The Penguins are already up to their ears in injury problems with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Dustin Jeffrey, and Brooks Orpik out of action. You can throw Tyler Kennedy onto that list of guys dealing with health issues as he was held out of last night’s 2-1 loss to Winnipeg with what’s described as concussion-like symptoms.
His status for tonight’s game against Minnesota (7:30 p.m. ET on Versus) is in doubt and for Pittsburgh that’s a bad break to have right now. With those guys all out of action the pressure to score falls squarely on the shoulders of James Neal, Jordan Staal, and Chris Kunitz. The Penguins have been used to making up for guys being out of action, but every team has their limits for what they can do.
What’s making things harder is the number of games the Pens have had to start the year. Pittsburgh has already played in seven games this season and their eighth game is on the way tonight. Having so many games at the start of the year leaves a team to be more susceptible to injury and the Pens have fallen victim to that. Getting sent off to western Canada to start the year doesn’t help much either. It’s up to the Pens to hold down the fort for now lest they wind up falling back of the pack too early.
Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.