Quick hits: Malkin dealing with foot injury

malkin.jpgLet’s take a little stroll through some of the other stories from today, shall we?

  • Penguins star Evgeni Malkin reportedly re-aggravated a foot injury after falling into the boards against the Carolina Hurricanes last night. The good news is that it seems to be a mostly minor problem. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more on his ailment.

“I lost my balance and hit the boards,” Malkin said Saturday after his team fell, 3-2, to Carolina at Mellon Arena “It’s a little bit sore. It’s a little bit of bad luck, but it’s OK.”

Malkin iced the foot after the game. He expects to sit out the team’s practice today but likes his chances of being able to play Monday at Detroit — the Penguins’ first trip to Joe Louis Arena since June 12 when they won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

Am I alone in thinking the Pens should err on the safe side here? The Penguins didn’t need to win their division last year to win the Cup, so why not be careful with Malkin? Just saying, everyone, just saying.

  • It’s kind of strange to think that the Colorado Avalanche “settled” for Joe Sacco when Patrick Roy decided not to coach the team. The Denver Post looked back at that situation and discussed (quite logically) the fact that he’s probably going to have some good job security because of the team’s unexpected playoff run.
  • But now that the Avalanche seems likely to claim a playoff spot in the first season of Sacco’s coaching tenure, and the first season since Greg Sherman was promoted to succeed Francois Giguere as general manager, Sacco not only is what passes for secure in a ridiculously insecure league – he’s a legitimate candidate for the Jack Adams Award, which goes to the NHL’s coach of the year.

    Eh, I might have to disagree with Terry Frei on him being the coach of the year (it has to be Dave Tippett, in my opinion), but overall it’s a good point.

    Just how much does Lubomir Visnovsky appreciate being out of Edmonton?

    “For the life, it’s unreal,” Visnovsky said Saturday. “Look at the weather every day. Look at me. I’ve got shorts and sandals on. In Edmonton, it’s so cold right now.”

    For the record, it was a balmy 50 degrees in Edmonton late Saturday afternoon and 69 degrees in Anaheim. But the point was made.

    Sorry, Oilers fans.

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      The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

      Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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      It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

      But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

      “There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

      Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

      Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

      Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

      In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

      Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


      After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

      Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

      Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

      Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

      While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

      Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

      McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

      Todd McLellan

      Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

      Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

      In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

      Some of the more choice quotes:

      “I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

      “When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

      It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

      Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

      They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

      Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

      “We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”

      Roy: Avs ‘need, expect more’ from Varlamov


      The tough times continue for Semyon Varlamov.

      After another unsuccessful outing on Monday — allowing four goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Islanders — Varlamov was subjected to a familiar refrain: Patrick Roy saying the Avs need more from their No. 1 netminder.


      You can hear all of the head coach’s comments in the video above but, for brevity’s sake, here’s the Varlamov stuff:

      “It’s not easy for him. Obviously we need that extra save and we didn’t get it on the road. It’s hard to win if you’re giving four goals on the road.

      “We just need more from him. He’s our No. 1 guy and we’re behind him, but we need, we expect more from him.”

      There has to be serious concern about Varlamov right now, if there wasn’t already.

      His save percentage through seven games in November (.891) is marginally better than it was through seven games in October (.889), and that’s not the only alarming stat. Varlamov’s yet to record a shutout this year, yet to record back-to-back victories and has given up at least three goals in six of his last seven starts.

      Not good.

      Compounding things for Colorado are the standings. The Avs are now 9-14-1 and mired in the Central Division basement, meaning that — if they have any hope of going on a tear and getting back into playoff content — they’ll need to do it soon.

      Which means they might not have the time, or the patience, for Varlamov to find his game.