An afternoon game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators has been physical early on, perhaps in part because of this huge hit by Zach Sill on Kyle Turris:
Between the hit and fight that ensued, Sill accrued 20 penalty minutes (five-minute majors for fighting and interference, plus a game misconduct). The 26-year-old hasn’t been suspended in his career. Turris, 25, returned to the contest during the first period, so the early outlook is good for his health.
(Naturally, these things sometime change later on in games or even afterward.)
The general reaction is that Sill doesn’t deserve a fine or suspension, with some believing it wasn’t worthy of a five-minute major, either.
Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves as the New York Islanders edged the Ottawa Senators 2-1 Thursday night.
With the win Halak set a new franchise record.
Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas had the goals for the Islanders, who have won three straight.
Mika Zibanejad had the lone Sens goal on a night former captain Daniel Alfredsson was honored.
With the loss, Ottawa has lost four straight including back-to-back against the Islanders.
Daniel Alfredsson took pre-game skate one last time as a member of the Ottawa Senators after signing a one-day contract with the club.
He spoke with TSN’s Brent Wallace about the experience:
Prior to puck drop, Alfredsson addressed his fans at the Canadian Tire Center:
And participated in a ceremonial face-off with defenseman Erik Karlsson:
Jonathan Drouin’s rookie campaign has seen its ups and downs — nine points in 18 games, a couple of healthy scratches — but overall, the Bolts are happy with how he’s played so far and still undecided about lending him to Team Canada for the World Juniors.
“We’re really pleased with how he’s coming along,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s doing a lot of good things. We only expect him to get better.”
When asked about Drouin’s availability for the Worlds, Yzerman replied “time will tell.”
Drouin, 19, is one of four NHLers Hockey Canada is monitoring for a potential loan for the Worlds — Vancouver’s Bo Horvat, Ottawa’s Curtis Lazar and the Rangers’ Anthony Duclair are the others. Drouin, however, plays for a Lightning team that’s loaded with depth at forward; on Thursday, the Lightning sent Vladislav Namestnikov down to AHL Syracuse not because he was playing poorly — the former first-rounder had 10 points in 23 games this year — but because playing opportunities were so limited with the big club.
“There are points in the season when you’re healthy, and there are probably more points in the season where you’re not,” head coach Jon Cooper explained, per Fox Sports Florida. “We’re healthy. We have numbers. The same thing happened to [Cedric] Paquette a month ago, and now it has happened to Vlady. Do we expect Vlady to be in the minors for the rest of the season? Most certainly not. But it’s a situation where if he’s going to be in and out of the lineup here, why not get to a situation to play games? And so, he’s a phone call away.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Tampa Bay adheres to that philosophy with Drouin. He’s averaging over 13 minutes a night this year but has seen his ice times dip recently, getting 9:37 in Saturday’s win over Minnesota and 10:19 in Monday’s win over the Rangers. With Team Canada, Drouin would be a front-line player (and a potential captain) and the loan out wouldn’t be very long — the Worlds take place in Toronto and Montreal from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Stars turn to Rynnas
Jussi Rynnas will make his Dallas debut tonight — and play in the NHL for the first time since Feb. 2013 — when the Stars take on the Wings in Detroit.
The Finnish netminder, who first broke in with Toronto but came back to North America this year after a stint in the SM-liiga, had previously spent all of this season with Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas. But with Anders Lindback (who cleared waivers today, and is headed to the minors) and Kari Lehtonen struggling, Stars brass opted to give Rynnas a shot.
Rynnas has fared reasonably well at the AHL level this season, going 5-1-4 with a .913 save percentage and 2.58 GAA.
For Detroit, Jimmy Howard gets the call in goal.
Canucks at Pens: Eddie Lack vs. Thomas Greiss
Caps at ‘Canes: Braden Holtby vs. Anton Khudobin
Jackets at Panthers: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Roberto Luongo
Isles at Sens: Jaroslav Halak vs. Craig Anderson
Devils at Leafs: Cory Schneider vs. Jonathan Bernier
Blues at Preds: Martin Brodeur vs. Pekka Rinne
Avs at Flames: Semyon Varlamov vs. Karri Ramo
Kings at Coyotes: Mike Smith for Arizona, Martin Jones likely for L.A.
Bruins at Sharks: Antti Niemi for San Jose, no word yet on a Boston starter.