The Rangers might want to play a disciplined game on Thursday (7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN), because Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has constructed a pretty scary power-play unit.
Sidney Crosby is projected to play on the third line in his return, but he’ll also be skating on the top power-play unit with Evgeni Malkin. There are some people who might believe that the Penguins spreading out their talent with the man advantage would be beneficial, but Bylsma isn’t one of them.
“I think we’ve always felt,” Bylsma said, “and do feel and strongly feel — all of us — that having the two best players (on the ice) is the best thing for us to have success.”
James Neal, who has been one of this season’s biggest breakout players, and Chris Kunitz are also projected to be on the ice with Malkin and Crosby. In the likely event that Kris Letang returns, he’ll probably be on the top unit instead of Steve Sullivan. On paper, it looks like arguably the best power-play unit in the NHL.
Crosby is projected to be playing the point on the power play while Kunitz will try and put himself in front of the net. Neal and Malkin will be in position to fire off one-timers.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.