Steve Yzerman

Yzerman: Team Canada putting ‘more of a premium’ on skating


The day after announcing invites to Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp, GM Steve Yzerman shed some light into the selection process for Sochi.

“There will be more of a premium placed on skating,” he told Sportsnet. “Playing with a bigger ice surface, I believe there is a priority and an importance in being able to get around the ice, to skate.

“That weighed into our decision (for camp invites) and will weigh into our final decisions on putting this team together.”

Putting a priority on skating was evidence in the camp selection process.

One key member of Canada’s gold medal-winning side of four years ago, Jarome Iginla, wasn’t invited. Despite setting up Sidney Crosby for the game-winning goal in 2010, Iginla has slowed since the Vancouver Olympics, when games were played on an NHL-sized sheet of ice — in Sochi, players will skate on a sheet that’s 15 feet wider with more space behind the goal lines.

Yzerman’s invites acknowledge the change.

Speedsters like Taylor Hall and Matt Duchene were added to the forward group while on defense, the likes of P.K. Subban and Kris Letang were invited, whereas more physical, stay-at-home defensemen like Francois Beauchemin and Dan Girardi were passed over.

Yzerman said he learned lessons from the 2006 games in Turin, when a slower, big-bodied Canadian team (featuring Adam Foote, Todd Bertuzzi and Robyn Regehr) struggled to adapt to the larger surface.

“I just felt that (the Turin) team needed more speed, both on the back end and up front,” he said. “We’ll have a more mobile group this year.”

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
Leave a comment

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.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

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.