Just two days after the Penguins were eliminated by the Rangers in Game 7 of their second-round series, the team’s two biggest stars have made up their minds regarding international competition.
Evgeni Malkin is set to join Russia for the World Championships, per Sports.ru’s Igor Eronko, while captain Sidney Crosby will pass on suiting up for Canada, according to the Post-Gazette.
Malkin’s decision to join Team Russia isn’t surprising, as a number of players that suited up for the squad that disappointed at the Winter Olympics have returned to make amends at the Worlds — Alex Ovechkin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Anton Belov, Nikolai Kulemin and Artem Anisimov, to name a few.
It’s also not surprising that Crosby’s elected to stay in North America. Canada’s contingent at the Worlds contains no players from the gold medal-winning Olympic squad and Crosby is coming off a year in which he played a significant amount of hockey: 80 regular-season games, six in Sochi and 13 in the postseason. It’s the most Crosby has played in four years.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.