Author: Jason Brough

Mike Johnston

Columnist: Don’t fire Johnston when Pens lose to Rangers


I’m not even passing this along because the argument is particularly compelling or sensational. It just struck me that the Penguins-Rangers series hasn’t even started and already one prominent Pittsburgh columnist is campaigning in defense of the coach. Is that how dire the outlook’s turned in the City of Bridges?

From Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review:

Mike Johnston should survive.

He probably won’t. The best case anybody can make for his Penguins to upset the Stanley Cup favorite is … well, it’s the playoffs and anything can happen, so who knows?

Everybody knows how this is going to go.

Translation: Rossi believes the Pens have no chance against the Rangers. That’s a pretty bold take, even considering Pittsburgh’s injury situation and how many games Sidney Crosby and company lost down the stretch.

All I know is, when it comes to the NHL playoffs, sometimes it’s darkest right before dawn. You gotta keep the faith.

(Then again, I did write this.)

Desjardins defends limited ice time for Sedins

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

Vancouverites woke up this morning, turned on the radio, and heard all about how Canucks coach Willie Desjardins got out-coached in last night’s 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.

Many listeners did not disagree.

In particular, people wanted to know — why did Daniel Sedin, a top-10 scorer in the NHL during the regular season, only play 16:14 while forwards like Nick Bonino (16:24) and Chris Higgins (16:53) played more? The former was the best Canuck, Corsi-wise, in the game; the latter two were the worst. So it’s not like the coach could say he was just rewarding the guys who were playing well.

Desjardins was asked about it following this morning’s practice.

“We play our best when we’re fresh,” he said. “Maybe [the Sedins] should have had a couple more minutes, probably wouldn’t have hurt. But … there’s no sense burning them out one game. They’re going to be fresh for the next game, and maybe in the end that’ll pay off.”

This storyline is, of course, an extension from last year when then-coach John Tortorella was accused of overplaying the Sedins. Ever since taking over, Desjardins has preached a four-line mantra, a philosophy that paid off in a return to form for the twins and a playoff berth for the team.

Still, just 16:14 for Daniel? And only 4:45 in the third period when the game was on the line? That’s going to get people talking.

Desjardins is apparently taking the long view here. The most any Canuck played in Game 1 was 22:11, logged by defenseman Alex Edler. Radim Vrbata led the forwards at 17:50; Henrik Sedin played just 17:29.

In stark contrast, Flames coach Bob Hartley rode his top players, with three d-men — Dennis Wideman (30:03), Kris Russell (29:07), and T.J. Brodie (26:05) — playing big minutes. Sean Monahan led the forwards with 20:09.

We’ll see how it pays off for each coach. Desjardins will be hoping it’s a long series and that his rested players can eventually take over from the theoretically fatigued Flames. Hartley will be hoping for a short one, with time to rest up for the second round.

Game 2 goes tomorrow in Vancouver.

(Video) PHT Extra: Sens need to control their emotions after Subban slash

P.K. Subban,

For the record, we shot this video before the Senators revealed that Mark Stone had a microfracture in his right wrist as a result of P.K. Subban’s controversial slash.

Regardless of whether Subban should have been suspended or not (the NHL takes injuries into account when determining supplemental discipline), the Sens absolutely need to regroup and get in control of their emotions, which is exactly what their coach, Dave Cameron, was preaching this morning:

Anyway, we also touch on the Blackhawks-Predators game, and how Nashville could live to regret blowing that 3-0 lead:

Wisniewski to be healthy scratch for Ducks


Trade-deadline acquisition James Wisniewski will be a healthy scratch for the Anaheim Ducks when they open their first-round series tonight at home versus Winnipeg.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau explained his decision to park the veteran defenseman in the press box and go with a pairing of Clayton Stoner and Sami Vatanen instead.

“They have been teamed up all year,” said Boudreau. “Sami seems to play his best with Clayton, and now Clayton’s fully healthy, so I don’t see why he would lose his position. … I think those two have made a great pair together all year.”

The Ducks’ other defensive pairings are expected to be Hampus Lindholm with Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler with Simon Despres.

Related: For the Anaheim Ducks, it’s ‘time to step up’

Subban says he’s ‘never threatened anybody’

P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban insists he’s “never threatened anybody out there.”

The Canadiens’ star defender also insists he’s “been slashed a lot harder than” the chop he gave Ottawa’s Mark Stone last night in Montreal.

That slash, you’ll certainly know by now, earned Subban a five-minute major and game misconduct. And according to the Senators, it earned Stone a microfracture in his right wrist, with Ottawa GM Bryan Murray saying earlier today that Subban threatened Stone before the slash, and that Stone is “very questionable” for the rest of the series.

In conclusion, one side is saying one thing and the other side is saying another.

Game 2 goes tomorrow in Montreal.

Related: Report: No further discipline for Subban