Aug 26, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
Evgeni Malkin meshed well with James Neal and Jussi Jokinen last season, but neither of his wingers are returning to Pittsburgh for 2014-15. As a result, one of Mike Johnston’s first tasks as Pittsburgh’s new bench boss will be remaking the second line.
Rather than focus on three-forward units, Johnston is more interested in finding at least one winger that each center can count on playing with regularly and then change up the third player as the situation warrants. The idea is that it will provide each line with a degree of stability without completely sacrificing flexibility. So for example, Johnston likes the way Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby play together, so they’re projected to typically make up two-thirds of the first line.
Before his 2013-14 campaign was cut short due to a knee injury, Pascal Dupuis was typically the third man on that top unit, but that might not be the case under Johnston.
“(Dupuis) can play anywhere in the lineup,” Johnston told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He certainly has played well with Sid before. Can he play well with (Malkin)? That’s what we’ve got to see.”
Patric Hornqvist, who was acquired from Nashville in the Neal trade, is another serious contender to be Malkin’s partner.
Although neither is likely to start the season as Malkin’s full-time linemate, 22-year-old Beau Bennett and 2014 first round draft pick Kasperi Kapanen will also be watched closely during training camp to see where — and in Kapanen’s case if — they might fit in.
Regardless of who Johnston picks, the bigger question regarding Malkin is his health. He was limited to 60 games last season and has a lengthy history of injuries. If he stays healthy, he’ll likely be effective with almost any wingers, but if he keeps ending up on the sidelines then obviously it won’t matter who he’s been paired with.
Feb 27, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
The Habs host the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Feb 27, 2015, 6:37 PM EST
That’s according to multiple reports.
Feb 27, 2015, 6:28 PM EST
Trade deadline is Monday, by the way.
Feb 27, 2015, 5:25 PM EST
Was aiming to play Saturday versus the Rangers.
Feb 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EST
GM Doug Wilson has some decisions to make…
Feb 27, 2015, 3:17 PM EST
So says NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
Feb 27, 2015, 3:04 PM EST
Some recommended reading to pass along.
Feb 27, 2015, 2:20 PM EST
Incident occurred during last night’s San Jose-Detroit game.
Feb 27, 2015, 1:53 PM EST
Were dominated by the Red Wings for the final two periods of last night’s loss.
Feb 27, 2015, 1:46 PM EST
News and notes from around the blue paint…
Feb 27, 2015, 1:35 PM EST
Could it keep him from getting moved by Monday?
Feb 27, 2015, 12:48 PM EST
“If we can’t get up emotionally for that game, then I think we have to take a deeper look at ourselves.”
Feb 27, 2015, 12:13 PM EST
Has appeared in 12 games for Minnesota this season.
Feb 27, 2015, 11:50 AM EST
Didn’t get the power-play time in Toronto.
Feb 27, 2015, 11:39 AM EST
“He actually said, ‘Can you believe I’m calling you on this guy?’ And I said, ‘No, I can’t. But let’s talk.”
Feb 27, 2015, 11:13 AM EST
Norris candidate will sit after getting injured during Wednesday’s win over New Jersey; Tyler Wotherspoon has been recalled from AHL Adirondack.
Feb 27, 2015, 10:56 AM EST
Starting tonight in New Jersey.
Feb 27, 2015, 10:54 AM EST
Announced his retirement on Friday.
Feb 27, 2015, 9:53 AM EST
He endured a rough stretch, but has bounced back recently.
Feb 27, 2015, 8:57 AM EST
He’ll bring experience, but at 43 years old can he also give Florida a boost offensively?
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