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Tag:Brian Gionta
Posted on: October 22, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 10:12 pm
 

Video: Reimer leaves game following hit to head

By: Adam Gretz

Bad news for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night as starting goaltender James Reimer, one of their best players early in the season, had to leave their game against Montreal due to an injury he suffered after colliding with Canadiens forward Brian Gionta in front of the crease.

Gionta was issued a two-minute minor for goaltender interference, while Reimer remained in the game for the remainder of the period. He did not return for the second period. Entering playing on Saturday Reimer had posted a .913 save percentage in his five starts after a strong performance in his debut season in 2010.

Here's a look at the play that led to his early exit.



Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said he was suffering from whiplasth-type symptoms after the game and will be re-evaluated on Sunday.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Penguins PK fuels fast start

CA1By: Adam Gretz

The incredible run of injuries that arguably helped derail the Pittsburgh Penguins season a year ago has found a way to continue during the start of the 2011-12 season. Playing without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Brooks Orpik, Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang (though, his recent absence was the result of a suspension) at various times, a group of players that adds up to nearly half of their salary cap commitments for the year, they have still managed to win five of their first nine games and earn at least a point in seven of them.

They've done all of this while being outscored during 5-on-5 play (18-14), and with a power play that has slumped down to a 10 percent rate over the past seven games, scoring on just three of its past 29 attempts. One of the most important aspects of their fast start has been a penalty killing unit that has been as dominant as any other group in the league. This isn't exactly a new development for the Penguins, as they finished with the top spot in the NHL last season at just over 86 percent. Through the first nine games this season they look to be even stronger.

Pittsburgh has found itself in a shorthanded situation 31 times this season and has only allowed one goal to the oppositions power play. That goal came during a 4-on-3 power play, typically considered a tougher penalty to kill than a traditional 5-on-4 due to the extra space the power play has to work with, in overtime during their loss to the Washington Capitals last Thursday.

Other than that? They've been perfect. Even more impressive is the fact the Penguins have already managed to score three shorthanded goals this season. They're not just stopping the other team's power play from scoring, they're flat out beating them on the scoreboard. At this point there is only one other team in the NHL on the "plus" side of the scoring while shorthanded, and that's Chicago which has a 2-1 edge during its 17 shorthanded situations.

When talking to opposing players after some of their recent games the one common theme everybody keeps bringing up is how aggressive the Penguins are on the penalty kill. And that's not really anything new. Every team says it wants to be aggressive, or take away time and space, or whatever other coaching cliche you can throw out there. But the Penguins seem to take it even further than most teams and never let up. Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell called them "relentless" following a performance that saw his team go 0-for-4 on the man advantage and surrender a shorthanded goal during a 4-2 loss last Tuesday.

Such an aggressive style while down a man has a potentially large payoff  -- like, say, a shorthanded goal -- but also carries some risk if you're not wisely picking and choosing your spots, which is something Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban brought up following Thursday's game -- they don't put themselves in bad situations.

"They pressure the right way and they pressure at the right times," Said Subban. "They play a smart game. They don't put themselves in trouble, they play smart, they limit your opportunities and they have guys that are willing to sacrifice."

Goaltenders generally get the most attention for a team's strong penalty kill, and Marc-Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson have both been excellent in shorthanded situations this season. But Pittsburgh also does a fantastic job of not allowing teams to even get an opportunity to create shots or establish any sort of presence in the offensive zone. Through nine games the Penguins are allowing just .768 shots per minute in shorthanded situations, a mark that is eighth-best in the NHL and well below the league average (at this point) of .857.

They're willing shot-blockers and do an excellent job of not allowing teams to gain a clean entry into the zone or get an opportunity to set up their power play, and that's a testament to the play of forwards like Jordan Staal, Craig Adams, Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke, as well as defenseman Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. More than one Canadiens forward, including Brian Gionta, commented on Thursday night about his team's struggles to generate any speed through the middle of the ice

"I haven't seen many of their other games," said Gionta. "But tonight we had a hard time getting up through the neutral zone, and when you don't come clean through there and you're trying to win battles to get the puck back it's basically 50-50."

With players like Crosby and Malkin out of the lineup the Penguins aren't going to put up the type of offensive numbers typically seen from them, and they're going to have to keep grinding out wins. Completely shutting down the other team's power play is a good place to start.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: October 20, 2011 10:32 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 10:37 pm
 

Canadiens injury woes continue

By: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- In what seems to be a nightly routine for the Montreal Canadiens, they lost another player to injury on Thursday night.

On the same night they had one of their leading offensive players, Michael Cammalleri, return to the lineup, the revolving door of injuries continued to swing during their 3-1 loss in Pittsburgh. Center Scott Gomez left the game early in the first period after playing just a little over two-and-a-half minutes.

He did not return, and head coach Jacques Martin said after the game that it was an "upper body injury" and that he will be re-evaluated on Friday.

The veteran center has been logging around 17 minutes of ice-time per game this season for the Canadiens but has recorded just one assist through their first five games of the season. At various points thoughout the night the Canadiens were down to just 10 forwards as Gomez's injury was joined by brief absences by Max Pacioretty and Andreas Engqvist. Both players eventually returned.

"Obviously he's a big part of the team," said Canadiens forward Brian Gionta of Gomez. "But they're [Pittsburgh] missing some big guys, too. Injuries are not an excuse."

Excuse or not, the Canadiens have definitely had the injury bug take a bite out of their lineup in the early parts of the season. Cammalleri's return on Thursday was just his third game of the year. He said he felt OK in his return and that he will "have to get used to it a little bit, but it felt good." They've also lost a number of defensemen to injury including Jaroslav Spacek and Chris Campoli. Campoli managed to play just one game after he was signed to help add depth to their already depleted blue line.

Andrei Markov, the team's best defenseman, has yet to appear in a game this season -- after playing in just seven a year ago -- due to complications from his offseason knee surgery. The Canadiens are now 1-4-1 on the young season, but we also haven't had an opportunity to see them at full strength.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com