-Do the Penguins need a shootout specialist?
-Marc-Andre Fleury is blogging for Radio Canada. He compared the loss of Sergei Gonchar (above) to the Canadiens losing Andrei Markov.
-Through six games, the Penguins' average attendance has risen by 104 fans per game.
-The Pensblog has some information for any Penguins fans traveling to Columbus Friday.
-Sidney Crosby talks about playing with fire:
-A few weeks ago, the Penguins paid tribute to Gary Roberts. Someone finally YouTubed the video:
-Random YouTube Find of the Day: This pretty neat Penguins trailer set to piano music:
-Hockey's Future, essentially the sport's version of "Baseball America, ranked the Penguins has having the NHL's third worst system of prospects. Only New Jersey (No. 29) and Minnesota (No. 30) were ranked lower.
-Jonathan Bombulie of the CItizens Voice has some injury news on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forwards Nick Johnson (ankle), Kevin Veilleux (hip flexor) and Eric Tangradi (shoulder).
-It didn't take tough guy Jesse Boulerice long to figure out his role with the AHL Penguins.
-With the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins about to embark on a Western Canada swing, several of the team's players will finally be able to play in front of members of their family.
-At 1-5-0, the Wheeling Nailers are off to a pretty rotten start.
-This might be the best story ever involving a Penguins player. From Legends of Hockey:
"In one stretch no less than five players were suspended for a total of 20 games in incidents related to the Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman. On November 21, 1981, Chris Nilan of Montreal threw a puck at Baxter in the penalty box after an altercation, opening up a cut that required eight stitches and netting the Canadien tough guy a three-game suspension. On December 9, Philly's Paul Holmgren was so intent on getting to Baxter that he punched referee Andy Van Hellemond. Holmgren was suspended for five games. December 14, Barry Bubba Beck and Nick Fotiu of the Rangers were convinced Baxter had been up to evil and led a charge of their New York fellows off the bench to correct matters. Beck was gone for six games, Fotiu for one. Finally, normally mild-mannered Blaine Stoughton was sent home for eight games when the league ruled his series of cross checks to Baxter's head was an intent to injure. "
-Happy 46th birthday to former Penguins forward Perry Ganchar. Ganchar's Penguins career consisted of 33 games played over parts of two seasons (1987-88 and 1988-89).
-The Flyers officially revealed forward Simon Gagne (right) is dealing with two small hernias. Yeesh.
-With defenseman Paul Martin dealing with a broken forearm, the Devils recalled defenseman Cory Murphy from Lowell of the AHL.
-The Rangers recalled forward P.A. Parenteau from Hartford of the AHL.
-The Senators demoted defenseman Erik Karlsson to Binghamton of the AHL.
-Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and three assists for the Capitals in a 4-2 defeat of the rival Flyers. Alex Ovechkin had two goals for Washington while teammate Alexander Semin added a goal and two assists. Jose Theodore made 41 saves in the win which was the Capitals' fifth in a row.
-Check out the laser Semin scored on:
-With captain Ilya Kovalchuk sidelined due to a broken foot, The Thrashers recalled forward Jason Krog from Chicago of the AHL.
-The Panthers will not return defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, the team's first-round pick in this past summer's draft, to his junior team.
-Panthers forward David Booth, injured by a violent hit to the head by Flyers captain Mike Richards, is still suffering from headaches and can only watch television for five minutes at a time. But it was all legal.
-Capitals forwards Eric Fehr ("upper body") and Quintin Laing (flu) are dinged up.
-Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist for the Red Wings in a roller-coaster, comeback 5-4 win at Vancouver. Teammates Tomas Holmstrom and Jason Williams each added a goal and an assist. Henrik Sedin led Vancouver with two goals and an assist.
-Detroit's Brad May had a pretty solid bout with Vancouver's Tanner Glass:
-We don't know about you, but the mask of Detroit's Jimmy Howard isn't doing it for us:
-Red Wings coach Mike Babcock called out forward Darren Helm who has had a slow start after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
-The Blackhawks demoted forward Jake Dowell to Rockford of the AHL.
