Posts tagged “Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs: First Round Preview


BY BRETT MURDOCK, Couchsideshow.com writer

A couple of days ago, you witnessed the unveiling of my first round preview for the Western Conference playoffs. Now you have the grand opportunity to indulge in my Eastern Conference preview. Enjoy.

 (1) New York Rangers vs. (8) Ottawa Senators

 

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was in the NHL's top five for wins, save percentage and win percentage this season. Photo by: Gregory Manno / Flickr

The Rangers have looked like one of the NHL’s elite teams all season, and who could blame them? They have outstanding goaltending in Henrik Lundqvist, offensive firepower in Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan and a consistent blue line presence with Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. They are a solid team all around and have the “New York” aura around them.

The Senators, after missing the playoffs last year, are back and looking to play spoiler. Led by the always dangerous duo of Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa will always look to their mainstays to guide the team. Defensively, Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar hold down the fort while goalie Craig Anderson has had a decent season in net (2.84 GAA, .913 save percentage).

In order for the Senators to at least stay competitive, they will need superb play from Anderson and have a point-per-game pace from their gunners, Alfredsson and Spezza, along with Milan Michalek. And that is just not happening. The Rangers are too good on all three fronts and should pepper Anderson with enough shots from all angles to make his head spin.

Rangers in 5

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Crosby returns to practice after concussion scare


BY JOHN SCOTT, Couchsideshow.com contributor

Sidney Crosby, a former Stanley Cup champion and MVP, returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins with a full practice on Monday. Crosby has been out since Jan. 5 with concussion symptoms and neck injuries.

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby has missed almost two months of the NHL season with concussion symptoms. Photo by: exploitme / Flickr

Little did Crosby know that the hit he sustained during the 2011 Winter Classic and the hit the game after would affect his career tremendously. During the 2011 Winter Classic, Dave Steckel accidentally collided with Crosby. Then, instead of sitting out the next game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Crosby decided to play. Probably not the smartest thing to do, playing with concussion-like symptoms. During the game, he took a hit from behind into the boards from Tampa Bay’s defenseman Victor Hedman.

“I didn’t like them,” Crosby told reporters about the two hits, “you talk about head shots and dealing with them, that’s been something that’s been a pretty big point of interest from general managers and players.”

Taking both of those collisions gave Crosby a severe concussion, causing him to skip the next few games.

Few knew these hits would impact his career a year later. During the Penguins’ game against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 5, 2011, Crosby took another hit, which made him sit out with another concussion.

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Why did Ovechkin voluntarily miss NHL All-Star Game?


BY JOHN SCOTT, Couchsideshow.com contributor

Washington Capitals left winger Alexander Ovechkin voluntarily sat out of the NHL All-Star game Sunday. Photo by: Capitalpowerplay / Flickr

Last year, Sidney Crosby said he was going to miss the NHL All-Star game to protest the league’s player safety policy. As time elapsed, it was his concussion problems that kept him out of the All-Star game.

Now, the other famous hockey star, Alexander Ovechkin, decided he would not participate in the most thrilling game of the NHL season. On Jan. 23, Brendan Shanahan (Senior Vice President Player Safety and Hockey Operations) announced that Ovechkin would be suspended three games after his hit on Pittsburg Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek. Shanahan said Ovechkin “launched” himself at Michalek, leaving his feet and made unnecessary head contact.

“The moment Ovechkin launches himself into the air prior to the hit he becomes responsible for any contact to the head,” was Shanahan’s explanation for suspending arguably the league’s most interesting player. Incidentally, the NHL’s All-Star game fell right between Ovechkin’s suspended games.

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