The Blackhawks say they have approximately six guys gunning for a “couple” of roster spots this season.
So, there will be cuts.
While normally the toughest part of any coach’s job (save Homer Simpson), Joel Quenneville has become more comfortable with the idea of giving someone the axe.
“Earlier on it might have been a little more challenging,” Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Now I don’t mind it at all.”
The ‘Hawks are pretty much set on defense and in goal, meaning the lone spots up for grabs are at forward, where the club is looking to replace the likes of Michael Frolik, Dave Bolland and Viktor Stalberg.
Some names have already been chopped from consideration. Kyle Beach was put on waivers earlier today and Chicago previously bid farewell to 2012 first-rounder Teuvo Teravainen.
So, who’s still gunning for a job?
21-year-old Brandon Pirri, the club’s second-round pick at the ’09 Draft, is a name that continues to pop up. Pirri led AHL Rockford in scoring last season (75 points in 76 games) and has seven games of NHL experience under his belt.
Speaking of NHL experience, the likes of Jimmy Hayes (41 gmaes), Ben Smith (20) and Jeremy Morin (15) should also make a push for a job.
Whatever Quenneville’s decision is, it’ll have to happen soon. Chicago has just two preseason games and eight days left until it opens at home against Washington on Oct. 1.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.
Tonight was supposed to be about a clash of two Eastern Conference titans who sport arguably the two best goalies in the NHL. That mattered to Montreal Canadiens fans for about half the game against the New York Rangers, give or take a few minutes.
Priorities are now shifting to calling upon higher powers/etc. in hopes that Carey Price is OK.
Mike Condon replaced Price in the third period and … well, people are concerned.
Again, people are pretty worried right now.
Price being replaced isn’t the greatest sign, yet it’s early, so stay tuned for updates. Maybe it will merely be a matter of playing it safe?
Update: The good news is that Montreal won by a significant 5-1 margin.
Yes, that probably isn’t much solace for Habs fans. Agreed.
It sounds like Price re-aggravated his previous injury.