Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders

Ring the bell? Penguins-Islanders home-and-home set has violent potential


The Islanders and Penguins always get along so well when they come together on the ice. Their last three meetings last season saw all hell break loose featuring such hits as Rick DiPietro getting knocked out by Brent Johnson in their February 3 game, a full-scale on-ice riot breaking out just over a week later that led to Pens owner Mario Lemieux shaming the league for not taking stronger action against the Isles, and an April 8 affair that saw the teams renew their hate one last time.

If you needed a full-scale visual reminder of how things happened last year, Kevin Schultz at Islanders Point Blank has you covered there.

While some of the parties involved in last season’s shenanigans are still around (Trevor Gillies, Blake Comeau, Brent Johnson) things don’t figure to get so hairy this time around. Then again, with the front end of a home-and-home series kicking off tonight on Long Island, you never can be too sure.

The Isles head into things mostly healthy but finding their way around still. Pittsburgh continues to be banged up and with Zbynek Michalek now out for 4-6 weeks with a broken finger, the tough-as-nails version of the Penguins is what the Isles will see. While the Isles don’t lack in toughness, they’ll need to deal with the Penguins’ aggressive style and not give them chances on the power play.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, would like to get through these games without another injury and, likely, without another sideshow developing at their expense. It’s not quite a powder keg situation, but old hate doesn’t take much to get reignited.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.