James O'Brien

Sidney Crosby
AP

Still no wins for Penguins, still zero points for Crosby

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It’s just three games … it’s just three games … it’s only three games.

That’s the thought that has to run through the heads of many people around the Pittsburgh Penguins, even if other organizations seem to believe they’re going “off the rails” in similar situations.

In falling to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, the Penguins at least managed a couple goals. One of them even had players grabbing assists.

Still, there’s no denying the headlines to many:

Zero standings points for the Penguins; zero goals and zero assists for Sidney Crosby.

Ouch.

There was some progress, mind you.

Crosby fired four SOG, up from a troubling zero in the first two games. One would think that Crosby and Phil Kessel still require some time to “click.”

The Penguins even reunited Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the power play.

It’s small potatoes for Penguins fans watching Max Pacioretty generate better offense than their entire team … but babysteps, right?

Sharks blank Caps, in part thanks to Orlov’s disallowed goal

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With Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup, the Washington Capitals need all the help they can get in scoring against the San Jose Sharks.

The new coach’s challenge process did not help.

As you can see from the video above, Dmitry Orlov‘s would-be goal was overturned, leaving the Capitals down 3-0.

Here’s the league explanation via its Situation Room blog.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Washington’s Jay Beagle interfered with Jones before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.”

This created much outrage and irritation from hockey fans and onlookers, at least as the controversy of the night.

It probably doesn’t help that Tim Peel was the official on hand …

… And so on.

Update: That non-goal only burns more with the final score being 5-0 in favor of the Sharks. Woof.

Taylor Hall is in for the Oilers

Taylor Hall
AP
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On paper, the Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars stands as a must-watch affair, at least if you can look past shaky defense.

(Heck, for some, looser defense only makes it a better watch.)

Having Taylor Hall in the mix for Edmonton makes a difference in that regard, especially as Connor McDavid continues to strive for his first career NHL goal. After some suspense, it appears that Hall will, indeed, be able to go on Tuesday.

This happy occasion makes it OK to share this awkward photo of Hall, then, right?

via AP

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
AP
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.