Maybe it was the adrenaline of playing in his first game in 320 days. Maybe it was playing against the struggling Islanders. Maybe it was playing against a 4th string goaltender that had recently been called up from the American Hockey League. Whatever it was, the stars aligned for Sidney Crosby to return to the NHL in a made-for-TV setting. He looked like he hadn’t missed a single day.
Most people thought the true test would come in the following games. How would he play against better competition? How would he play in the second, third, and fourth games back when the adrenaline was gone and the grind started to set in?
That’s when reality sets in. That’s when he doesn’t step on the ice, score four points, and make a mockery of the best league in the world.
Tonight’s 3-2 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues was the first step for the Penguins playing with Crosby for the rest of the season. On Wednesday night, he played 18:41, had three minor penalties, and finished the game with a plus 1 rating. Not exactly the same storybook comeback game as he had against the Islanders. But then again, most people didn’t expect that on a nightly basis.
The next game for the Penguins is Friday evening against the Senators before they hit the road for a 4-game road trip. By the time the team returns to Pittsburgh for their date against the Boston Bruins on December 5th, we should have a better idea of where Crosby will be for the rest of the season.
Just a hunch, but he’ll probably be pretty good.
Paging Shanahan: Deveaux delivers ugly hit to Fleischmann’s head
NHL disciplinarian may have had a brief respite earlier this month, but the league’s players are doing their best to ensure his job security lately. In the latest reviewable offense, Rangers forward Andre Deveaux delivered a headshot to Florida’s dynamic forward Tomas Fleischmann during Florida’s 2-1 victory over New York.
Deveaux received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for an intentional hit to the head. Meanwhile, Tomas Fleischmann went to the locker room and missed the entire five-minute power play, but returned before the second period ended. The most important thing is that Fleischmann looks like he may have escaped serious injury: but it originally looked like it could be much worse.
It wasn’t just the dirty play, but it was unfortunate that Deveaux decided to deck Fleischmann. He had just set up a beautiful goal earlier in the second period when he deked around Artem Anisimov and dished the puck to a loaded Kris Versteeg. No surprise there: the Versteeg/Fleischmann/Weiss line has been one of the best trios in the entire league this season. No one every wants to see an injury—and the league has had enough of their highly skilled players laid out by “lesser” talented players.
No, it’s up to Brendan Shanahan. Principle point of contact was the head? Check. Elbow to the head? Check. Suspension? Pending. Deveaux might be out for a while. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.
As if losing to bitter rivals in a shootout wasn’t enough to ruin Buffalo fans’ night, here’s a bit of injury to add to the insult of defeat: Brad Boyes left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and was unable to return to the game. They could have used him as they ended up blowing their earlier 2-0 lead in regulation.
More important than the play in regulation, they could have used Boyes in the shootout. He is the Sabres best sniper in the skills competition. As luck would have it, the shootout went five rounds before Benoit Pouliot finished off the game with the only goal of the shootout. Wouldn’t you know it, the Sabres were unable to get a single puck past Tim Thomas as the Bruins won 4-3.
It was just last week that Boyes because only the 20th player in NHL history to play in 500 consecutive games. When he’s unable to play in the Sabres next game, it’ll be the first game he’s missed since becoming a regular in the NHL. Ironically, it’s a streak that started when he was with the Boston Bruins.
We’ll keep an eye for any additional news out of Buffalo.
Jagr leaves game early with lower-body injury… again
The hope was that Jaromir Jagr could use the New York Islanders as a nice way to ease himself back into the NHL schedule after a couple games out with a groin injury. But the Islanders would have none of that. Instead of thriving in his return, Jagr suffered a lower body injury early in the 2nd period and subsequently headed back to the locker room. Randy Miller reports that he was hurt on a rush along the left wing boards; we’re unsure if he aggravated the recovering groin or if this is a brand new lower-body injury. He didn’t return to the game.
This isn’t anything new for Jagr. It was less than a week ago when he was forced to leave the contest against the Coyotes. Since last Thursday, the Flyers have been forced to play without their offseason acquisition for the last two games. The early returns weren’t good as they lost both the struggling Winnipeg Jets and slumping Carolina Hurricanes.
The bright side for the Flyers is they were able to escape Long Island with an overtime victory. Still, fans and media will wait for any update on Jagr’s status. Beat writer San Carchidi already speculated that Jagr is doubtful for the Flyers next game in Montreal on Friday afternoon.
As usual, we’ll keep you updated as we received any updates.
There were plenty of fireworks in the first period of the Bruins vs. Sabres game in Buffalo. As expected, Milan Lucic was confronted the first time he stepped on the ice by the Sabres to atone for running Ryan Miller 11 days ago. Oh, but the two teams were just getting started. About halfway through the opening stanza, Paul Guastad took a run at Bruins pest Brad Marchand behind Boston’s net. Instead of turning the other cheek—the Bruins team responded the way you’d expect the Bruins react: violently.
As NESN’s Jack Edwards said during the melee: “Don’t poke the bear.”
At some point, the Sabres probably realized the best way to retaliate with the Bruins is to put the puck in the net when the Bruins take penalties. Two power play goals in the first 20 minutes should help drive that point home for the Buffaslugs. Two fights, two power play goals, passion all over the ice and excitement pulsing through the arena.
Feels like playoff hockey in November, doesn’t it?