It took all of one game for a playing time issue to unfold in Washington.
Martin Erat, acquired at last year’s trade deadline for Filip Forsberg, expressed disappointment with his role in the Capitals offense after playing just 9:01 in Tuesday’s season-opening loss to Chicago.
“It’s very frustrating. I don’t know what to think about it. It’s hard, I have no idea what’s happening,” Erat told the Washington Post. “If you played 11 years in the league, I don’t think you lose your position in three or four games in the preseason. I don’t know.”
Erat, 32, has struggled to find his niche in Washington. Knee and elbow injuries limited him to just nine regular season and four playoff games last year; the acquisition of Mikhail Grabovski and return to health of Brooks Laich have further clouded the issue as there’s a logjam for minutes at forward.
That said, it’s clear head coach Adam Oates isn’t quite sure what he has in Erat.
He moved the Czech forward all over the place during training camp, giving him skates at both center and wing on a number of different lines. Erat was also routinely playing alongside Mathieu Perreault, who was dealt to Anaheim last week.
A veteran of over 700 NHL contests, Erat said he’s willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the club, but acknowledged he needs to sort things out with Oates.
“I’m going to do what’s best for the team,” he explained. “Like I’m not going to decide I need to go and scream somewhere. It’s between me and [Oates], and we’ll see how it goes.”
Marner’s brilliant passing powers uplifting night for Leafs
Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.
For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.
It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.
There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.
Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.
Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.
This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.
Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.
While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.
Rate this as you will:
Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not: