Tim Thomas received a lot of deserved credit for the Boston Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup victory, but he certainly had some help. Beyond Zdeno Chara, his biggest helpers might have been the top line of Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Milan Lucic, even if they slipped under the radar a bit.
Considering that run and the prime ages of those three forwards, it wouldn’t have been crazy to expect a big year from that line. Instead, they’ve struggled mightily to begin the season, leaving CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty to wonder if they’re on the verge of being split up. Here’s Haggerty’s take on their work so far.
Lucic has only six hits in three games and hasn’t been the tower of fire-breathing intimidation he can be when playing with some genuine anger, Krejci has been average at best to start the season after leading the team in playoff goals last year and Horton has been the most absent of the bunch in the early going.
Looking at their simplest numbers, I think that Krejci and Lucic should get their acts together. Krejci has a goal on six shots and Lucic has an assist as well as six shots while Horton has just one shot on goal and zero points.
It’s hard not to wonder if Horton is still a little bit “off” from that notorious Aaron Rome hit. If Bruins head coach Claude Julien opts to break that line up, he might want to move Horton off the line – at least temporarily. The Krecji-Lucic combo fared quite well even in the games following Horton’s injury, after all.
It’s only three games, but NHL coaches are known for tweaking their line combos. If their slow start festers into a funk, it might be best for Julien to forget their prosperous past.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.
After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.
Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.
Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.
Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.
Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.
Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:
From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.
Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?
The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.
That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.
If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.