It wasn’t easy by any means, but the effort level from the Pittsburgh Penguins made it seem easy that they would knock off the Ottawa Senators tonight. Brian Elliott had a hand in making things difficult for the Penguins, but Kris Letang’s shot from the blue line with help from a spectacular effort by Sidney Crosby helped ensure victory for the Penguins over Ottawa 2-1.
Crosby’s whirling, spinning puck control will be something Sens forward Jason Spezza will see in his nightmares as it was The Kid’s effort to help maintain control for the Penguins to help set up Letang’s snipe. It was also Crosby’s help on his own goal line, preventing Ottawa from taking a 2-1 lead earlier in the period, that helped secure the win for the Pens. For the Senators it’s a game that started off great, scoring just 18 seconds into the tilt but that’s all they would manage the rest of the night as the Penguins defense clamped down on the Senators keeping their good offensive chances to a minimum.
The game wasn’t without it’s controversy as Pens defenseman Jordan Leopold was taken out on a vicious, but clean, bodycheck by Sens defenseman Andy Sutton. Leopold was hit with his head down cutting through the neutral zone as Sutton took advantage of the situation by sending Leopold down to the ice and out of the game.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: