Sidney Crosby

Gary Roberts believes Sidney Crosby wasn’t 100 percent in playoffs


For all the criticism that Evgeni Malkin received for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first round series to the Philadelphia Flyers, he ultimately had the same amount of points (eight) as Sidney Crosby. It’s not a popular thought – two early goals in particular made it seem like everything was fine – but some might have wondered if Crosby was “all there.”

Gary Roberts is one of those people. Here is what he told The Canadian Press.

“Sidney Crosby needs to be in elite shape to perform at the level that he needs to perform at,” Roberts said. “I haven’t talked to him, but I don’t think he was feeling great. You can’t miss that much time in a season, even Sidney Crosby.”

Roberts knows fitness and Crosby (he briefly played alongside him in Pittsburgh), so he carries some extra credibility. The imposing ex-NHLer draws on his experience with another great center as an another example.

“Look at Mats Sundin,” Roberts said. “He took six months off, went back to Vancouver and he told me ‘Holy crap, I worked hard off the ice and I can’t believe how bad I feel out there.”‘

Interesting stuff. Finally, Roberts quite reasonably gave Crosby the benefit of the doubt about skipping the 2012 Hockey World Championships.

“Players can’t afford to be healing in the summer,” Roberts said. “You’ve got to be getting stronger and preparing for the next year. The summers are not for relaxation to the point that you don’t work.”

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: