November 20, 2011

Dobber Sports

2011-11-20

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 credite