Author: James O'Brien

Pascal Dupuis

Dupuis in for Pens


Despite suffering what appeared to be a severe injury Thursday night against the Dallas Stars, Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis in in the lineup tonight against the New York Islanders.

Dupuis was stretchered off of the ice on Thursday after an unlucky series of events in which teammate Kris Letang’s shot hit his head:

Dupuis managed to skate on Friday, but this morning’s developments were even more promising, as he took his usual spot alongside Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Sutter.’s Wes Crosby shares some more details about that scary moment:

It’s been a tough year or so for Dupuis, who doesn’t even have feeling in one of his knees after getting it surgically repaired. Despite all these troubles, he has four points in three games and has made a more immediate impact than many expected given his knee issues.

It’s almost difficult to resist a “hockey players are tough” line here, isn’t it?

Here are some additional Penguins injury updates:

Coach Q to Blackhawks: Less cute, more ugly

The beautiful and cruel thing about hockey is that sometimes one team can absolutely dominate another, yet that dominated team’s goalie can just shut the door.

On face value, that seems like it was the case on Wednesday, as Jonas Hiller stole a 2-1 overtime win for the Calgary Flames despite 50 Chicago Blackhawks shots, making the most saves in a Calgary win in 20 years.

It doesn’t sound like Joel Quenneville just wants to chalk that defeat up to running into a hot goalie, though. Instead, the mustachioed bench boss broke down tape and told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Blackhawks passed up 15 opportunities and 10 “A-plus chances” in that loss. With that, Quenneville sent players this message:

Stop being so nice; start being more selfish. Stop being so creative; start being more direct. Stop being so cute; start being more ugly.

Blackhawks players said all the right things in that article in the Chicago Sun-Times, but take a look at some of the saves Hiller had to make on Wednesday:

Here’s one hypothesis:

Quenneville’s had too much time to think about this.

The Blackhawks played last Saturday, Wednesday and will finally play again tonight. As much as hockey coaches gripe about back-to-back and travel, one almost gets the feeling that some of them are better off having quick turnarounds rather than too much time to stew about a specific loss.

Chicago’s far and away the best possession team so far in this very young season, and while facing the Flames and Buffalo Sabres obviously inflates those numbers, the point is that the Blackhawks seem primed to be a dangerous offensive team once again in 2014-15.

Now, if a well-rested Blackhawks team can’t take advantage of a rising Nashville Predators team on the end of a back-to-back set, then there might be more cause for concern.

Report: Isles’ Grabovski is experiencing concussion symptoms

San Jose Sharks v New York Islanders

At first, it seemed as if New York Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski didn’t suffer a concussion from a huge hit by San Jose Sharks enforcer John Scott, but it appears that he began experiencing such issues on Friday.

New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple provides the unfortunate updates:

Friday’s news regarding the 30-year-old being out indefinitely already planted seeds that the situation was getting worse. Staple reports that Grabovski won’t be evaluated again until early next week, so it likely leaves him doubtful for Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (featuring his former coach/adversary Randy Carlyle).

Here’s video of the vicious hit:

Grabovski’s coming off a tough-luck season of injuries in 2013-14, as he was only able to play in 58 games during his lone campaign with the Washington Capitals. Grabovski was already making an impact on Long Island, scoring two goals and one assist for three points in four games.

The undefeated Islanders enter a showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

Ducks taking cautious route regarding Heatley’s return

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings

When the Anaheim Ducks signed Dany Heatley, the ideal scenario would be that the faded star would rekindle his scoring touch thanks to all the room provided by Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that it’s still unknown when he’ll even debut in the 2014-15 regular season.

The Orange County Register reports that Heatley is hoping to return from his groin injury “sooner rather than later,” one of the few phrases more frustrating than “day-to-day.”

“It’s been getting better,” Heatley said. “Hopefully one day, I’m just going to wake up and be ready to go.”

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week that the timetable for his return is expected to be around Oct. 26 (against San Jose), but it sounds like Heatley and the Ducks are practicing due diligence. Both sides seem to lean toward getting him back at full strength rather than risking re-injury, as head coach Bruce Boudreau noted on Saturday.

“I’m aiming for him to come back when he’s ready,” Boudreau told the OC Register. “We haven’t been playing the game of, ‘Oh geez, it would be nice for the Buffalo game or nice for any game. When he’s ready to play, he’ll come back.

“I’m sure he’s dying … chomping at the bit but he’s not ready. So if he’s not ready, we don’t want to re-hurt you.”

So far, Getzlaf and Perry have lined up most frequently with Matt Beleskey (three goals in five games played) and Patrick Maroon (three assists in three games), according to Left Wing Lock.

Those numbers aren’t bad, really; besides, the Ducks’ 4-1-0 record indicates that they aren’t hurting too badly without Heatley.

More than anything else, the Ducks might just want to know what they have in the winger. Will he be someone who can help them break through in the playoffs are will he be a healthy scratch like he was in Minnesota? The sooner he can get on the ice and start providing Bruce Boudreau & Co. with a sample size of games to work with, the sooner they’ll know if they need to keep searching for other answers.

Goalie nods: Big tests (and opportunities) for backups

Edmonton Oilers v St. Louis Blues
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All the latest from the blue paint…

Big challenges for backups

If a variety of NHL head coaches want to gauge how much they can truly trust their No. 2 options, then Saturday presents plenty of interesting tests.

No pressure, kid – Calvin Pickard looks primed to man the Colorado Avalanche’s net as Patrick Roy takes his struggling team to face Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. Those are some long odds for Pickard, 22. If Roy is providing any words of advice, it appears that they won’t be too specific, as he told’s Arpon Basu that he’s actually very hands-off with goalies:

Jake finally gets his shot – Brian Elliott has made it really tough for Jake Allen to argue that the St. Louis Blues’ goaltending situation is a true 1A/1B situation, but Allen finally starts against Mike Smith and the Arizona Coyotes tonight. The Coyotes don’t have the most dangerous offense on paper, so the Blues probably expect impeccable work from their potential goalie of the future.

Goaltending coach Jim Corsi (yes, that Corsi) had glowing words for Allen:

Battle of backups – It looks like there will be at least two battles between backup goalies tonight. The Washington Capitals look primed to roll out Justin Peters against a Florida Panthers team starting Al Montoya after Roberto Luongo shut out the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Robin Lehner gets a chance to work his way back into more of a platoon with the Ottawa Senators while the Columbus Blue Jackets must trust Curtis McElhinney considering the fact that they’re tied for the NHL lead with the most back-to-back games this season. Sergei Bobrovsky can only do so much.

Opportunities for Svedberg, Gustavsson – On paper, facing Jhonas Enroth and a Buffalo Sabres team coming off of a back-to-back is a golden opportunity for Boston Bruins backup Niklas Svedberg. If Friday’s game and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ struggles are any indication, Jonas Gustavsson gets a nice opportunity tonight, too. That said, Jonathan Bernier should be plenty motivated if he starts for Toronto, as expected.

To round out the No. 2 talk, Vancouver Canucks backup Eddie Lack faces a tough challenge in Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning.


  • The San Jose Sharks are starting Antti Niemi in an interesting test against Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils.
  • Speaking of interesting tests, Jaroslav Halak gets another nod from the New York Islanders as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are expected to continue starting Marc-Andre Fleury.
  • The Dallas Stars opt for Kari Lehtonen, most likely against the Philadelphia Flyers’ Steve Mason.
  • The Nashville Predators seem likely to go back to Pekka Rinne after last night’s shutout. He’ll face a big challenge in the Chicago Blackhawks, who are rolling with Corey Crawford.