Sidney Crosby

PHT Morning Skate: The search for Colorado’s offense


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.

Gabriel Landeskog says he “can’t put his finger” on why the Colorado Avalanche haven’t been able to score a single goal in two games against the Minnesota Wild. How long will it take for Colorado to find some answers? (Denver Post)

Speaking of the Wild, head coach Mike Yeo thinks his team has a chance to win it all … yet he’s also scared about missing the playoffs altogether. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock believes that his team got its “identity back.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $5,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $800. Starts Wednesday at 1pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Chris Kunitz’s remarkable journey from “never being drafted” to becoming Sidney Crosby’s partner-in-crime … not to mention winning Olympic gold. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Despite the fact that the 2014-15 season is in gear, there are six interesting goalie options out there if injuries or poor play force a general manager’s hand. (The Hockey News)

Meet “the original” Nazem Kadri, grandfather of the rising Toronto Maple Leafs forward. (Sportsnet)

Evan Sporer put together a nifty profile on hot 2015 NHL Draft prospect Jack Eichel. (SB Nation)

Calmer Crosby enjoying early season success


Bill Guerin still shows up to the rink in a suit on game days; however, when the puck drops he’s high above the ice watching from a suite as the Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager.

The view gives him a new found appreciation for the game’s biggest star, Sidney Crosby.

Guerin was a teammate of Crosby’s for parts of two seasons (2009-10) capturing his second Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.

“Night-in, night-out you get spoiled watching him,  said Guerin. “One of the best things is watching him in practice, watching his work ethic, watching what he can do with the puck when it’s practice, when you’re working on things and you’re trying different things.

“That’s when you get a real appreciation for what he does.”

Originally the fifth overall pick at the 1989 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils, Guerin appeared in 1,263 games with the Devils, Oilers, Bruins, Stars, Blues, Sharks, Islanders and Penguins scoring 429 goals and 856 points.

Guerin first played with Crosby six years ago, with a then 21-year-old ‘Sid the Kid’.

According to Guerin, the biggest improvement he’s seen in the now 27-year-old Crosby has nothing to do with his on-ice skills.

“I think he controls his emotions a lot more,” said Guerin. “I think he’s really brought a calming affect to the room.”

Crosby admits he’s learned to pick his spots better and approaches the game with a calmer demeanour.

“Hopefully with more experience you learn that it’s a little bit better to stay even keel,” Crosby said following his second three-point performance of the season Saturday. “I don’t think you want to take the emotion out of the game. I feel that passion and energy is something that I need to play with.

“But I think just knowing when to maybe turn it down is important so hopefully that’s something that gets better as you get older.”

Added former linemante Pascal Dupuis, “He matured as a hockey player, matured as a person and it shows on the ice.”

With three goals and six points through the first two games of the season, Crosby is off to his best start since the 2011-12 season when he had seven points in the first three games of the season.

He appears further motivated by how the 2013-14 season ended – a loss to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Easter Conference semifinals.

In the offseason the Penguins cleared out the front office firing GM Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma.

“You come in with the mentality that you want to start quick, get some momentum, get some confidence,” said Crosby. “Had a long summer, had a lot of time to think about last year, we’re all pretty excited to get started. I think everybody’s excited to get started, but it’s nice to see it translate into a couple wins.”

He’s also learning to play with a new linemate in offseason acquisition, Patric Hornqvist.

“It’s really fun; he competes hard, goes to the net hard. He’s got a great shot,” said Crosby. “I think between the three of us we try to dig lose pucks out, go to the net and generate chances.”

The line, which includes Chris Kunitz, has combined for six goals and 12 points through the Penguins first two games of the season.

They’ll have plenty of time to grow as a line this week as Pittsburgh doesn’t play until Thursday when they host the Dallas Stars.

Video: Crosby, Tavares, Ovechkin enjoy red-hot starts


So far, it appears as if Roberto Luongo is the only most noteworthy goalie to get pulled on Saturday (it’s still early, mind you), but there was a feeling a few other big names would be warming the bench after rough opening periods. Then again, maybe their coaches are just shrugging it off, as some NHL players might just be too much to contain.

Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist are enjoying some outstanding early chemistry, for one. The Pittsburgh Penguins raced out to a 3-0 lead as they befuddled Jonathan Bernier and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both forwards have a goal and assist so far, with Crosby’s PP tally impressing:

(Nice play there by Kris Letang, too.)

The Penguins ended up beating Toronto by a jersey-chucking 5-2 margin.

After being held off the scoresheet in the Washington Capitals’ OT loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Alex Ovechkin scored his first two goals of the season against the Boston Bruins. His first of 2014-15 is not just old footage of Ovechkin scoring from his favorite spot, in case you’re wondering.

Washington ended up blanking Boston 4-0 on Saturday.

New York Islanders captain John Tavares and new acquisition Johnny Boychuk are red-hot in their own right. Check out Tavares’ patently ridiculous assist to Cory Conacher:

Boychuk, meanwhile, already has two assists, while Brock Nelson isn’t exactly slouching for the Islanders, either. The Isles survived Jiri Tlusty’s hat trick and beat Carolina 4-3.

Finally, Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds now has two straight two-goal games. This one was a particular beauty:

Simmonds’ duo of tallies wasn’t enough for Philly, as the Flyers coughed up that 3-0 lead and lost 4-3 to Montreal via a shootout.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of players who are starting the season on fire, but these players are making their early opponents pretty miserable in these first few games.

Crosby not worried about matchup with Kadri


Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby isn’t worried about his matchup against Leafs center Nazem Kadri as the two teams meet up Saturday night.

On last season’s HBO’s 24/7 cameras caught an exchange between Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and Crosby during a break in the play. Phaneuf is heard telling Crosby, “You hit Nazem from behind, Sid.”

Crosby replied by saying Kadri was a “(bleeping) joke.”

Kadri admitted following Thursday’s workout that the verbal jabs were likely to continue on the ice.

“Yeah, maybe. It depends on what Randy (Carlyle) wants, but he’s a guy you have to watch, and if you can get under his skin, get him off his game, then you have to go after that,” Kadri told the Toronto Star.

“I’m an agitator. I try to get someone off their game,” continued Kadri. “He (hit me from behind) and he thought I embellished it a bit. Words were exchanged and that’s pretty much what happened.”

For his part, Crosby wasn’t too concerned when asked of the altercation Saturday following the team’s morning skate.

“You just have to be ready to compete. No matter if it’s a (defenseman) or a center you matchup against, that’s what you get excited, for those match-ups. That’s why it’s fun to compete,” he said.

Crosby added that he doesn’t plan for the verbal game.

“It’s hard to predict. I don’t really have a plan that way. I don’t typically go in to a game looking to talk to anybody. I try to go out there and play and worry about what you do on the ice. That won’t change.”

In 28 career games against the Leafs, Crosby has 43 points. While playing in games against Kadri, Crosby eight points in six games.

PHT Morning skate: Old habits die hard for Sens’ David Legwand


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.

On Thursday night Ottawa Senators forward David Legwand returned to Nashville for the first time since being dealt to the Detroit Red Wings last season. As they say, old habits die hard. Legwand accidently went to the wrong penalty box following a tripping penalty in the second period:

Following the Senators 3-2 loss to the Predators, Legwand laughed it off saying, “Fifteen years of going to the same box”. (Wayne Scanlan)

The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to avoid losing their second straight Saturday night when Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins visit. Leafs’ center Nazem Kadri’s game plan to neutralize Sid? To get under the skin of the Penguins captain. (Toronto Star)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL game. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Friday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

We mentioned the disgruntled Oilers fans voicing their displeasure following the 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames by throwing their jersey on the ice. One Oilers fan decided to toss his hoodie onto the ice except forgot to take his cell phone out of his pocket – oops! (h/t @jeffler)

The Arizona Coyotes entertained the Winnipeg Jets in their home opener Thursday night. Prior to the game, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media. Among the topics discussed was rumors of the team being relocated, which Bettman called “unfounded” and “off the mark”. (The Arizona Republic)

Penguins’ forward Brandon Sutter is adjusting to playing with new line mates. Sutter played alongside Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis in Pittsburgh’s 6-4 season-opening win over the Anaheim Ducks Thursday. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)