Sidney Crosby, Dan Bylsma

Chasing 82: Bylsma won’t rest Crosby down stretch


For everything Sidney Crosby’s accomplished during his eight-year career, playing all 82 games in a single season has eluded him.

But this year, he’s got a shot to do it — and his head coach seems keen on getting him there. From the L.A. Times:

Dan Bylsma has no intention of resting Crosby before the playoffs.

“I think Sid remembers too well not playing all the games in a season and, I think, cherishes playing every game,” Bylsma said. “Whether it’s 82 or 78, he’s been there for us all year long.

“I got a plaque for playing all 82 games one time. I used it in the winter to make sure my tires didn’t slide in the driveway.”

Crosby’s twice gotten to the 81 games plateau. The first time came during his rookie campaign and the second occurred in the 2009-10 season, when he won his first and only Maurice Richard trophy as the league’s top goalscorer, with 51 tallies.

Since then, health has been an issue. To say the least.

Concussion problems and a broken jaw have seen him miss 113 games over the last three seasons, which makes this year so special — Crosby’s shouldering a full load, averaging over 22 minutes per game, while being one of just five Penguins to play in all 75 games.

Not that he’s about to start patting himself on the back.

“You just play,” Crosby told the Times. “I’ve always tried to take care of myself and you train in the off-season to be strong and hopefully play a full season and sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. In my case it’s happened a lot that it hasn’t.

“You just try to play the same way every night and play hard and trust that will get you through it.”

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.