For all the talk about Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, tonight’s Penguins – Capitals game was all about the goalies.
Ultimately, Marc-Andre Fleury bested Braden Holtby (shown best with Holtby slamming his stick against the bench after Nick Bonino‘s impressive empty-netter), and Pittsburgh bested Washington 3-1 on Wednesday.
Fleury’s efforts generated some well-deserved praise from onlookers.
It was a physical, nasty game at times, with all the missed shots maybe indicating that the two teams could use a few breaks to create more offense.
This leaves Pittsburgh in a strange spot.
Sidney Crosby and much of the offense is sputtering, even with Phil Kessel looking strong. The power play is … abysmal.
That would seem to spell disaster, yet the Penguins are now winners of five of their last six games.
Maybe it’s all about the positive spin, then. If Pittsburgh can generate offense on a regular basis, then perhaps the Penguins will be a contender once again?
That’s up to debate, but either way, a series against the Capitals would probably be a lot of fun, right?
The Carolina Hurricanes have returned Haydn Fleury to the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League.
The club also announced that they have assigned Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Brock McGinn, and Derek Ryan to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.
Fleury was selected seventh overall by the Hurricanes in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The 19-year-old scored six goals and 28 points in 63 games with Red Deer last season, and also added a goal in his only AHL contest with the Checkers.
The move means that Noah Hanifin will be sticking around.
The 18-year-old was the fifth overall selection in last June’s draft, and the ‘Canes must feel like he can contribute right away.
Hanifin had five goals, 23 points and plus-12 rating in his only season at Boston College.
The rookie skated on Carolina’s third pairing with Michal Jordan at practice earlier today.
They will enter the season with a young group of defensemen, as four of the team’s seven blueliners are 25-years-old or younger.
You know, Theo Fleury has a point: his life really has been a lot like a country song.
Granted, most people don’t associate country music with former Calgary Flames All-Stars, but he’s experienced the sort of hardships that go far beyond the cliche of losing your dog.
Either way, Fleury is embarking on a career in country music, as his album “I Am Who I Am” will be released via eOne Music Canada on Oct. 23.
His reps released the single “My Life’s Been a Country Song” on Thursday:
Not bad, right? (We’ll leave deeper analysis to country fans/experts/critics.)
“We wanted this to be a real grassroots album — ‘Let’s get back to fiddles and steel guitars and accordions and honky-tonk pianos, but put our own stamp on it,’ ” Fleury said, via eOne Music Canada. “We’re a bunch of guys who love that old-school country sound.”
It should be intriguing to see where this lands on the scale of athletes trying their luck at recording music.
Here’s a guess: Fleury will rank somewhere between Shaq’s misadventures and Wayman Tisdale’s triumphs.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Marc-Andre Fleury channeled the spirit of Charleston Chiefs goalie Denis Lemieux in his Slapshot send-up, with Root Sports’ Dan Potash playing the role of of Jim Carr:
Flames power forward Michael Ferland said he’s not worried about the lack of a new contract, even though training camp looms. (Calgary Herald)
Jeremy Roenick and Derek Plante have been named head coaches for this year’s All-American prospects game in Buffalo. (Buffalo News)
Denis Gurianov, taken 15th overall Dallas at this year’s draft, will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury suffered while playing in the KHL. (Stars Inside Edge)
In addition to Ray Emery, Tampa Bay is also bringing former Oilers and Panthers farmhand Ryan Martindale to camp on a PTO. (Tampa Bay Times)
Isles forward Frans Nielsen, who was hobbled by an ankle injury over the final two months of last season, says he’s fully recovered and feeling great. (Newsday)
The departure of Thomas Greiss and a record-breaking AHL season apparently aren’t enough to inspire the Pittsburgh Penguins to tab Matt Murray as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup, as the team website reports.
Management’s explanation is simple enough: Fleury is the No. 1 guy, so why not allow Murray to get more reps as the top dog in the AHL instead of being glued to the bench?
“He’s not coming in here and beating out Marc-Andre Fleury and taking over this team,” Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald said. “We love what we have down the line here, and it is down the line. He just turned 21. He needs to play hockey games. You can’t develop if he’s sitting on the bench. That’s just a fact.”
Although he said the Penguins knew he was good, Fitzgerald admitted that they didn’t expect him to generate the kind of 2014-15 campaign he did, winning the AHL’s goalie of the year award while putting up big numbers.
A devil’s advocate take might be that it’s sometimes wise to ride out surprise hot streaks with goalies. The Ottawa Senators rode Andrew Hammond’s out-of-left-field surge to a playoff berth while Devan Dubnyk went from the scrap heap to saving the Minnesota Wild’s season, and neither team anticipated either scenario, right?
Regardless, the good news for the Penguins is that Murray seems fine with both scenarios.
“I think either way could be good for me,” Murray said. “I think playing in the AHL wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but also practicing with the best players in the world wouldn’t be a bad thing either, so the way I look at it, either way I can take the positives out of it. Wherever I end up, I’m still going to have the same determinations and play the same way each and every day and let things take care of itself.”
Matching a record-breaking season might be asking for too much, but if Murray’s for real, he’ll get his big chance sooner or later.