establish themselves and become fan favourites, and all the Canadian teams, to different degrees, are still paying the price for questionable management over the past decade. As an example, look at the Oilers, forced to dump former No. 1 pick Nail Yakupov to the Blues for 20 cents on the dollar last week just to be rid of him.
A healthy Crosby can’t be expected to compensate for all of this, of course. Indeed, last year he started the season in terrible fashion, making “What’s Wrong With Sidney?” a popular game to play at home with friends and loved ones, and the NHL didn’t all come tumbling down.
But the way the season finished re-established him, without a doubt, as the best player on the planet, as did the World Cup. He is in his absolute prime, able to drive attention to the league, not by force of personality but by sheer drive and ability.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion, it was announced by Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Crosby sat out Saturday's preseason game vs. Columbus because he was not feeling well, and missed practice today to undergo concussion testing.
Crosby's status will be updated when more information is available. The Penguins open the regular season Thursday night against Washington at PPG Paints Arena.
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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