The New York Islanders’ Kyle Okposo – John Tavares – Thomas Vanek line combined for an impressive 15 shots on goal in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium, but head coach Jack Capuano couldn’t help but critique that prolific trio.
“I’m not going to single certain guys out, but I think that line knows they can be better,” Capuano said. “I think we talked about it before with them. They tried to do a little too much. Less is more. You know, (Vanek) was in front of the goalie, Lundqvist, a few times and we never generated pucks through to him. That was the one area of the game that I thought could have been better.”
While Capuano saw room for improvement, Okposo – Tavares – Vanek left New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault gushing once again.
“That top line is one of the most dynamic lines I’ve seen in this game,” Vigneault said. “All young players, all guys that can skate and move the puck. Maybe tonight the fact that it was a little bit challenging made it a little bit tougher for them. We won the game, and we’re going to get ready for our next match-up on Friday against them.”
In other words, Vigneault might have a more literal viewpoint regarding Capuano’s “less is more” take (in that he probably hopes they’re a little less dynamic).
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.