Penguins writer Sam Kasan reports that with Sidney Crosby out for indefinitely, the Penguins are looking at Evgeni Malkin as the man to lead the team in his absence. A mainstay in Pittsburgh since being drafted second overall in 2004, teammate Chris Kunitz comments that having Malkin is a huge plus that most teams in the NHL don’t have:
“Most teams don’t have that luxury. ’Geno’ is an important guy for us. He’s going to get more offensive zone time for himself with ’Sid’ being out and showed (Thursday) that he can change a game at any time.”
Kasan writes that Malkin already put the team on his back after having a breakaway goal, assist, and a shootout goal in the Pens’ 3-2 victory over Washington. Malkin admits that it’s not easy being with Crosby, but adds that he feels his confidence is back after having a sub-par performance in the World Cup of Hockey.
In other news from around the league:
- Ansar Khan tweeted earlier that the Red Wings are already shuffling lines in the wake of a 6-4 loss at the hands of Stanley Cup favorite Tampa Bay Thursday night. The Red Wings jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and held a 3-1 lead before the Lightning reeled off four straight goals. The Detroit penalty kill had a busy night while the line of Steve Ott, Drew Miller, and Luke Glendening had a statistically brutal evening. Khan reported that Andreas Athanasiou was slotted into a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Frans Nielsen, while Ott was working into the fourth line. Khan later tweeted that those would indeed be the lines for Saturday’s contest against Florida, meaning that Ott would be the odd man out. This could be an early indicator that head coach Jeff Blashill will truly mix and match in order to find a spark, and will be quick to yank players from the lineup swiftly, whether they’re veterans or rookies. Last season, Athanasiou had 14 points (9-5) in 37 games and did so averaging just over nine minutes on the ice.
- PK Subban notched his first goal as a Nashville Predator with a blistering slap shot in the first period of Nashville’s contest against the Chicago Blackhawks. Subban, who was traded for Shea Weber on June 29, ripped a shot from just inside the blue line to even the score at one. Known for his enthusiasm, and philanthropy during his time in Montreal, Nashville has fallen in love with its new star and the success expected on the ice should only increase his legend in the Music City.