Predators’ Filip Forsberg will replace Evgeni Malkin at all-star game

Filip Forsberg (Getty Images)

The NHL didn’t take long to fill the all-star game void created by injured Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, naming Predators rookie Filip Forsberg as his replacement at the 2015 game in Columbus.

Malkin was declared unable to play early Thursday afternoon due to a lower-body injury, and Forsberg was a relatively easy choice to replace the veteran center. The 20-year-old Swede leads all Preds scorers with 15 goals and 40 points in 45 games, and was already scheduled to participate in this year’s all-star festivities as one of six freshmen selected to take part in the skills competition. Read more

Pens take more wind out of all-star weekend, announce Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin won’t play

Crosby & Malkin (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Early Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced superstar center Evgeni Malkin would not participate in the 2015 NHL all-star game in Columbus due to a lower-body injury. Early Thursday evening, they took even more wind out of the event by removing fellow phenom Sidney Crosby from all-star weekend for the same reason. The team specified no timetable for Malkin’s return to action, while Crosby is expected to miss approximately one week and won’t be allowed to play in Pittsburgh’s Jan. 27 game.

Having both players back in the lineup is obviously the proper priority for Penguins management, but the undeniable reality is the absence of both stars is a big blow to an all-star game that’s going to be without hometown hero Sergei Bobrovsky for injury reasons and without P.K. Subban for preposterous reasons – and it underscores how much lustre the game has lost.

In some ways, it’s not the league’s fault the all-star game has become more of a contractual burden than an event that captures the heart of the hockey-watching public outside of the host city. All-star games in general are an anachronism from a pre-satellite TV era, and in the NHL’s case, the novelty of modern inventions such as the Winter Classic have pushed the all-star game into the shadows.

But in other ways, the league should have seen this coming. Read more

Giroux scores ‘missing puck’ OT winner to down Penguins

Jared Clinton
Giroux

It has been a strange couple of days for overtime heroics.

On Monday, Calgary’s Dennis Wideman scored a goal that went in and out so fast he was the only one who knew he scored. Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux followed that up on Tuesday by netting the overtime winner after the puck almost magically disappeared into the equipment of Pittsburgh goaltender Thomas Greiss. Have a look for yourself: Read more

Suspend him or not: Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo boards Penguins’ Kris Letang

Adam Proteau
Zac Rinaldo (Getty Images)

Like recently-suspended Hawks winger Daniel Carcillo, Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo has made an NHL career out of playing “on the edge” – and implicit in that phrase has long been the understanding he occasionally goes over that edge. So when he once again crossed the line Tuesday by drilling Penguins defenseman Kris Letang into the boards from behind, not a single brow league-wide was raised in surprise: Read more

Look out, Penguins – Kyle Okposo’s New York Islanders have your number

Josh Elliott
New York Islanders' Kyle Okposo

The New York Islanders are done being a punching bag for the Pittsburgh Penguins. After a decade of futility languishing mostly near the bottom of the Metro/Atlantic Division standings, the Islanders can finally meet the Penguins on even footing – and that’s a good thing for hockey.

The Islanders erased one- and two-goal deficits on Friday in their fifth contest of the season against the Penguins – one the Isles won 6-3 on the strength of a four-goal night from Kyle Okposo.

The Isles never went away in the game and weathered a two-goal, three-point night from Sidney Crosby to keep their lead over Pittsburgh for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

That’s a sentence you wouldn’t expect to read last year.
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Wild’s Ryan Suter suspended two games for headshot on Penguins’ Steve Downie

Adam Proteau
Ryan Suter (Getty Images)

The NHL department of player safety suspended Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter two games for a flagrant elbow to the head of Penguins right winger Steve Downie Tuesday. Suter will forfeit $81,058.72, which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Suter had no previous disciplinariy incidents, but the video evidence is clear and damning. If there is any good news to come out of the suspension, it’s that the games Suter will miss come against two of the league’s weaker teams: He’ll miss Minnesota’s games against Buffalo Thursday and Arizona Saturday, and will be eligible to return to action Monday against Columbus.

Suspend him or not: Ryan Suter drops Steve Downie with elbow

Jared Clinton
Minnesota Wild v Nashville Predators

Before the end of the Minnesota Wild’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, there were already reports that Ryan Suter was going to have his elbow on Steve Downie reviewed. Following the game, the Department of Player Safety announced via Twitter that the play would be reviewed.

The elbow, which came less than five minutes into the second period, was not penalized, and you can check out the video for yourself below. Read more

Olli Maatta’s season is likely over after shoulder injury

Jared Clinton
Olli Maatta (Getty Images)

It has been a season to forget for Olli Maatta.

The Pittsburgh Penguins sophomore defenseman, who has been on the sideline more than he’s been in the lineup this season, will now reportedly miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury that he suffered on Dec. 6. The injury adds to a list of injuries that make you wonder what one player could have done to deserve such a terrible deal. Read more