SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 10: (L-R) Chris Kunitz #14 and Sidney Crosby #87 of Team Canada practice on day three of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Arena on February 10, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Canada focused on the ‘dirty areas’ ahead of quarterfinals


Before the Olympic tournament started, Canada coach Mike Babcock warned that “it’s so easy to be stuck on the outside on the big ice and think you are doing something because you are standing in your zone.”

He asserted that in order to score, the Canadians would need to take the middle of the ice, and their narrow 2-1 victory against Finland on Sunday only reinforced that point. If they can’t start claiming that premium space, then opposing nations will continue to frustrate them, despite their edge when it comes to skilled forwards.

To that end, Jamie Benn has been placed on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the hopes that the trio will be able to, as Benn put it, “use our size and strength to our advantage.”

“We have to find a way to get to the dirty areas and find a way to get some basic goals,” Benn continued, per the Olympic News Service.

Chris Kunitz, who was reunited with Sidney Crosby during Monday’s practice, had some more thoughts on what it would take to move into the tough areas.

“Puck movement,” Kunitz told PHT’s Jason Brough. “Speed away from the puck. Driving lanes. Capitalizing on those one-on-one battles. As soon as you beat your guy, you’ve got to make sure you’re moving the puck, or moving your feet to get to an area.”

Canada will play against the winner of Switzerland versus Latvia in the quarterfinals. The Swiss in particular are a superb defensive team and they would be a big test for the Canadians.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?