There was a welcome sight on the ice for Washington during Wednesday’s morning skate in Toronto — Brooks Laich.
The veteran forward participated in a morning skate for the first time this season as his mates prepped to face the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
Laich, 29, has been held out of all six Capitals games with a groin injury
suffered while playing in the Swiss league during the lockout.
While Washington has yet to put a timetable on Laich’s return, it’s obvious they’d love to have him in the lineup soon.
The versatile forward is been one of the Caps’ heart and soul guys, having spent eight years in the nation’s capital.
In 2011-12, Laich led all Washington forwards in blocked shots (92) while still managing to score 16G-25A-41PTS, sixth-most on the club.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.
After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:
Record at the end of October: 5-5-2
Record at the end of November: 11-11-3
As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.
The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?
Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.
They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.
The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?
Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.
Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.
That apparently won’t happen regarding
Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.
told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his
“stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t
as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.
OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.
For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.
You can watch all three goals in the video above.
It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.
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.