Crosby struggling without Malkin

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Malkin.jpgFor those that argue that Sidney Crosby is the most complete player
in the NHL, and at a higher level than some others around the league, he
has some serious issues when Evgeni Malkin is not playing. According
to Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review:

Although Malkin’s numbers this season are down from the lofty
standards he has set, his value is becoming increasingly clear. The
Penguins are 3-7 in the games he has missed.

Perhaps more alarmingly, Crosby, who is tied with Alex Ovechkin for
the NHL goal lead with 45, has produced zero goals and only three
assists in the 10 games Malkin has missed.

Crosby had just three shots on net last night, and was frustrated all
game by the Red Wings. That will happen when you’re
facing Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski all night long
, but it’s
tough to deny that Crosby has issues creating his own space and scoring
chances when Malkin isn’t playing next to him.

This certainly
isn’t a case of anyone claiming that Crosby is just a product of
Malkin’s genius (although that is an interesting research project for
the future), and the Penguins are having more issues than just trying to
get by while he is out due to injury.

Any team will struggle when
you take away of their top-two players, and it’s up to the coach and
the general manager to build a team that doesn’t completely fall apart
when one player is lost. The Washington Capitals seem to get by just
fine without Ovechkin — with him, they are that much better but without
him they are still a dangerous team.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.