The Pittsburgh Penguins must be delighted that Evgeni Malkin is showing signs of being Evgeni Malkin again. Even so, the team’s ceiling will rise to undeniable Stanley Cup contender heights if Sidney Crosby can be reasonably healthy during the 2011-12 season.
Crosby still has quite a way to go before that happens – the Penguins center continues to wear a white “no contact” helmet in practices – but many are heartened by the news that he participated in a “controlled scrimmage” today. The Associated Press reports that this represented Crosby’s first five-on-five exposure since training camp started, as he took face-offs and executed set plays in even strength situations.
For the most part, he’s been pushing himself hard in workouts, but there’s no clear time table on when he might risk taking contact again. Either way, this seems like a reason for optimism. Crosby, for one, seems excited about his progress.
“Everything’s been really good,” Crosby said. “I haven’t ran into any issues so far so it’s been pretty smooth.”
Crosby has worked relentlessly during the first week of camp during drills, often to the point of exhaustion.
“I think it’s been a lot of fun just being out there and competing and doing typical things you’re used to doing as a hockey player,” he said.
We’ll have to wait and see how much longer he’ll have to wait to be a hockey player in a regular season game again, though.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.