-The Blue Jackets placed forward Andrew Murray on injured reserve due to a town shoulder muscle. He is expected to be sidelined four weeks.
-Former Penguins forward Tyler Wright, currently the player development coach for the Blue Jackets, was recently seen teaching members of the Syracuse Crunch, Columbus' AHL affiliate, tricks on how to irritate opponents. Former Pittsburgh Forge defenseman Dylan Reese was one of those Crunch players who took in the lessons.
-The Blues recalled forward Yan Stastny from Peoria of the AHL.
-Craig Anderson (above, with captain Adam Foote) looks like the real deal more and more every game. Anderson made 25 saves for the Avalanche in a 3-0 shutout of the Oilers. Wojtek Wolski scored two of Colorado's goals while teammate Milan Hejduk added a goal and an assist. The win pushed the Avalanche ahead of the Penguins for most team points in the league with 20.
-Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin kept his eyes on this puck:
-Canucks forward Ryan Johnson crashed into the boards very violently last night:
-Johnson was alert and experiencing full movement after being taken to a hospital for observation.
-How about the subtle "Interference would've saved him" comment by FSN Detroit announcer Ken Daniels?
-Check out this pass by Vancouver's Alexander Edler that set up Henrik Sedin's second goal:
-Vancouver's Mathieu Schneider scored his first goal with the Canucks:
-Well here's a new one. Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj is dealing with the swine flu.
-The Wild recalled goaltender Anton Khudobin from Houston of the AHL.
-We're a little late with this, but the Wild demoted former Penguins forwards Andy Hilbert and Nathan Smith to Houston.
-Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu has a pretty bad-looking bobblehead.
-Stars forward Steve Ott was suspended two games for a low hit to Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo last week. It's believed the NHL weighed Ott's history with discipline when coming up with his punishment.
-To review, this hit, which Colaiacovo appeared only slightly dazed by, is worth two games:
-Meanwhile, this hit by Kings defenseman and former Penguin Rob Scuderi on Blue Jackets foward Jason Chimera, which resulted in Chimera suffering facial injuries, was only worth an undisclosed fine:
-Clearly the NHL's reviewed Ott's prior history and reputation when deciding to make him sit two games. And we're going to assume Scuderi's fairly clean rap sheet had a role in his relatively light punishment. But it's wrong. Chimera's face managed to start bleeding despite Scuderi's good reputation. His hit resulted in an injury. Ott's didn't (presumably). Yet Ott is the one sitting two games.
-We're not saying the NHL should totally discount an individual's prior history when doling out punishment, but Colin Campbell and company weigh that factor far too much in our book.
-Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! has a pretty good post about this same subject.
-Scuderi admitted his hit was low. He also has been attempting to contact Chimera to offer an apology.
-Stars owner Tom Hicks denied a report he has put the team on the market.
-Kings forward Anze Kopitar finally got serious about conditioning this summer and as a result, he's one of the league's top scorers.
-Christopher Botta of Fanhouse has a fantastic piece with former NHL lineseman Pat Dapuzzo who was injured in this collision with former Flyers forward Steve Downie in 2008:
-The comment, "His skate blade cut my nose off" is completely chilling.
-Remember how the Olympics were supposed to be for the celebration of pure, amateur athletics? Yeah... we don't either. The organizers of the 2010 Games in Vancouver will set up their own sanction ticket scalping Web site. Have a Big Mac and drive your Chevy!
-Being naked is apparently illegal in Idaho. The Idaho Junior Steelheads took part in a game of "strip shootout" where players lose an article of clothing or gear for every time they fail to score a goal in a simulated shootout. Someone got mad and called the cops. As a result, the Steelheads have been banned from Idaho Ice World in Boise, Idaho for four days. Additionally, one player who briefly shed his underwear has been suspended for a week.
-Unavailable for comment:
(Photos: Fleury and Gonchar-Jamie Sabau/Getty Images; Baxter-eBay; Gagne-Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; Howard-Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press; Anderson and Khabibulin-Jimmy Jeong/Canadian Press)