Tag: James O’Brien


Letang (lower body) makes progress, not ready for Friday

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma remains mum about a timeline for defenseman Kris Letang’s return from a lower-body injury, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that he continues to make progress.

Along with participating in an optional skate on Friday, the 26-year-old also engaged in some contact drills.

Still, Letang won’t be good to for Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers. Bylsma said he’s “progressing” but that today’s practice isn’t an “indication that he’s ready to go or not ready to go.”

The team will keep a close eye on his progress over the weekend, though.

“We’ll probably see how the next three days go, to see how he’s progressing,” Bylsma said. “Whether he’s doing well with that, or whether we’d have to taper his progression.”

The Penguins visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday after tonight’s game against the Panthers in Florida. After that, they host the Edmonton Oilers at home on Oct. 15, visit the Flyers in Philly on the 17th and then play three straight home games from Oct. 19-25.

Pittsburgh isn’t saying how close Letang truly is, yet that schedule seems pretty friendly to a return, especially after this Florida swing.

Kings’ Williams expects ‘dirtier’ play from top players


After four up-and-down games, the Los Angeles Kings expect more from Anze Kopitar and their top line, so winger Justin Williams suggests that they add a little sandpaper.

“I’ve talked to Kopi [about] our 5-on-5 play, and we’re just going to get a little bit dirtier,” Williams said to LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen on Friday. “Play ourselves like grinders.”

(Hope you already had lunch today.)

The Kings are set to face Williams’ former team (/ex-girlfriends?) the Carolina Hurricanes tonight.

Kopitar’s four assists aren’t anything to sneeze at, but perhaps he’ll need to “get to the dirty areas” to score his first goal of the 2013-14 campaign (he’s 0 for 10 shots so far). Kopitar, Dustin Brown (two goals) and Williams (one goal) have fewer goals than Jeff Carter’s team-leading four, and only seven Kings have found the net, so it’s obvious that L.A. leans heavily on its top-six forwards.

Williams isn’t the only person asking for more elbow grease from talented players.

Slava slacking off?

Head coach Darryl Sutter was critical of defenseman Slava Voynov’s offseason efforts.

“He could’ve done more work this summer, and he’s going to have to do some more work to get his minutes back,” Sutter said.

Voynov, 23, is indeed averaging less ice time this season (20:11 per game) than in 2013 (22:18), something that was especially evident when he received less than 17 minutes of time against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. It’s tough to argue with Sutter when you look at Voynov’s numbers: zero goals, one assist, just five shots on goal and a -2 rating in four contests.

Simply put, the Kings need consistent production from Voynov after signing him to a hefty contract extension.

No one’s really bashing Jonathan Quick’s work just yet, but the Kings could definitely use some steadier play from their franchise goalie, too.

Avs place Hunwick on waivers


The Colorado Avalanche placed defenseman Matt Hunwick on waivers to make room for fellow blueliner Ryan Wilson, the Denver Post reports.

The 28-year-old hasn’t appeared in a regular season game for the Avs, so it probably shouldn’t be too shocking that he was the odd man out.

He collected six assists in 43 games last season for Colorado and began his time with the organization in 2010-11. He has one year left on a deal that carries a $1.6 million cap hit and salary, so there’s a good chance he’ll clear waivers and make it to the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters.

Hunwick was a seventh-round pick (224th overall), so he’s used to fighting for time.

Wilson, 26, was limited to 12 games last season, collecting three assists in that time.