Pre-game reading: No more third jerseys next season, apparently


— Up top, the Winnipeg Jets have a big hole to fill while Patrik Laine recovers from a concussion.

— A report that will interest (and perhaps frustrate) all you NHL uniform aficionados out there: “Multiple sources tell the Star Tribune that all NHL teams will be permitted to have only home and road jerseys next season as Adidas takes over for Reebok as the official outfitter of NHL uniforms. There will be no third jerseys, in order to make the initial implementation of new sweaters easier.” (Star Tribune)

— The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost four straight to start the New Year, and there isn’t a whole lot that GM Steve Yzerman can do about it. “If there was something I could have done to this point that would make our team better, I would have done it. We’ll keep trying.” The Bolts have fallen all the way into sixth place in the Atlantic Division, four points back of Ottawa for a playoff spot. (Tampa Bay Times)

— Remembering that time in Philadelphia, all the way back in 1968, when part of The Spectrum’s roof blew off before an Ice Capades show. The arena was forced to close for a month, and the Flyers were forced to play seven of their scheduled home games on the road. The Spectrum’s two tenants, the Flyers and 76ers, were later awarded almost a million bucks in damages after filing suit against the building’s architects. (philly.com)

— It’s quite the mystery in Ottawa, where Bobby Ryan was scratched for reasons not made public Saturday against Washington. All Ryan would say is this: “The coach said it’s going to be dealt with in-house, and we’re going to keep it in-house, that’s it. I know it doesn’t help your jobs in the speculation columns and the things you’ve got to do, but some things deserve to stay in-house, and this is one of them.” (Ottawa Citizen)

— A list of five players who are battling through a sophomore slump. At the top of the list? Coyotes winger Anthony Duclair, who had 20 goals last season and has just three in 37 games this season. Duclair has also had his name come up in trade rumors. (The Hockey News)

Enjoy the games!

‘Our consistency is terrible,’ says Panthers’ Marchessault

1 Comment

Coming off one of their worst performances of the season, a 4-0 loss to Boston on Saturday, the Florida Panthers will get a chance at redemption tonight in New Jersey.

Tonight’s game also marks the start of an eight-game stretch where the Panthers will play six times on the road.

Four points back of a playoff spot, Florida has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NHL, and the only one to fire its coach.

“Our consistency is terrible,” forward Jonathan Marchessault said, per the Sun-Sentinel. “I don’t even think we have a three-game winning streak. It’s hard to be a good team when we can’t even get on a streak.”

It’s also hard with all the injuries the Panthers have been forced to endure. Currently, there are five players on IR: Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Petrovic, Seth Griffith, and Jonathan Huberdeau, the latter of whom has yet to play a game this season (and isn’t expected back until next month).

“We can’t use [injuries] as an excuse,” Marchessault countered. “I think good teams just find a way to win and keep it simple. We’re not doing that. That’s why we keep losing.”

Unlike at the start of the season, the Panthers can’t even say they’ve been a good puck-possession team lately. In their last 10 games, their score-adjusted Corsi ranks 22nd out of 30. On Saturday, they were outshot 35-27 by the Bruins.

The loss of Barkov is surely related to some of their recent poor performances, but they’d better figure out how to get some wins without him, because he’s not going to be back anytime soon.

From the Sun-Sentinel:

Barkov and Petrovic are still about three weeks away, Rowe said. Griffith could return within a week, but Bjugstad will be out at least two; McKegg’s status was undetermined. Huberdeau is still targeted for late February.

Related: “I wasn’t fired because of analytics”

Another injury on Vancouver’s defense: This time, it’s Ben Hutton


Another day, another injured Canucks defenseman.

This time, it’s Ben Hutton, who’s expected to be out “for a bit” after missing Saturday’s 3-1 loss in Calgary with an upper-body injury (reportedly a hand injury).

The Canucks actually had to play with just five defenseman on Saturday, as Chris Tanev was also out with an injury. But Tanev, unlike Hutton, will travel with the team to Nashville, where Vancouver will start a two-game road trip Tuesday. The second stop is Thursday in Philadelphia.

It remains to be seen which six d-men will dress against the Predators. Andrey Pedan is expected to be recalled from AHL Utica. He could play if Tanev still can’t. 

Also of note, Nikita Tryamkin, one of the five d-men who played Saturday, seemed to hurt his shoulder on a big hit from Micheal Ferland. But Tryamkin only left the game for a short time, and he ended up logging 21:59 of ice time.

Prior to the Hutton injury, the Canucks already had two defensemen, Erik Gudbranson and Philip Larsen, on injured reserve.

Hutton may soon be placed on IR himself. The 23-year-old has four goals and seven assists in 41 games and has averaged 20:59 of ice time.

Injuries have forced Vancouver to dress nine different defensemen this season. Only Luca Sbisa has played all 42 games.


Related: The Canucks have a big decision to make with Erik Gudbranson

The Flames are starting to grasp their new system, and it shows


For the past month and a bit, the Calgary Flames have been one of the best teams in the NHL.

They’ve done it somewhat under the radar, with most of the league’s attention on a certain team from Columbus.

And to be sure, the Flames are still only just in a playoff spot, thanks to the rocky start they had under new head coach Glen Gulutzan.

But there’s no doubt that the potential Gulutzan saw when he got the job is starting to be realized. With Saturday’s 3-1 win over Vancouver, Calgary improved to 12-5-0 in its last 17 games.

“We’ve gotten accustomed to the way we want to play,” Gulutzan told PHT Friday. “We’ve had some success in the last 15, 16 games. We still got lots of work to do; we got young guys. But I think the grasp of the system is there certainly.”

The Flames were not a good puck-possession team under their last coach, Bob Hartley, who was fired for partly that reason.

Under Gulutzan, their possession stats have improved.

Another reason Hartley was let go was special teams.

And again, under Gulutzan, there’s been improvement. The power play has jumped from 22nd to 12th, the penalty killing from 30th to 17th.

Read more: Mikael Backlund can’t stop scoring

Even Calgary’s goaltending, which remains poor relative to the rest of the NHL, has been better, thanks to the savvy signing of backup Chad Johnson by GM Brad Treliving.

In fact, calling Johnson the backup is probably unfair the way things have played out. He’s been far better than the guy everyone thought would be the starter, Brian Elliott.


The Flames are in Winnipeg tonight, after which they’ll play five of their next six at home.

Of note, two games against the Oilers are on the horizon later this month, representing an opportunity for Calgary to possibly move out of a wild-card spot and into third place in the Pacific Division.


Related: Gulutzan sees great promise in the Flames, a ‘team that’s on the cusp’

Capitals’ Oshie to miss tonight’s game in Montreal


T.J. Oshie has been sidelined again. The Washington Capitals’ winger will not play tonight in Montreal due to an upper-body injury.

Oshie logged just 9:00 in Saturday’s 1-0 win in Ottawa.

From the Washington Post:

Oshie absorbed a hard hit by Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf in the second period, skating to the bench in pain before briefly going back to the locker room.

Oshie returned to the game, and on a power play in the last six minutes of the second period, he fell to the ice after a cross-check to the back by Phaneuf. Oshie stayed on the ice for the power play before returning to the bench and then going back to the locker room for a second time that period. He did not return to the game.

Oshie has already missed seven games this season due to injury. He has 13 goals and seven assists in 32 games.

The 30-year-old did skate this morning, so at the very least, it doesn’t seem like he should be out for long.

Washington’s next game after tonight’s is Wednesday at home to Pittsburgh.