While we’re unsure of the motive behind Glen Sather’s comments about the Pittsburgh Penguins, we definitely know they’ve raised some eyebrows.
“They’re obviously, I think, the best team in the league,” the New York GM told ESPN, one day before the Rangers were set to host the Penguins at MSG. “With [Crosby] back, it’s certainly going to make it a lot more difficult.”
There are two ways of looking at Sather’s remarks. One, they’re clever gamesmanship — pumping Pittsburgh’s tires (and heads) while indirectly challenging his club who, you’ll recall, still sits atop the Eastern Conference.
Two: Simple honesty.
The Penguins have won nine straight and are expected to return the services of both their captain (Crosby) and best defenseman (Kris Letang) on Thursday. They’re just six points back of the Blueshirts for first in the conference with a game in hand, meaning Thursday’s tilt at MSG holds additional importance. It’s a classic four-pointer the hockey world will be transfixed on.
“I think we’ll be excited to play,” said Sather. “They’re a great team, they’ve got their full lineup. We’re missing some people. It’s going to be a good contest. We’ll give them a fight.”
Well played, Slats. Well played.
Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.
Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.
The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.
Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.