Angus here - managed to chat for a while with Alex Burrows about a wide variety of non hockey topics. Check the interview out (and give me the thumbs up) here.
Listening to the audio of the Bylsma conference call now. Sullivan-Malkin-Neal/ Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis/ Cooke-Staal-Kennedy. He alludes to Staal also mixing in with Malkin, which we've seen from time to time. Says Crosby has been one of the best players in practice through this. Maybe 12 minutes TOI in first game, but could be more because competitive spirit is there. Certainly not rushing back to 20 minutes per game. Power plays could push his ice time higher in first few games. Crosby excited, anxious. Like a kid about to play his first NHL game.
Quick addition.. Dan Byslma says Crosby will play with Kunitz and Dupuis, so that should leave Staal back with his old linemates of Cooke-Kennedy.
Hmm. Can't even get through a little pre-hockey Call of Duty this afternoon without the big announcement. Sidney Crosby, as you've likely heard, will be making his much-anticipated season debut tomorrow night against the Isles. He'll speak after practice Monday and we'll likely have a good idea following practice how the lines will shape up off the bat. Doesn't matter. He's always a threat to produce and while he may not be Crosbyesque immediately, he's still Sidney Freaking Crosby.
The really interesting situation for the Pens now is how will this impact Jordan Staal? He's taken his offensive game to a new level this season with a bigger role, so will the Pens routinely use Evgeni Malkin, Crosby and Staal down the middle like they did back when everybody was actually healthy? Or will they leave Joe Vitale and Craig Adams as the centres on L3/L4 and load up the top six? We'll likely see a mixture of each. Will Staal settle in with his old wingers of Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy?
Staal has Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on the wing now, while Malkin has Steve Sullivan and James Neal. Originally to start the season, had Crosby been ready to go, it would have been Kunitz and Neal flanking Sid... with Neal having swapped wings.
Lots of options. And on the PP, it's been Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Letang and Sullivan. That should leave Sullivan drawing the short end of the stick, but again... we'll see how much the Pens use Crosby off the bat. So many unknowns. As a fan though, I just can't wait to finally see him lace them up again.
Coming off a shutout against the Stars Friday, it's not a big surprise to see JSG get the nod for the Avs again today at home against the Sharks. This will be his third straight start.
The Caps have recalled Dmitry Orlov and he was expected to take part in practice this afternoon, which is already underway as I write this. The thrilling young defenceman has 4-5-9 in 15 GP so far in the AHL. I cannot wait until he's a regular in the NHL.
The Stars have brought up Tomas Vincour, who has already potted 10 goals in 15 starts on the farm (10-3-13). As a frame of reference, he only had 5-7-12 in 44 GP with the Texas Stars last season.
Unfortunately for the Wild, neither Marek Zidlicky nor Guillaume Latendresse have reported any progress on the concussion front.
My Oilers, looking to shake a four-game losing skid, shifted the lines tonight. And, um, wow. 9-2 final over the Hawks with the crowd chanting "We want 10!" throughout the third period after Taylor Hall completed his hat trick for Edmonton's ninth goal. Smyth (1G) - RNH (5A) - Eberle (1G, 3A)/ Hall (3G) - Gagner (0) - Hemsky (1G)/ Lander (0) - Horcoff (1G, 2A) - Jones (1G). Tom Gilbert (1G, 3A) and Jeff Petry (3A) combined for seven points too. Hemsky’s goal to open this one was a beauty. Joy doesn’t even begin to express what this season has been like as an Oilers fan so far. I wish Saturdays weren't such a gong show for me with work so I could have really sat back and enjoyed this one.
The Oilers' Twitter account had this after the game... "I think all 5." -RNH on how many of his points can be credited to his moustache.
The line of David Backes with T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen combined for six points as they accounted for both St. Louis goals in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Wild. Oshie scored there as well and had a really strong game. He may stand to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Ken Hitchcock when it comes to taking his game to the next level. I think Hitch will do a lot with Chris Stewart too.
Mikko Koivu had a pair of goals – including a clutch GTG – plus one in the shootout – so ideally that’ll help to kick start his offensive production. He's been with Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi quite a bit this season and was to open tonight as well.
Matt Read has goals in four straight and has five markers in that span. He also has 16 SOG over that stretch. He was moved onto the top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell in this one – where he scored both goals in this matinee - after beginning with Max Talbot and Jakub Voracek. Harrison Zolnierczyk was the first filler for Jaromir Jagr on the Giroux line today.
Dustin Byfuglien, incidentally, added another three points in that one and is up to 10 points in his past eight games from the back end. Great to see after his slow start.
Whether you’d consider yourself a “pro” @BizNasty2point0 person or not, this is a really good read about Paul Bissonnette’s mom, her health struggles and why tonight – where she saw him play an NHL game in person for the first time – was so special. He scored a goal too. Can’t put a price on how incredible that must have felt for him.
Pavel Datsyuk had a pair of goals today and you know it’s only a matter of time before he strings together multi-pointers and gets his point totals up to where they should be. He’s been in the front display window of the Buy-Low discount store this season, but it won’t last much longer. He skated with Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi to open this one. Niklas Kronwall has points in seven of eight now, so he’s continuing to build on the progress he was making even before Ian White was hurt.
Erik Cole has points in five straight and one of the his best characteristics in standard leagues as a depth winger is his SOG total. He's with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.
Brad Marchand had a slow start this season, but has 11 points with a +11 rating in eight starts this month. He’s on a line with the steady Patrice Bergeron and dynamic Tyler Seguin. It’s also worth pointing out that Joe Corvo is coming on with six points over his past six starts.
Ok, seriously with the top line in Florida again? Stephen Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg piled up another bunch of points tonight and were pivotal in the win over Pittsburgh. Brian Campbell has been a beast on the back end and Dmitry Kulikov is up to 14 points now. Poolies, meanwhile, are laughing all the way.
David Clarkson has scored in three straight and has been getting first unit PP time. He skated with Nick Palmieri and Ryan Carter tonight. Clarkson, after the game: “I think I have a bit of confidence. You don’t want to have too much, but when I get the puck around the net it feels a little bit better when it’s on my stick than it did before.”
Fantasy waiver wires are littered with players each season who garner some attention for earning a prime line assignment for whatever reason. But the percentage of skaters who actually capitalize on that key time really isn’t that high. That’s why it’s so cool when a guy like Adam Henrique can take advantage of a first line spot with two stud wingers like Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. Henrique already had nine points in eight games this month before adding another assist against the Lightning tonight in a 4-2 win. If you headed into November with your number one centre injured or ice-cold, what better tonic for an ailing lineup than a guy who goes out and earns your trust with each game?
Katie Carrera of the Washington Post tweeted this: “GM George McPhee declined to comment when asked postgame if he would give a vote of confidence for Coach Bruce Boudreau.”
No way would I fire BB and I really don’t think his job is in any immediate jeopardy. The Caps are going to turn this around, IMO. Boudreau shook up his lines again headed into the Leafs game by going with Ovechkin-Johansson-Semin/ Eakin-Backstrom-Brouwer/ Chimera-Laich-Ward. 7-1 Toronto win.
Joffrey Lupul racked up another four points and he’s just flat-out a great story, given how many health battles he’s endured over the years. Joe Colborne, who has 10-9-19 in 13 GP with the Marlies, now has points in his only two NHL starts.
You’ve no doubt heard by now that Leafs GM Brian Burke has officially joined the Twitter fray. His account is @LeafsBB20 and he tweeted that “I plan to use my Twitter account to inform fans, hopefully entertain you and to provide clarity about the #Leafs, when needed.” Should be fun.
Should you be so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter.