Bring on the blowouts? Doughty says goal differential ‘huge’ at Olympics


Opening-round blowouts at the Olympics can be embarrassing for the team on the losing end but, as Canada’s Drew Doughty points out, they could be vitally important in the long run.

“I don’t think you ever want to take your foot off the gas regardless of the rules,” Doughty said, per the Olympic News Service. “We don’t ever want to embarrass teams if we have the opportunity to do that, but at the same time goal differential is huge.”

Doughty’s right that goal differential is a big deal. At the end of the preliminary round, all 12 teams are ranked to determine which eight go to the qualification playoffs, and which four get automatic quarterfinal berths.

Rankings are determined by 1) highest position in respective group; 2) highest number of points, 3) better goal difference, 4) high number of goals scored for, 5) 2013 IIHF World Ranking.

At the 2010 games in Vancouver, Finland and the Czech Republic finished the preliminary stage second in their respective groups, each with six points. That meant the deciding factor came to goal difference, and Finland — thanks in large part to 5-1 and 5-0 blowouts over Belarus and Germany — had the better differential, meaning it got the fourth-place ranking and a quarterfinal berth.

The Czechs, meanwhile, had to go through the qualification round and barely squeaked by Latvia in OT.

As such, Doughty re-iterated the importance of scoring goals in the preliminary round, and conceding as few as possible.

“We need to put pucks in the net and we have to keep them out of ours,” he said. “We’re not going to take our foot off the pedal. We’re just going  to keep going. We don’t want to develop bad habits.”

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
Leave a comment

There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

Leave a comment

The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.