Thursday was a good news, bad news sort of day in Toronto.
On the good, Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle announced rookie d-man Morgan Rielly would stick with the club for the season, rather than be dispatched back to WHL Moose Jaw.
“He’s earned the opportunity to be part of our group,” Carlyle explained, as per TSN.
Rielly, 19, has appeared in eight games for the Leafs this year, notching four assists while averaging over 18 minutes per night. Though he’s posted a minus-3 rating and has been a healthy scratch, Rielly has shown enough to stick with Toronto for the duration of the 2013-14 campaign.
So that’s the good.
The bad is that All-Star forward Joffrey Lupul, who hobbled off the ice during Thursday’s practice, didn’t return. Lupul took a puck off the foot (Carlyle appeared perturbed Lupul wasn’t wearing a shot blocker on his skates) and was headed for X-rays, according to TSN’s Jonas Siegel.
Lupul, 30, currently sits second on the team in scoring with six goals and 10 points in 10 games. But, as has often been the case with Lupul, injury threatens to derail a successful campaign — last year he missed extensive time with a concussion and broken forearm; the year prior, he was sidelined with a separated shoulder.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
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.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
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.