Author: Jason Brough

Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins

Morrow likes Bruins’ new system

Joe Morrow is optimistic that the Bruins’ new defensive system — one that’s predicated on skating and puck-moving — will fit his game and help the team.

“Absolutely, with my skating ability and the things I can do on the ice, I think it will be more effective come game time,” Morrow said, per NESN.

“It’s just more of an offensive-minded approach. Push the pace of play and show more of a skill level this year rather than the gritty performance and gritty defensive aspect of things. It’s still going to be there 100 percent, that part is not going to change at all, but you will see a lot more of the skilled forwards and skilled defensemen contribute to the offense a lot more.”

Yet another reason, beyond the departure of Dougie Hamilton, that the Bruins’ blue line will be very much under the microscope this season.

Morrow, 22, was a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011. Since then, he’s been traded twice while appearing in just 15 NHL games.

Despite still being on a two-way contract, Morrow is no longer exempt from waivers, according to

Related: Zach Trotman is looking to make the leap

Backstrom ‘could miss five games, ten games, I don’t know’

Boston Bruins v Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals have too much on the line in 2015-16 to risk the health of one of their top players in the first month of the season.

That’s why center Nicklas Backstrom isn’t going to rush his way back from the arthroscopic hip surgery he had in May.

“It could be opening night (that he returns), I could miss five games, ten games, I don’t know,” Backstrom told the Washington Post. “It’s all about how I’m doing, I think.”

The Caps open the regular season Oct. 10 versus New Jersey.

“I’m going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing,” Backstrom said. “I’m not going to play on 90 percent.”

Sabres’ McCormick fails physical, out indefinitely

Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils

The Buffalo Sabres announced today that forward Cody McCormick, who has had issues with blood clots, did not pass his training camp physical and is out indefinitely.

McCormick last played a game on Jan. 9. The 32-year-old was originally diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg. The clots soon spread to his lungs. (For more on that, click here.)

The club also announced today that defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen would miss the first 7-10 days of training camp due to an upper-body injury.

Thanks to Niemi signing, Lehtonen won’t have to play ‘tired, hurt, or whatever’

Kari Lehtonen

The importance of having two reliable goalies was perfectly demonstrated by the 2014-15 Dallas Stars.

Unfortunately for the Stars, it was demonstrated in a bad way.

This year, with Antti Niemi joining Kari Lehtonen, they’re hoping to show it in a good way.

“We’ve got two No. 1 goalies,” GM Jim Nill told The Dallas Morning News. “If there’s an injury or one of them is struggling, we’ve got time to get it corrected. We know when we go into a back-to-back situation, we have a fresh goalie that will be able to come in and win a game for us. I’m excited. We’ve had some good talks with both goalies and they’re excited. Kari went into a lot of games last year knowing he had to play even though he was tired, hurt, or whatever. He knows now that he has a comfort level.”

Nill had better hope his plan works, because based on combined cap hit, no team is spending as much on goaltending as Dallas.

Goalie caps

Above figures from

Healthy Penguins eager to get started as camp begins

Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) General manager Jim Rutherford spent the offseason shuffling the Pittsburgh Penguins roster behind stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Time to find out what coach Mike Johnston can do with the new – and in some cases not so new – talent at his disposal.

The Penguins open training camp on Friday with a handful of familiar faces back after an injury-marred 2014-15 and more than a few fresh ones in place.

Welcome back Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis and Olli Maatta. Welcome to town Phil Kessel, Eric Fehr and Sergei Plotnikov.

A franchise that limped into the postseason – and was quickly ushered out by the New York Rangers in five games – appears rejuvenated. Rutherford hopes his busy summer means the Penguins won’t have to rely so heavily on its top two lines and the stars tasked with carrying them.

“We had a good offseason, especially with our forwards,” Rutherford said Thursday. “We clearly have more depth up front than we did a year ago. We’ll have a lot more balance. We’ll be able to play the game different ways and I think we’ll have a better chance to score.”

Forwards Kessel, Fehr, Plotnikov and Nick Bonino were each brought in via trade or free agency. Kessel will play to the right of either Crosby or Malkin, while the rest fill out the bottom six to give the Penguins potentially its deepest crop of forwards since they won the Stanley Cup in 2009.

“I think both (Crosby) and (Malkin) play with pace and speed to their game,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “They’re both a little bit different in how they play the game, but they both play with speed. So, the one thing I like with Phil is he carries his speed well. He’s a dangerous attack player with the puck. He can play a give-and-go game.

“Both of those centers play with a give-and-go attitude.”

Rutherford said each player, except Fehr, has been cleared to participate in training camp. Fehr, who underwent shoulder surgery June 3, could start shooting the puck in two weeks and make his Penguins debut one month into the regular season, Rutherford said.

Dupuis will enter the mix when he returns from a blood clot in his lung that was deemed potentially career-threatening last November. Letang and Maatta, Pittsburgh’s highest-profile defensemen, will also return from season-ending injuries to strengthen a young defensive corps.

“In particular, those three guys (Letang, Maatta and Dupuis), you talk to them, all three are very driven,” Johnston said. “They’re all positive. Like Dupuis, last year, I appreciated everything he did. He worked right to the end to try to be ready for us if we extended our playoff series long enough so that he’d have a chance to get back in. Olli Maatta has had two bad injuries since he’s been here, but we couldn’t have a more positive young guy.

“Then Kris Letang, I just watched him in the room with his tests, he’s a machine now.”