Claude Julien meant it as a compliment, though we can hear the snickering already.
Today, ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, here’s what the Bruins’ head coach had to say about his team’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks:
“When you look at their back end, they have a lot of Kris Letangs, let’s put it that way, that can carry the puck up the ice and attack.”
Never mind that Letang, like the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins stars, would probably like to forget their performance against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final.
Letang, at his best, is a smooth-skating defensman with an offensive flair, and the same can be said about Chicago’s Duncan Keith, who has 11 points in 16 games for the ‘Hawks this postseason.
Johnny Oduya, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Nick Leddy are three other mobile Chicago blue-liners that can make it tough for a team to establish a forecheck.
As always when facing a mobile defense, the key for the Bruins will be to get possession, with speed, through the neutral zone, and if they can’t carry the puck in, at least dump it into the right spots and get after it.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.