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)

Corey Perry scores the hat trick; Ducks lose, looked ‘in awe’ of Penguins


There was plenty of star power on the ice between the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Naturally there would plenty of scoring, too.

In a wild one – you know, because of Ducks and Penguins… – Pittsburgh came away with a 6-4 victory thanks to a pair of goals from Sidney Crosby and a four-point night from Pascal Dupuis. John Gibson, Anaheim’s talented 21-year-old goalie, didn’t hold up too well against the onslaught, allowing all six goals on 39 shots.

“At some points, it looked like we were in awe of them. You can’t be in awe of anyone,” said Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau, as per the club’s Twitter account.

Offensively, it wasn’t a bad night for the Ducks. Or at least for three of them

Corey Perry scored the league’s first hat trick of the 2014-15 season and Ryan Kesler, making his debut for Anaheim following the blockbuster trade of June’s NHL Draft, made a good impression on his new teammates with a three-point night, including his first goal with the team.

However, when it came to the defensive side of the game, the Ducks struggled mightily. And their goalie, Gibson, paid for it.

“He had some big saves. We had breakdowns that led to shots he had no chance on,” said Perry.

Video: Kesler tallies his first as a Duck


Didn’t take Ryan Kesler long to make an impact with his new team.

Kesler, acquired by Vancouver at June’s draft, scored his first goal for the Ducks on Thursday late in the first period of Anaheim’s season-opener in Pittsburgh:

That goal was pretty much all that went right for the Ducks in the opening frame, however. The Penguins raced out to a 3-0 lead, beating Pittsburgh native John Gibson early and often — Patric Hornqvist (who scored his first as a Penguin), Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis all tallied within an eight-minute span.

Voracek confident he can be an elite player


Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek set new career-highs in 2013-14 with 23 goals and 62 points in 82 games, but he doesn’t believe he’s peaked. He thinks he has an 80-point season in him and has been working all summer to prepare for that pursuit.

“The guys who work for it, usually make it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. “I was doing everything I could this summer to get to that next level. I changed my diet, which I never thought would have been possible two years ago, the way I love food. It’s not funny. I really sacrificed to be that player that people think I can be.”

His body fat is now in the single digits, making him a strong 204 pounds. In addition to getting in better shape, the 25-year-old forward has gained confidence in his abilities. He sees guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin produce points on their bad days and believes it’s that ability that separates the Art Ross Trophy candidates from the pack.

Increasing his point total isn’t Voracek’s biggest goal though, even if it is one of his desires. Rather than build his game around Crosby, Voracek sees two-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron as his role model.

“I’d rather have 65 points and play for the Stanley Cup,” Voracek said. “You might miss 10-15 points because you over-forechecked or over-backchecked. You’ve got to play good defense and sometimes you miss those points. That is why Bergeron is so special. He is a good example. He puts up 65-70 points. The way he plays is incredible. He is more valuable than people realize. More valuable than those players scoring 75-80 points.

It seems appropriate then that Voracek’s first game of the season will be against Bergeron’s Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).