Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Take a look at the NHL's scoring leaders. Jakub Voracek, Tyler Seguin, Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf. OK. Keep going. Down, down, down, oh, there's Sidney Crosby.
The defending Hart Trophy winner is enduring an unusual point drought and sits 12th in league scoring. After a torrid start to the season, Crosby has just four goals in his last 26 games. The paucity of goals (he is tied for fourth with 27 assists) makes you wonder if this is some sort of lingering issue with a wrist injury that plagued him during the playoffs last spring.
Not that he is the sort to make excuses. Still, the bright side, if you're a Pens fan, is that even with Crosby off the mark near the midpoint, the Penguins, who defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on New Year's Eve in a game that saw Crosby held off the score sheet, remain tied with the New York Islanders for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division and one point off the top point total in the Eastern Conference.
read on for Custance on Nick Foligno, LeBrun on USA/Canada WJC and Strang on Clint Reif
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Penguins will be without forward Patric Hornqvist for “several weeks” because of a lower-body injury he sustained during the first period of Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Capitals at Consol Energy Center.
Hornqvist absorbed a shot from Penguins defenseman Scott Harrington with the lower part of his leg late in the period and limped to the bench, where he could be seen in obvious pain. He returned briefly but didn't come out on the ice after the first intermission.
This will be the second absence this season for Hornqvist, who also missed two games because of a concussion.
Defenseman Kris Letang, who missed the final two minutes of Saturday's game, has a bruised foot and was held out of practice as a precaution, coach Mike Johnston said.
continue for more on the Penguins...
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Defenseman Olli Maatta is continuing a rehab program on his upper body injury and is expected to return to the lineup within the next month, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford said today.
Mattaa’s rehab program was set back briefly by his bout with the mumps.
Maatta, 20, has not played since December 6 vs. Ottawa. He has one goal and eight assists for nine points in 20 games this season.
Earlier this season he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his neck.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Steve Downie and Thomas Greiss have tested positive for the mumps and remain in isolation, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford announced.
Brandon Sutter tested negative and has been cleared to return to the team.
from Shelly Anderson at ESPN,
He carries his goalie stick with him for this relatively new part of his pregame routine. Fleury tries to relax, thinks about the upcoming game, goes over how he wants to play. It's sort of a meditative pep talk, but he does not include his stick in the conversation.
"No, no," Fleury said, laughing. "I just feel lonely, so I want to have something [with me]. We don't talk that much. I talk more to the posts. Sometimes I bang on them, and sometimes they're good."
Fleury is goofy like that. He also is serious about his craft like that. A season of milestones is shaping up as a career year for Fleury, and while that has been a cause celebre, there is little question that there are critics lying in wait should the Pittsburgh goaltender falter, particularly in the playoffs.
A survey of social media, end-of-article reader comments, sports talk show calls and the like reveals that Fleury has taken a lot of blame for the Penguins' failure to win another Stanley Cup, or even return to the finals, following their 2009 championship. His playoff record since that Cup win is 21-22.
Certainly, there seems little to no room for harsh judgments this season. The Penguins are leading the Eastern Conference, and Fleury has been arguably their best and most consistent player, putting up Vezina-like numbers.
Coming out of the weekend, he ranked second in the NHL with 19 wins, fifth with a 1.97 goals-against average, tied for third with a .933 save percentage and first with six shutouts. He has already surpassed his career high for shutouts in a season and is one shy of tying Tom Barrasso's club record, and he is operating at a better pace than his career bests for a season of a .921 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against average.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Steve Downie, Brandon Sutter and Thomas Greiss are returning to Pittsburgh today to be tested for the mumps, it was announced by Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford.
The three players accompanied the team on its road trip to Florida yesterday. They will be placed in isolation until test results are known.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
The host Penguins won a penalty-filled game 3-1 that was a one-goal game before Sidney Crosby scored seven minutes into the third.
Afterward, a number of players didn't have much good to say about the home team, with more than one insinuating Monday night couldn't come soon enough.
"We're lucky we get to play them again on Monday,'' said defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who fought Steve Downie in the second period.
"We have to find a way to win. If we want to be among the upper echelon in this league, conference and division, we have to find ways to grind out wins. All in all, we're leaving here with a pretty good mindset.''
The Panthers apparently don't like the Penguins, and by the looks of things on Saturday, the feeling is mutual.
Evgeni Malkin was shamed not once but twice in the Penguins’ game against the Panthers, being called for embellishment and diving.
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.
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