Sidney Crosby

Penguins expect Crosby to play every game down the stretch


Much has been made over how Pittsburgh will handle Sidney Crosby’s minutes in his latest comeback.

But what about the number of games he’ll play?

The Penguins have 14 games over the final 23 days of the regular season, including a three-in-four nights stretch beginning tonight in New York — leading some to theorize that Crosby should take the occasional maintenance day (or, safety precaution day.)

But that’s not going to happen, according to Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.

“There’s really no thought in my mind that he’s not going to play in all 14 games,” Bylsma told ESPN. “Would we think about certain scenarios? Maybe. But like I said, am I going to ask Sidney Crosby to not play in Philadelphia? It doesn’t seem like that’s a likely possibility in any regard.”

After the three-games-in-four-nights stretch — against the Rangers, Devils and Flyers — it’ll be hard for Pittsburgh not to look ahead to its final four games of the season. From April 1-7 the Penguins play the Flyers, Bruins, Rangers then Flyers again in a quartet of games that could decide pecking order in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

All four promise to be heated affairs, though Crosby isn’t ready to start looking so far ahead. He’s just trying to put tonight’s game against New York in context.

“You’re excited to get back out there,” Crosby said after today’s morning skate. “This is a big game. If anything, you’re trying to make it as normal as possible, if that’s possible.”

As for what he expects moving forward?

“I don’t expect to be where I was 14 months ago, but I expect to be at a pretty good level, create things and contribute. I’ll get a better idea of where I’m at once I start playing games, but I’m not going out there just to kill time.”

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.


Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’


Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.