Tampa Bay coach blasts woeful penalty kill


The Tampa Bay Lightning have done a poor job of killing penalties this season, much to the chagrin of the coaches in charge of it.

“We showed them too much respect,” assistant coach Rick Bowness told the St. Petersburg Times after allowing three PP goals to Pittsburgh on Saturday. “We weren’t aggressive enough, just letting them stand there and make plays.

“We didn’t communicate enough and, quite honestly, we just didn’t compete hard enough.”

Tampa Bay’s penalty kill has fallen on hard times after starting a perfect 3-for-3 in a season-opening loss to Boston. The Bolts have allowed at least one power play goal in each of their last four games, including a pair against Buffalo on Oct. 8 and the aforementioned three against Pittsburgh.

All told, the Lightning own the NHL’s fifth-worst penalty kill in terms of percentage (68.2) and have given up the most 4-on-5 goals (seven) in the league.

Bowness said the entire PK is in a state of flux, including goalie Anders Lindback. Filling in for the injured Ben Bishop on Saturday, Lindback stopped just seven of 10 power play shots, including Matt Niskanen’s unscreened slapper that proved to be the game-winner:

“You can go work and compete, but if you don’t know what the other guy is doing then you’re working your butt off and doing nothing,” Bowness explained. “It’s five guys, including your goalie working together.”

In good news for the Tampa PK, Bishop was back on the ice Tuesday morning and looks to be the starter for Tampa Bay’s game against the Kings.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.