For a team that won 70 percent of its home games last year, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 0-2 start at Consol Energy Center has been something of a stunner.
For their fans, it’s been frustrating to watch.
Last night, boos rained down on the Penguins during a 4-1 loss to the Islanders, a game in which Pittsburgh looked lethargic on special teams, going 0-for-3 on the power play while allowing the Isles to score on both of their man advantages.
“You can’t say they weren’t right in booing us,” Pascal Dupuis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You don’t want to hear it.
“At the same time, a slap in the face maybe won’t hurt.”
Pittsburgh could point to fatigue as the reason for its lackluster play. The Pens have played four of their first five on the road and four games in six nights, including a Friday-Sunday stretch in Winnipeg and Ottawa.
That said, nobody in the dressing room seemed ready to make that excuse — especially after such a poor outing on home ice.
“We’re not putting a very good product out there,” Chris Kunitz said. “They’re coming to watch supposedly a good team that goes out and plays, and we’re not doing that right now.
“[Booing is] what we’ve got to expect if that’s how we’re going to play.”
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.