Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders

NHL providing learning experience for Leafs’ Holzer

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Korbinian Holzer was taken to school last week by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz, which led to Sidney Crosby’s spin-o-rama backhand pass to Pascal Dupuis, which led to a goal.

Here’s a look:

A great goal from the Penguins, but a valuable learning experience for Holzer, who, as per an article in the Globe and Mail by James Mirtle, recently spent time working with Leafs’ assistant coach Scott Gordon on ways to improve.

“We just talked about what I could have done differently so it’s just slight adjustments,” Holzer told the Globe and Mail.

“It happens pretty quick out there. But it’s good to know now what other perspectives you can have and maybe do it better next time.

“You’ve got to give them credit, too. Not many players can do that spin-o-rama pass backhand. That’s a pretty sick play and it’s hard to defend.”

The depth of the Leafs defence has also been called into question. Prior to this season, Holzer had just two games of NHL experience, and the lack of experience is beginning to show.

In the last six games, Holzer, who is averaging 18:30 of ice time per game, is a combined minus-10.

The Leafs did add depth to their defence, albeit down on the farm. Morgan Rielly, the Leafs 19-year-old prospect and a first-round pick from last year’s NHL Entry Draft, has been assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and is expected to report to the club on Wednesday.

The Leafs are suddenly in a slump, having lost their last five games.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella
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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.