Yesterday we told you about a report from Pittsburgh Tribue-Review’s Rob Rossi discussing how Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and head coach Dan Bylsma have a difference in opinion on how to handle things with struggling starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. An intriguing story that had a chance to get out of control in the media… If it turned out to be true at all. Crosby was asked about his supposed comments on the situation and he set the record straight about what he said.
On if his feelings on the current goaltending situation have changed since Monday:
I was never asked about the goaltender situation. I was asked about “Flower’s” confidence, and what it would take for him to get his confidence back. That’s why I said he needs to get back into the net in order to do that. I didn’t have an opinion on the goaltending situation. As far as anybody’s confidence, that’s usually what it takes, whether you haven’t scored in a few games or whatever the case is. It usually takes to get into the swing of things to get that back. It doesn’t usually take one game, it takes a few. By no means was I taking any stance or push for a certain goalie to play. I was asked a question. I answered it. My quote was my quote, but I don’t think it was interpreted the same way.
So what have we learned here? We’ve learned that sometimes a writer can make a mountain out of a molehill and create a stir with a team that was already a bit angst-filled considering the situation in goal. After all, Fleury is a popular guy amongst his teammates and seeing him struggle is something the team hates to see. With the team playing a bit inconsistently, the possibility of a rift between the players and the head coach would make for some juicy news. Unfortunately for some folks in Pittsburgh (writers and fans alike), it appears there’s no such thing.
Lost in everything else going on for Pittsburgh is while Fleury works on getting his game back, Brent Johnson is playing steadily well, something which you don’t often get out of a backup goalie. Sure the Pens power play could use a spark but they’re playing well enough as a team aside from that. Besides, if you think the Penguins are going to stay down (or average) for long you might want to take another look at their roster before running with that big idea.
“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.
The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).
The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.
Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:
The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”
Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.