Coyotes prepared for more physical Wings

Abdelkader.jpgIf there’s one thing that really stood out about how the Phoenix
Coyotes ultimately handled the Red Wings, it was their physical play.
While some may question a number of the hits laid out by Shane Doan in
the contest — and there were a number of borderline hits — there’s no
doubting that after a shaky first period the Coyotes used some physical
intimidation to take control of the game.

Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun
, the Coyotes are expecting the Red
Wings to dish it right back at them.

The Phoenix
Coyotes know that there’s a good chance their opponent
will try to play the bully in Friday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference

And to that they say: “Bring it on.”

Malik isn’t expecting
the Red Wings to go nuts on the ice, and I
have to agree.

Rob makes it out to sound like the Red Wings will be out for blood,
when in fact the team and the coach have harped on playing with more
intensity. There’s better ways to counter a physical team, and going toe
to toe and hit for hit isn’t exactly it. Sure, I’d expect the Red Wings
to play more physical, but that’s not the game they play.

The Red Wings need to play with more intensity, but to do so with a
much cleaner game with better execution and a more balanced attack. They
need more Pavel Datsyuk to look concerned in the third period.

Justin Abdelkader will take the ice tonight, perhaps he can help with that.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.